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Shopping List: 37 must-have home decor products from Toronto’s top design pros

Room Service

From top left: Christine Flynn, Bill Mockler; From bottom left: Klaus Nienkamper Jr., Camal Pirbhai; Right: Colette Van Den Thillart, Scott Torrance (Images: Anya Chibis)

Toronto has countless furniture stores, art galleries and showrooms selling everything from custom light fixtures to handmade rugs. With near-limitless choices, how does anyone choose what to bring home? We enlisted six of the city’s most discerning design experts—an interior designer, an architect, a textile designer, two retailers and a landscape architect—to share their favourite stores and top decor inspirations. Think of it as a shortcut to impeccable style.

See their picks »

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The Goods

Shopping

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Christmas Gift Ideas: get a jump on holiday shopping at the Drake General Store’s weekend warehouse sale

drake-sale

It’s pretty early to be thinking about Christmas, but smart shoppers seize bargain opportunities where and when they arise. Opportunities like the Drake General Store’s massive weekend warehouse sale. The hipster gift shop, which is soon moving out of its Dufferin Street warehouse, is offloading all kinds of merchandise at rock-bottom prices. Throughout the weekend, piles of men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and shoes will be up for grabs for just $15 a pound. On Saturday, the company will also be auctioning off a slew of vintage furniture and home decor accessories, some of which were used in its hotel and stores. The only downside: the Drake’s annual sales always draw a crowd, so we expect this special, one-time-only version to be utterly packed.

By The Pound Sale, Oct. 26, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. and Oct. 27, 12 p.m–4 p.m. 442 Dufferin St., Unit I. 

Furniture Auction, Oct. 26, preview 11 a.m., auction, 1 p.m. Pre-register for the auction on the store’s website.

The Goods

Stores

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Store Guide: Quebec mini-chain Artemano brings its ethically-sourced wood furniture to Toronto

Store Guide: Artemano

Name: Artemano
Sells: Furniture, lighting and decor accessories
Contact info: 698 Caledonia Rd., 416-548-7818, artemano.ca
Hours: M–W 10-5, Th–F 10–9, Sa 10-5, Su 11-5
See it on a map »

Toronto’s furniture scene has a new player. Artemano, a decade-old Quebec company that sells ethically- and sustainably-sourced furnishings, has opened its fifth location among the design stores of Caledonia Road. Owners Shimon Finkelstein and Eyal Shoam source handmade wood products in South and Southeast Asia and ship them to Canada for a final tweak to suit a Western design aesthetic. The resulting pieces, which highlight the wood’s grain, knots and indentations, are rustic, exotic and have minimalist shapes that belong in modern homes, not patchouli-scented hippie dens. Prices are a step up from West Elm and CB2, but the furniture is sturdier and the accessories more interesting.

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The Goods

Shopping

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The Thing: a speaker that looks even better than it sounds

The Thing: a speaker that looks even better than it sounds

(Images: Liam Mogan)

The Bang and Olufsen BeoPlay A9 plays music wirelessly from iTunes or any music streaming service, and it plays it loudly—a killer bass reflex and typically crisp B&O sound quality will put your current iPod dock to shame. But why do we really love it? Because unlike most speakers, which are designed to be inconspicuous, this one is self-consciously stylish. It looks like an audio version of the iconic Eames DSW chair, and it’s about the same size as one when mounted on its teak (or beech or oak) tripod. That is, the A9 is a significant piece of furniture in its own right—possibly the most exciting piece of furniture in your house. $2,999. Bang and Olufsen, 175 Avenue Rd., 416-935-1919.

The Goods

Shopping

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The Thing: an old suitcase gets new life as a swanky chair

Upcycled chair

Courtesy of REcreate

In the past few years, up­cycling has taken a high-end turn, with a spate of designers transforming trash-bound castoffs into splurge-worthy luxury items. One of our favourite indulgences comes from the South African firm REcreate, where designer Katie Thompson has turned an old faux snakeskin suitcase into a covetable throne swathed in button-tufted black velvet and supported by turned-wood legs. The chic, playful piece combines the whimsy of vintage, the sleekness of contemporary design and the quality of great craftsmanship. In the past, repurposing old junk was a practice born of economic necessity and enviro-friendly good will—nice sentiment, ramshackle results. But a luxe repurposed chair with plush upholstery and fine wood detailing? That’s something we can get behind. $942. recreate.za.net

The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: 11 trendy pieces to update your home for spring

Home Decor Trends
The hottest crazes in home decor right now are bold and quirky, which means homeowners can refresh an entire room by switching in a single of-the-moment piece of furniture or accessory—as long as it’s loud enough. Here, 11 items that are stylish, eye-catching and perfectly on trend.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Leased: a furnished suite in the Shangri-La for $7,200 a month

With all the talk of condo bubbles, over-the-top bidding wars and failed flips, wading into Toronto’s housing market requires equal parts bravery and real estate savvy. To help with the latter, we decided to dish when the properties we profile in our House of the Week, Condo of the Week and Cottage of the Week features are sold or leased. Here, all the details from the latest lease.

• The place: A two-bedroom corner suite on the 23rd floor of the Shangri-La, the luxury hotel and condo tower that opened at University and Adelaide in September.

• The agents: Dylan Donovan and Robbyn Hayden, Bayshore Realty Inc.

• Listed price: $7,200 a month

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The Goods

Homes

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Gallery: 25 top products and installations at the Interior Design Show Toronto 2013

The Interior Design Show brings more than than 50,000 design buffs, decorators and house-proud Torontonians to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to ogle innovative exhibits and the latest in home design. Given the sheer size of the show floor and the crowd, we suggest heading in with a game plan. Here, our 25 favourite products and installations, from the practical to the spectacular.

Interior Design Show Toronto, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, 255 Front Street West. The show is open to the public on January 26 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and January 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $19 online and $22 at the door.

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The Goods

Shopping

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Good Stuff Cheap 2013: The frugalist’s guide to designer clothes, trendy accessories and home decor

TORONTO LIFE | GOOD STUFF CHEAP 2013

Toronto is a great place to have money. There have never been so many upscale stores, so many fancy restaurants, so many $100 dog leashes or $800 rain jackets or $25 martinis—never mind the $1,200-a-night hotel rooms and $25-million condos. But you don’t have to be a one-per-center to enjoy this city. Where’s the thrill in paying retail, anyway? It’s infinitely more satisfying to find a bargain, save some cash and be in the know, which is why we go searching, tirelessly, for the best deals in town. The results are our annual guide to buying stylish duds and cool stuff for the home without spending a fortune.

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The Goods

Homes

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Great Spaces: two architects ­showcase an enviable collection of art in a house they helped redesign

Great Spaces: a couple of architects ­showcase an enviable ­collection of art, in a house they helped redesign

Great Spaces: a couple of architects ­showcase an enviable ­collection of art, in a house they helped redesignJason Halter and Anita Matusevics met in architecture school at U of T 25 years ago. They got married, had two kids and landed jobs as designers at Bruce Mau’s office, collaborating with the likes of Frank Gehry and Rem Koolhaas. For the past decade, the couple have been strictly freelance, and their work has taken them to places like Italy and Africa. During their travels, they accumulated a start­ling collection of art—Picassos, Burtynskys, Basquiats—and designer furniture, which is showcased in their 3,300-square-foot Edwardian house near Avenue and St. Clair. The house had been given a mediocre renovation in the ’90s, so when they bought it in 2005, they gutted it with the help of Halter’s old friend John Shnier of Kohn Shnier Architects. There’s now a sleek galley kitchen with slate floors, a master bath with a shower that has a skylight (one day they hope to add a retractable skylight for showering in the rain), and a surprisingly large basement office where Halter and Matusevics do most of their work. Halter’s latest venture was inspired by the house. He and his tree biologist brother, Reese (who’s crashing in the sunroom for a while), are collaborating on water-efficient and bee-sensitive landscaping. Why? People keep knocking on the door to ask who designed their front yard.

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The Goods

Homes

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Great Spaces: inside a couple’s modish Parkdale renovation

Great Spaces: returning from Barcelona, a couple makes Parkdale feel like home

Great Spaces: returning from Barcelona, a couple makes Parkdale feel like homeIn the summer of 2007, Anna Zalewski quit her job as a Bay Street lawyer, sold her house in Riverdale and moved to Barcelona. Her plan was to decompress, soak up the sun, and maybe learn some Spanish. A year into her stay, she met another ex-lawyer, a Colombian-born man named Felipe Gil, who was studying human rights at the University of Barcelona. They fell in love. A year later, Zalewski was getting homesick, and Gil was eager to settle in Canada. Neither had a steady job in Spain, so they decided to plant roots in
Toronto, together.

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The Goods

Shopping

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GALLERY: The top 10 booths from the holiday One of a Kind Show

The One of a Kind Show gives Canadian artisans the chance to sell their lovingly crafted wares, and panicked holiday shoppers the chance to power-shop at hundreds of different booths in a single shopping session. If you’ve been to the Direct Energy Centre for one of the semi-annual shows, however, you’ll know the array of kiosks inside the sprawling convention hall can quickly get overwhelming. To help, we perused all the goods and narrowed it all down to our 10 favourite booths, which you can visit until the show closes on December 2.

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The Goods

Homes

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Great Spaces: five tiny homes that prove tight spaces can be completely comfortable

Toronto homes are getting smaller by the second—250-square-foot units are coming soon to a condo near you. Here, a look at how a few of the city’s early adopters have embraced the life Lilliputian

By Frances McInnis and Marit Mitchell | Photography by Derek Shapton |
Styling by Annie McDonald

Great Spaces: a 579-square-foot one-bedroom condo in the ­Distillery District

1| A 579-square-foot one-bedroom condo in the
­ Distillery District

Great Spaces: a 566-square-foot infill house near Gerrard and Coxwell

2| A 566-square-foot infill house near Gerrard and Coxwell

Great Spaces: a 655-square-foot condo in the Annex

4| A 655-square-foot condo in the Annex

Great Spaces: a 580-square-foot loft in a four-storey building on King Street East

5| A 580-square-foot loft in a four-storey building on King Street East

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The Goods

Stores

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Monocle opens a shop and a bureau in Little Italy

(Images: Monocle)

Monocle, the magazine-turned-retail operation founded in 2007 by writer and editor Tyler Brûlé, opened a shop at 776 College Street yesterday, adding Toronto to a small but distinguished list of cities that includes London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Monocle’s stocklist is decidedly eclectic: it carries clothing brands like Orlebar Brown, Sunspel and its own collaborations with Porter and Comme des Garçons alongside boutique furniture, ceramic wine cups and digital radios–sort of a kitsch chic, Drake General Store-ish approach to retail. Monocle hasn’t abandoned its roots in media, though: the retail side will occupy only a scant 238 square feet while a broadcast studio and office dedicated to its magazine and design agency, Winkreative, will fill the rest of the 1,240-square-foot space.

The Goods

Stores

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EQ3 opens its Liberty Village location

At the opening of EQ3’s new store in Liberty Village, servers passed out mini beaver tails and cocktails made from Canadian Club and maple syrup (lest anyone not already know the company is Canadian). The Winnipeg-based furniture maker’s second Toronto store (its first remains open on King Street East) spans two floors in a 100-year-old building on Hanna Avenue. Expect EQ3’s own lines of furniture and home accessories, a selection from brands like Herman Miller and Alessi and a collection done in collaboration with Marimekko, the Finnish design house known for its cheerful, colourful prints (shoppers can even have their EQ3 furniture upholstered in Marimekko textiles). We imagine West Elm and Casalife aren’t exactly thrilled about the new arrival, but the rampant development in the area should provide enough furniture shoppers to go around.

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