This is the worst photograph I’ve ever run on styleNorth, please forgive me. But I’m so thoroughly captivated by the beauty and mystery of this gargantuan and richly embellished brass chest that I just have to post about it. The chest is about 4′ tall, nearly as deep and at least 5′ wide; it stands in the window (hence the glare) of a would-be antiques shop at 3045 Dundas Street West in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood. I say would-be antiques shop because in five years of spending time on this strip I have never, ever seen the place open — mornings, afternoons, weekends, weekdays, never open. Consequently, I have no idea what the chest would cost even if it could be purchased. I also have no clue as to how the cabinet is compartmentalized, if at all, or whether it’s just one big box inside. It appears to have a hinged top with no other doors or drawers.
I did some research and the piece is a damchiya, or Indian hope chest, like the one I found on Craigslist in New Jersey, below, for $700.
My damchiya reminds me of the “sarcophagus” Nathan Thomas used in his contest-winning room on Top Design, Season 2, below (photos by Joe Schmelzer courtesy of Elle Decor). The Dundas West piece would require a massive chunk of real estate, and for no good reason other than the fact that it looks amazing and would give a space so much character. I simply love it and yet even if I could buy it, I probably wouldn’t because the piece would be so utterly impractical. It’s the kind of thing Michael Smith could pull off in a large room able to handle the enormous volume. Alas, I’m not Michael Smith or even Nathan Thomas.