Who: Professional upholsterer, Philip
What: Rented, one-bedroom apartment
Where: Yorkville, Toronto
I thought I was a pretty good junker until I met Philip; now I feel like a rank amateur. Everything in Philip’s gorgeous, downtown Toronto apartment has provenance or a name attached to it—Prober, Eames, Breuer, Nienkamper, Cassina. And nearly all of it was snapped up at consignment shops, church sales or Philip’s favorite scavenging destination, Goodwill. He’s also astonishingly lucky when it comes to curbside finds: caught in a sudden downpour, once, he happened upon a cast-off Mies Brno chair that he flipped up and used as an umbrella for the walk home; dried out and reupholstered the chair is now worth hundreds.
Schooled in upholstery and with a long career in retail, Philip has a well-trained eye and a natural talent for room styling; taking pictures at his place was foolproof because no matter where I stood the scene looked composed—not fussy or stiff but effortlessly arranged.
Philip makes no apologies for his brand obsession and the repurposed metal lockers off his kitchen are loaded with wares from Alessi, Rosenthal, Lalique, and his favorite, Baccarat. Industrial metal shelves line another wall in his dining area providing perfect display space for his quirky collections like the carved, Chinese landscape shadow boxes he harvests at Goodwill.
Most of Philip’s arresting art collection was snapped up at church rummage sales, a source I’ve never explored but will from now on. A Goodwill pro from way back, Philip is a regular at Toronto’s Bloor and Sherbourne location; his best advice, however, is to head out of town to suburban Goodwills in Oakville, Oshawa, anywhere outside the city.
Describe your style: Eclectic, it’s very much my own style. I need to be surrounded by things that I love whether they’re cool and trendy or not.
Favorite element? Just one? My stainless steel lockers and Harvey prober chair are way up there. The wood leather and chrome of the chair ties everything together and adds warmth to the space. Same with the flokati, which was a gift from a friend.
Proudest moment? Graduating from upholstery school.
Best find? My leather saddle, which is displayed in the dining room. I found it at Goodwill in Toronto.
Biggest indulgence? Collecting folding rulers; I don’t know where they come from or how old they are but I love them. I think my obsession is related to my work as an upholsterer. My Baccarat “Diva” vase was another fabulous indulgence.
Best advice? Collect what you love not what you think will be worth something someday.
Dream sources? Everyday I look at 1stdibs.com, that’s my favorite. And furniture-love.com is another well-used bookmark. And styleNorth, of course!
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