Down­town de­sign shops

King East neigh­bour­hood the new fur­ni­ture mecca

NOW Magazine - Toronto Living - - Front Page - By Meaghan Clark

It’s the old chicken-or-egg ques­tion: who’s fol­low­ing whom into the KingSher­bourne area, the con­dos or the de­sign stores? High-end bou­tiques, low­erend re­tail­ers, an­tique mar­kets, frame re­stor­ers and dis­count kitchen out­lets have earned this stretch of King East a rep­u­ta­tion as a de­sign des­ti­na­tion.

Shops like Trianon (247 King East, 416363-9851), Stac­aro (225 King East, 416-367-5959) and Nienkäm­per (300 King East, 416-362-3434) of­fer lux­u­ri­ous fur­nish­ings and highly styl­ized win­dow dis­plays that re­sem­ble Elle Decor mag­a­zine spreads. If price is no ob­ject, by all means check them out, but their store­fronts also pro­vide ideas and in­spi­ra­tion for the rest of us.

If you’re look­ing for more af­ford­able pieces, there are still great op­tions in this nabe. EQ3 (222 King East, 416-8152002) has mod­ern fur­nish­ings at mod­est prices, and the living room, home of­fice, bed­room and dining room set­ups in the store are easy to imag­ine in your own abode. EQ3 has ever­thing from rugs and bed­ding to table­ware and cush­ions. Find a mod­ern arm­less suede rocking chaise for $549, eye-pop­ping teal so­fas for a grand, cowhide car­pets for $699, candy-coloured glass­ware at $10 a piece, lamps start­ing at $25. The shop also sells af­ford­able orig­i­nal art­work (photography and oils).

A source for af­ford­able Ori­en­tal art and fur­ni­ture is Sastra Im­ports (250 King East, 416-368-6443). Owner Jes­sica Wong works with In­done­sian artists to en­sure fair prices are paid for their ex­quis­ite work. She only im­ports items made from re­cy­cled or plan­ta­tion­grown tim­ber. The store opened in May but also has a space on Car­law for larger Ba­li­nese beds and ar­moires. Most of the mod­ern-style fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing lounge chairs, cof­fee ta­bles, dining ta­bles and en­ter­tain­ment units, ranges from $500 to $1,500, more than fair for items with such de­tailed hand­i­work. If you’re on a bud­get, the mini-Bud­dha book­ends go for $35 or $60 a pair.

For many down­town­ers, limited space is more of a con­cern than limited funds. Roomy Home (232 King East, 416-2036813) is a clev­erly named shop ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing sleek, multi-func­tional fur­nish­ings for smaller spa­ces. Owner Joanna Kakkavas and designer Cor­rine LaFlamme have cre­ated their own fur­ni­ture line and do cus­tom work and de­sign con­sul­ta­tion. One of their most popular items, the wall bed, with a comfy mem­ory mat­tress and si­lent hy­draulic sys­tem, looks like a very ex­pen­sive con­tem­po­rary en­ter­tain­ment unit. It starts at $2,000 and can run up to $8,000 with all the bells and whis­tles. Their square cof­fee ta­ble turns into a com­fort­able dining ta­ble ($1,000). Kakkavas and team also sell small ac­ces­sories by lo­cal artists who ex­hibit at the One Of A Kind shows. For those into the orig­i­nal form of re­cy­cling, there are al­ways an­tiques. At the An­themion Gallery (197 King East, 416368-6628), owner Fran­cis Satto buys and sells an­tique fur­ni­ture, fine arts and Ori­en­tal car­pets. Pop in to look at his ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of slag glass lamps ($450 to $2,000), large dining sets, signed oil paint­ings, grand pi­anos, McCoy pot­tery and odd chairs. Don’t bring your pooch, though – res­i­dent Ger­man shep­herd Mar­cus is some­what ter­ri­to­rial but happy to move out of your way as you price twin bed frames ($450/pair) or Vic­to­rian cab­i­nets ($1,500). Once you’ve got your fur­nish­ings wrapped up, pop into Betty’s for a pint, or Toba for a glass of Mer­lot to com­plete your down­town shop­ping ex­cur­sion.

Meaghan Clark is a Toronto-based free­lance writer who writes about de­sign and re­tail ini­tia­tives.



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