Toronto’s best places for custom furniture right now
25 Sterling Rd., Unit 16, 416-910-5892
At six feet, eight inches tall, twins Jason and Lars Dressler are almost as big as the hype that continues to surround their bespoke furniture firm. They work mainly with reclaimed, upcycled and responsibly sourced wood and fabrics. A sexy chaise longue, for instance, reuses architectural hardware.
21R Atlantic Ave., 416-618-7353
Peer into Jason Stroud’s Liberty Village workspace and you’ll see reclaimed signage, industrial lighting and a multicoloured collection of Japanese toys. For residential clients, wood and metal are staples, whether for bench seating, a bookshelf, a coffee table or a credenza. Stroud experiments with different finishes, including a rough grey reminiscent of siding on a wind-weathered seaside cottage. Light fixtures include Stroud’s Piano chandelier ($1,600), and panel lights in hot-rolled metal, stainless steel or copper ($1,300).
1688 Queen St. W., 416-900-2542
Parkdale’s Contrast Living makes charming furniture that’s rustic enough for the cottage but stylish enough for downtown living. The studio focuses mainly on large wood pieces, such as raw-edge walnut tables and handsome shelving units made of dark-finish pine and repurposed piping. Owners Paul Wu and Hazel Chan also sell a variety of lighting and home decor accessories.
31 Saulter St., Unit 3, 416-462-3099
At Hardware, the pieces are hefty and made to last a couple of generations. Items fashioned from reclaimed doors and floorboards are the main draw, such as mirrors framed in rustic barnboard, a salvaged-wood tabletop with a custom steel base, and handsome armoires and sideboards. Custom cabinets with doors painted by graffiti-inspired artist Murray Duncan are also available. The new location is by appointment only.
354 Davenport St., 416-923-9234
The fifth-generation cabinetmaker Ron Briand operates a full-service workshop just north of Yorkville. His designs have a minimalist sensibility coupled with heirloom quality, demonstrated by such details as dovetailed drawers and mortise-and-tenon joinery. His craftsmanship is evident in his wood trestle tables (from $2,000) and Russell dressers made from Canadian maple ($2,249).
Heidi Earnshaw Designs
225 Sterling Rd., Unit 200B, 416-533-0399
Earnshaw is Toronto’s chief proponent of slow furniture, which, like its culinary counterpart, is about preserving tradition. She makes all her pieces by hand, using mostly domestic wood, low-VOC finishes and tools that her grandfather, a carpenter, would have recognized. But for all the heritage techniques, Earnshaw’s look is modern, stylish and unquestionably timeless: custom credenzas, tables, chairs, sideboards and desks are perfect for today’s clean-lined condos, while shelving designs show off Earnshaw’s knack for creating innovative, fashionable storage solutions. She also designs durable outdoor furniture, such as slatted wood tables and stone-and-wood benches.
15 Case Goods Ln., 416-367-5757
Robert Akroyd studied as a sculptor and painter before apprenticing as a furniture maker, and his artistic flair is evident in his stunning use of wood grains and embellishments. Customers can choose their wood—cherry, walnut, white oak, maple, elm or ash—and work with Akroyd to develop a concept.