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2014 in Review: Toronto’s Best New Design Stores

Ten hot design destinations that made their debut this year

Photography by Naomi Finlay

CONTEMPORARY FURNITURE
Elte Market retails rugs and furniture priced for first-time homeowners
EM is a hip and (somewhat) budget-friendly addition to the Metrick family’s umbrella of uptown showrooms (see Gingers and Elte), attuned to young Torontonians who don’t have palatial spaces or budgets. Conceived as a kind of furniture groceteria, it has an ever-changing selection of compact furnishings in on-trend finishes: at the moment, marble and metallic. The rug game here is as strong as you’d expect from a family that’s been in the carpet industry for 90 years, with colourful silk numbers available at a fraction of Elte’s prices. 1381 Castlefield Ave eltemkt.com

RADForm specializes in contemporary furniture with whimsical flourishes
Neon signs amp up this white, boxy space, but it’s the dining-room table at the front of the store that steals attention. Part classic, part contemporary, this Creazioni number is like two tables cut in half and harmoniously reconfigured. RADform celebrates European aesthetic mash-ups: there are traditional armchairs upholstered in comic book–print; gilded trash cans; and glossy purple side tables with ornate bowed legs and paw-shaped drawer handles. 201 Frederick St, Ste #103 radform.com

Suite 22 Interiors offers the latest and greatest from high-end Italian manufacturers 
While its Markham showroom has been one of the GTA’s top destinations for contemporary furniture for almost a decade, the store is now capturing the core’s condo crowd with its new 370-square-metre outpost off King East. Tailored living, dining and bedroom vignettes boast something for the whole home with such heavy-hitting manufacturers as Bonaldo, Kristalia, Cattelan Italia and Arketipo holding court. 429 Richmond St E (Also: 160 Bullock Dr, Markham) suite22.ca

Torp Inc. showcases innovative Scandinavian designs
Dedicated to Scandinavian design pioneers – seven to be exact – Torp’s innovative offerings are evident curbside. The building housing the retailer is retrofitted with its number one (and exclusive) product: thin, elegant and energy-efficient custom doors and windows by Pro Tec. Inside Torp’s gleaming showroom is a slew of other equally impressive offerings, including Muuto’s Mondrian-inspired shelving system, Georg Jensen’s stainless steel and silver cutlery, and PP Møbler’s functional sculptures: expertly carved oak and ash chairs. 245 Davenport Rd, Ste #200 torpinc.com

DESIGN ACCESSORIES
I Have a Crush on You carries crush-worthy gifts and paper goods
A diner-style menu board reads, “Holy crap!” Looking around at owner Amy Kwong’s selection, it’s easy to mouth the same sentiment. Shelves showcase Kwong’s own Smitten Kitten line of cheeky greeting cards, airport-coded luggage tags and notebooks featuring old-time photos of the Canadian wilderness and landmarks like the Royal York. Other goodies: limited-edition dinner plates depicting Marvel’s Magneto and Professor X in a passionate embrace, and Russian nesting dolls that riff on tradition with faces painted like members of Kiss. 51 Jefferson Ave, Ste #201 ihaveacrushonyou.ca

Muji brings its beautiful, understated Japanese designs to Canada
While there’s no logo stamped on Muji’s office, bed and bathroom accessories, the retailer’s products share a distinctive, instantly recognizable aesthetic. Usually done in all white – think Apple’s early iPods – simple housewares like toothbrush stands are elevated beyond the mundane by the power of quietly beautiful Japanese design. Get organized with Muji’s exhaustive selection of storage accessories. Storage bins are available in hard pulp, tin, acrylic, and polypropylene finishes. 20 Dundas St muji.ca

FLOORING & WALLCOVERINGS
Centura Tile takes a high-fashion approach to flooring showrooms
Founded in 1933, CT sets itself apart with a Saks Fifth Avenue-esque approach in its flagship store, designed by Kneider Architects. Street-facing two-storey windows soak the 929-square-metre showroom – and upscale European lines like Mirage, Atlas Concorde and Italgraniti – in natural light. Display boards line the perimeter like mannequins, flaunting the latest trends: large-format tiles that create seamless-looking floors and intricate mosaics of unconventional shapes (think Arabesque lanterns). 950 Lawrence Ave W centura.ca

New Wall unrolls world-class wallpaper designs
No, your GPS hasn’t led you astray. A boutique wallpaper showroom really does exist in an industrial park, and instead of the predictable shelves crammed with rolls of paper the bright interior’s walls are enveloped in 2-D coverings with startling 3-D quality. The stock reflects a refined spectrum: Marimekko’s playful, oversized graphics; J&V Italian Design’s photorealistic imagery on textured substrates; and Calico’s hypnotic gilded and marbled paper, printed on Mylar and evoking a moonscape. 4635 Burgoyne St, Ste #12 & 14, Mississauga newwall.com

VINTAGE & RECLAIMED FURNITURE
Goodfolk delivers a hit of rustic charm in the big city
Folksy furniture, vintage Canadiana and select newly handmade items fill Emilie Dolenc’s and Matt Hodgins’ shop. Desks, trunks and armoires from days of yore hold artful compositions of weathered bowling pins. In the corner, a lovingly worn Remington typewriter sits atop a metal filing cabinet. 253 Broadview Ave goodfolk.ca

Pacific Junction restores super groovy stereo cabinets
Just below the Junction’s main Dundas Street West drag, a sandwich board reading “Neat Stuff” points to a backyard garage. This offbeat RadioShack of sorts houses Mike Echlin’s extensive selection of restored ’60s stereo cabinets. Available in assorted lengths, each cabinet houses audio equipment with dials and displays that no doubt once seemed futuristic. Other recent vintage finds include landscape paintings, a green-on-green striped sofa set, shag area rugs – even a credenza by Russell Spanner. By appt only pacificjunctionshop.wix.com/awesomeshit


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