Inside a mini decor empire—with a little storefront in Leslieville

Inside a mini decor empire—with a little storefront in Leslieville

The husband-and-wife owners of Black Rooster Decor pack their shop with glam, quirky, covetable stuff from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Morocco

At first glance, this glossy decor shop on Queen East appears to be a small but chic husband-and-wife operation. Its owners, Nina Ber-Donkor and Prince Brefo-Donkor, live upstairs, and their puganese pup Chica snuffles around the shop’s Jonathan Adler furniture. But the city’s interior design insiders know Black Rooster is actually a mini decor empire. The shop only displays 10 per cent of the company’s items; the rest are up for sale online to Canadians and chic-seekers in the States.

While their storefront was closed during the lockdown, it was business as usual on their websites, and local shoppers headed to Instagram to inquire about their mixed-media collages and antique blanket ladders. The shop itself acted as an extension of their family space. Ber-Donkor could sneak off to answer emails, and their 19-year-old son, Elijah, would jam out on his guitar. Before they reopened in May, Ber-Donkor accumulated some 300 face masks for customers to use, and added a sanitizer spray bottle to the entrance. Still, she doesn’t allow more than three people inside at a time. 1075 Queen St. E., Unit 1, 416-465-7778, and

A few of their current favourite things…


Straus chandelier: “This is all hand-poured glass, and the light it gives off is warm and diffused. It has an Old World feel, like it’s been lifted from an opera house in Budapest.” $2,695 (U.S.)


Leba nightstand: “Burl wood has been making a comeback, and this nightstand, which could also be used as a side table next to a sofa, is burl-wood veneer, which has a beautiful lightness to it. We love that even though the shape is square, its edges are still round and soft.” $1,695 (U.S.)


Brass palms floor lamp: “This lamp is 60 inches in diameter, which is almost the size of a round dining table, and it’s 60 inches tall, so it’s massive. We imagine someone who doesn’t have time to water plants having this gorgeous tree in their living room. Plus, it’s brass, and we like brassy things.” $2,795 (U.S.)


Barrel dining chair: “We saw this peachy colour a lot on a buying trip to Milan in January 2020, and here it’s done in pretty velvet. It’s technically a dining chair, but it could also be used for a pop of colour next to a neutral sofa or as a guest chair in an office.” $712.50


Bijoux emblem pillow: “It’s hand-beaded and adorned with sparkling gold threads. It’s a fun addition and has an edgy vibe.” $200 (U.S.)