The top shopping on King Street East
Toronto’s coolest design strip—crowned by architects and graphic designers—is chockablock with the latest in mod and minimal, and the best of antique and vintage.
The understated and sophisticated furniture here would fit perfectly into a swank condo or converted warehouse pad. Beautifully designed modular sofas go for around $9,000, but funky home accents—a pop art pillow or a hand-tufted Topissimo rug in purple, orange and hot pink—are more affordable ways to rouse a tired room. 99 Jarvis St., 416-601-1661.
With their second shop, the owners of the Queen West Antique Centre have focused their keen eye for all things vintage on such quirky mid-century pieces as an antique globe, a shabby-chic Barcelona chair and a dressmaker’s Judy. The excellent condition of the pieces means shoppers can keep the thrift store cred without all the wearisome foraging. 75 Jarvis St., 647-428-7265.
Torr corkscrews and dancing salt-and-peppers shakers are a few of the zany kitchen gizmos available at this whimsical home decor shop. Alessi’s adorable juicers and darjeeling tea–scented candles from Montreal’s Beautea Organic make perfect gifts. 63 Jarvis St., 416-868-0330.
Swank bankers and ladies of means spend their noon hours browsing this belle boutique. Red damask chairs and the Provençal line of painted furniture exemplify the brand’s French country style, which remains traditional, without ever seeming passé. 150 King St. E., 416-943-4726.
The Aga Shop
The versatility and beautiful retro design of Aga’s classic British cast iron cookers make chefs swoon. For those who can’t afford to drop up to $34,000 on a range, Aga’s colourful ovens are works of art worth browsing, if only for culinary inspiration. 154 King St. E., 416-943-0242.
Carrying only German designs, this showroom is filled with the best in Euro-chic home appliances. Poggenpohl cabinets and vanities, Sub-Zero fridges and Miele appliances please Teutons and Torontonians alike. A lacquered walnut entertainment cabinet provides a stylish abode for that flat-screen and Criterion DVD collection. 167 King St. E., 416-594-3876.
Goldstein Eyewear Boutique
Goldstein’s cool collection of contemporary and retro eyewear includes such up-and-coming designers as Thakoon and You’s. It’s a go-to spot for those who want to make a statement with their spectacles. 171 ½ King St. E., 416-368-9910.
This ready-made furniture chain is IKEA for the post-college crowd. The prices are relatively low, and the design is sleek and functional, if not totally glamorous. A double bed with drawers underneath and a small expandable dinette table provide clever solutions for cramped condos. 222 King St. E., 416-815-2002.
Glass, steel, and white and black leather dominate the design here, making it an essential destination for the minimalist. Ultra-modern chandeliers are a specialty—giant metal lychees and multi-tentacled orbs, for example. Prices are surprisingly reasonable, considering the serious style quotient. 254 King St. E., 416-350-7275.
Klaus Nienkämper’s European and Canadian wares—think posh pinball machines and felt lamps—are full of wit and whimsy. All this visionary ingenuity comes at a price: Droog’s 85 Lamps chandelier, featuring 85 softly lit bare bulbs, goes for $4,530; and Moooi’s jester-emblazoned three-seat sofa will set you back about $9,000. Design diehards consider their purchases investments in functional art. 300 King St. E., 416-362-3434.