Black Pug DMK
My aversion to antique stores started early. I can remember being dragged into them by my parents who, while road-tripping across the country, wanted to see if there were any cute knickknacks available. The only problem? I've always hated knickknacks. And dust. And the smell of mothballs. All things that, with great consistency, seemed to exist in the joints my parents brought me to.
Luckily, since then, the backcountry road trips have ceased and I made the decision to move into the city, a choice that's exposed me to some of the amazing antique stores across Toronto. I'm especially excited to have stumbled on Black Pug DMK, a brand new (and very stylish, mothball-free) haunt in Parkdale.
Open for about a month on Parkdale's antique strip (just at the base of Roncesvalles), Black Pug offers a great mix of old and new furnishings. Many of the creations have been made by owner Daisuke Ito using steampunk, an artistic amalgamation of Gothic and Neo-Victorian style combined with a little do-it-yourselfness (think machine-like but glittery objects and books by H.G. Wells or Jules Verne).
As soon as you enter the store it's apparent Ito knows what he's doing. All of the pieces have been handpicked with a purpose (something Ito does weekly with dealers who pop by the store) and everything is organized in such a way that you don't feel overwhelmed or like you're being cluttered by objects.
From the 1950's cast iron desk ($1150), to the Eames office chair ($395), to the early Canadian 1900's wash stand ($325), I find myself loving every piece.
There are classic phones ($195) and old-school clocks ($175) alongside letter boxes ($195), display cabinets ($1295) and a 19th century Victorian sofa ($1900). One of the store's show-stopping pieces is a 9-foot teak table made in Denmark in the 1950s ($1950). And the retro cash register and manual typewriters give me a giggle.
Ito's even managed to combine his clean-cut aesthetic with the traditional dig-through-an-antique-store vibe by adding small bins of trinkets around the room (from mugs to glasses, and coins to globes, and even cameras to books, there are dozens of awesome smaller pieces up for grabs).
It's all so cool that I sort of crave a return to the parental antique trips of yore. Almost. But not quite.
Writing and photos by Sarah Kelsey