Inside East Room, the city’s swishest communal office
WHAT: East Room, a members-only communal office space with a focus on creative industries
WHERE: An erstwhile jam factory near Queen and Broadview
HOW BIG: 8,000 square feet for a membership of 130
Derreck and Sam Martin are third-generation antique dealers: their father, Kent, is the founder of 507 Antiques, located in a Riverside building that’s been in the family for decades. In late 2014, after the cops busted a grow-op on the third floor, the brothers took it over and transformed it into a communal workspace—a growing trend in Toronto. (Evidence of the family’s flair for repurposed furnishings is all over the place—the table in the main boardroom was crafted from a silver birch that fell on the property during the big ice storm of 2013.)
East Room is now the headquarters of choice for the city’s creative elite, including freelance art directors, marketing professionals and all manner of entrepreneurs. A basic membership ($250 a month) comes with unlimited access to tables in the facility’s lounge area 24/7; a dedicated desk costs $500 a month, and a full office for two to five people is $1,500 to $2,000. The place has been so successful that the Martins plan to renovate another floor by the end of 2016, adding a few more boardrooms, a restaurant, and, eventually, photo studios and a screening room.
Almost all the furniture in the space is sourced from the Martins’ antique store downstairs. And almost all of it is for sale. When someone buys a piece, they just bring another one up. Derreck found the Tough and Deadly movie poster at a vintage store in Chicago.
The glass walls and partitions were also custom-made by 507 Antiques.
The neon light bulb was made by the lighting supplier Watts Sign and Lighting Inc., based on a sketch by Derreck.
The kitchen and lounge area have the informality of a coffee shop. Members often come in to work solo, but end up chatting or hanging out in the booths.
The kitchen also includes a Miele oven and a jumbo Sub-Zero fridge.
East Room hosts semi-monthly concerts by the likes of Prince Innocence and Jazz Cartier, which are open to members.