As promised, here’s a little survey of the newest entrants on Toronto’s high-end decor strip along Yonge Street between Rosedale and Summerhill subway stations. This neck of the decorating woods is mostly out of my snack bracket and yet I find myself trolling this drag more than any other. The proximity of so many great shops is dizzying and I’m always inspired by how the goods are styled and staged in these posh, aspirational showrooms.
Like a gleaming smile with a missing tooth, the strip has suffered since the departure of Horsefeathers Home from 1212 Yonge, a few years ago. Kreiss, the absurdly pricey, U.S. furniture house came and went in the interim — I couldn’t even afford the detritus at the bankruptcy sale last year. Fortunately, the vast, 8,500 square foot showroom beckons once again, since the arrival of 1212, brainchild of design director Alexander Donovan and his backers.
“If you’re looking for beige,” says Donovan, “this is not the place to come. Our focus is on classic design but with an edge. We always emphasize colour and pattern, as well as a mix of modern and antique furnishings. The luxe factor is very important to us.”
1212’s discerning clientele expects the best and Donovan is happy to deliver . . . at a price. The Dorothy Draper Espana bunching chests by Kindle, above left, will set you back $6,585 each, the Chinoiserie gilt mirror is $2,685, the turquoise coffee table (handmade in Connecticut by oomph) is $2,395 and the Italian-made ceramic parrots are $250 each. The forever-chic, leopard print bergère chairs are $2,500 each.
This is but the smallest sampling of what’s on offer at 1212, where I practically drooled my way around the showroom.
And there’s plenty more to see down the block . . .
Next up among the newcomers is BooBoo & Lefty, a more modest but still quite fabulous addition to the strip. Horses are a bit of a fixation courtesy of equestrian co-owner Wayne McLellan. According to design consultant Whitney Adam, the stock is constantly turning over so if you love those printed chintz cushions ($200) or that nail head, cream sofa (made in Canada with foam and feather fill, $3,450), buy them now because they may not be there next week or next month.
There’s colour on the BooBoo & Lefty floor but overall the offerings are much more neutral than at 1212 or my next stop, Artifacts (1170 Yong Street, 416.961.1058), below, where shop owner Christopher Caterer has been unleashing his inner decorator since November. The always-enthusiastic Caterer is no stranger to this retail category having run a similar concept in Muskoka’s Port Carling for the past 11 years. Now, his clients can sprinkle their disposable income in town or country.
Artifacts carries fashion and personal accessories, as well as furnishings but the offerings will be a little more clearly delineated come summer when Caterer takes over the space next door.
The beautiful, pastel-blue dresser with bone and capiz inlay is $2,650 — very similar in spirit to a piece featured in the April 2010 Elle Decor — and the Kelly green crackle lamp packs nearly enough punch to justify the $695 price tag.
Caterer had the chrome and leather Deco-style chair reproduced after finding one like it at auction in the U.S. ($2,695), and the chaise lounge in chrome and brown saddle leather is $2,950. The mammoth, framed poster behind the lounger is a limited edition Louis Vuitton print 40″ x 60″ priced at $2,950.
Clearly, all of these stores fall into the splurge category, but every room needs some Wow and you’ll find plenty of that on the Rosedale strip. The Moroccan, embroidered ottoman, below, is $1,895 at Artifacts but it’s sold.
Of course, today’s post features only the newest kids on the block; don’t forget tried-and-true stalwarts like L’Atelier (1224 Yonge St., 416.966.0200), Absolutely (1236 and 1132 Yonge St.), Chair Table Lamp (1156 Yonge St.), Hollace Cluny (1170 Yonge St.), Belle Epoque (1066 Yonge St.) and if you really have money to burn, Constantine (1110 Yonge St.). I’m also a fan of the Orchids Shoppe at 1202 Yonge St. If nothing else, you’ll be inspired.