This Dufferin Grove century home displays a kooky collection of antique clocks and parrot paraphernalia

This Dufferin Grove century home displays a kooky collection of antique clocks and parrot paraphernalia

Lifelong collector Andrew Brudz has filled his vibrant two-bedroom with vintage finds and quirky tchotchkes

Andrew Brudz's Dufferin Grove century home displays a kooky collection of antique clocks and parrot paraphernalia

Andrew Brudz has always been a collector. “When I was four, I had an extensive Smurf collection,” he says. By eight, he had moved on to Madonna, making collages out of magazine spreads. In high school, he began collecting antiques, decking out his childhood bedroom with a coffee table and a futon so that it resembled an adult’s living room. His infatuation with amassing unique objects continues to this day. 

Brudz, a copywriter, has lived in the main floor and basement of a century home near College and Dufferin for 17 years. Brudz loves the space’s original hardwood floors, crown moulding and ornate built-in oak mantelpiece. Inside the two-bedroom apartment, which he rents for $1,790 a month, he’s curated his very own cabinet of curiosities—filled with pink Depression glass, Bakelite lamps, parrot paraphernalia and antique clocks.

The historic character of the apartment heavily influenced the decor, and Brudz has cultivated a museum-meets-maximalist aesthetic. “Nothing in this house is new,” he says. “I think I have one floating IKEA shelf, and even that’s probably vintage at this point.”

Related: A Barbie-pink Victorian in Trinity Bellwoods with a motley collection of curiosities

A collection of parrot paraphernalia on display

A collection of antique clocks

Since he moved in, the apartment has been in a state of constant evolution. Initially, Brudz painted a red statement wall in the living room and hung vintage medical illustrations found at a flea market in New York. In 2013, he painted a single wall black. When he realized how much he liked the look of photos and prints against the inky wall, he decided to paint the entire living room the same colour. “Despite the warnings that a black room would feel smaller and enclosed, it actually feels quite spacious,” he says. “It almost feels like you’re in space.”

Nearly every square inch of the unit is covered in antiques, from the mid-century couch his antique-dealer parents found on the side of the road and had reupholstered to the library cart he found in an abandoned school and repurposed as a bar cart. “When people come over to my house, they spend the first 20 minutes wandering around looking at things,” he says.

An antique bar cart

In 2014, Brudz moved for a year to teach English in South Korea, where he stumbled across an antique store in Seoul with a display full of clocks. Brudz loved the image of timepieces of various styles marking the passage of time through the decades. He began acquiring unique clocks of his own—a panda munching bamboo, a rooster pecking at feed, a boxer throwing a punch.

He replicated the clock display when he was back in his Toronto apartment, filling up an antique post office box with his burgeoning collection. At one point, his parents mailed a box full of clocks to his workplace. “I swear to god they were all ticking. I don’t know how they got it through the mail.” 

A collection of antique clocks from around the world

Antique clocks from around the world

Brudz grew up in Windsor, and he refers to Detroit as his second home. He began picking up old Detroit-themed books, photos and maps in his early 20s. His favourite antique in his entire collection is a massive red metal-and-glass Detroit sign that used to stand in an empty field outside Windsor Raceway. “When I was in Korea, the sign got taken down from the racetrack,” he says. Several Christmases later, he was in town to visit his parents and they opened up their garage door—Brudz’s beloved sign was inside. They had found it at a salvage shop and rigged it up with a brand new lighting system.

A vintage Detroit sign that used to be on display at a motor track

Brudz says his most recent collection—parrot-themed objects—happened by accident. During the pandemic, he acquired a Mayan whistle replica shaped like a parrot. Then a ceramic parrot figurine. Then a set of parrot candle holders. He thinks he may have been drawn to parrots during lockdown because they symbolized freedom, with their ability to take off and fly, but mostly he just liked the way they looked. He created an impromptu parrot shrine in the kitchen using items found at various antique and thrift stores.

Brudz posing in front of his colleciton of parrots

Ceramic parrot statues and parrots prints

Walking into the apartment is a bit like entering an old antique shop, where you never know what sort of treasures you might stumble upon—and, in a way, it is. In 2021, Brudz and his friend Gayna Theophilus, a fellow antiques enthusiast, realized that their insatiable habit of acquiring old things was beginning to overtake their respective living spaces. So they started Archipelago to sell off a selection of prized objects through Instagram, Etsy and Miss Pippa’s, in Brockton Village. Brudz estimates that half of the objects in his home are for sale and half are part of his permanent collection. “Sometimes, I feel like I’ve enjoyed something long enough, and I’m happy to release it back into the world.”

As a lifelong lover of tchotchkes, Brudz finds peace among his cornucopia of unique possessions. “It’s my life in tangible form. The objects remind me of people, places and things I have encountered,” he says. “Some people who come over say it makes them anxious, but I find it very calming.” He plans to stay in his home for as long as he can. “I worry about one day having to live in a cookie-cutter condo, where you pick out a grey couch from Structube, you have your arching floor lamp and the TV goes across from that,” he says. “I feel very lucky to be living in this space.”