Why does the Idomo guy have such a long beard?
Why does the Idomo guy have such a long beard?—Alana Shin, Port Credit
People sometimes think it’s because he’s a ZZ Top enthusiast or an orthodox Jew, but he’s neither (although his father was interned in a Nazi concentration camp for aiding Dutch Jews during the war and emigrated to Canada shortly thereafter). The real story is that Gerrit de Boer grew his beard while backpacking in Europe in the late ’60s, inspired by the stylishly hirsute continentals. That’s not the only thing he brought back: a sweep through Scandinavia gave him the idea for his modernist furniture mini-empire, founded in 1971 (interior design was already in his genes; his grandfather ran a boutique out of a houseboat). Idomo (embodied by one massive store at Dufferin and Sheppard) has been around ever since, and so have the whiskers, in large part because de Boer is not a morning person and wants to avoid having to shave when he gets up. His grooming regime is as spartan as a Swedish coffee table: he washes with plain shampoo and trims the foliage a mere three times a year. His wife, he says, has given the beard her full support, but his mother always thought it was gross. Still, Mom did find it handy on one occasion: while ailing in a hospital bed a few days before her death, she suddenly reached out, grabbed tightly onto the tresses and pulled her son in close for a last, prickly hug.