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Design Stores


Posted by Ian Milne / Posted on June 20, 2010

Filter TorontoFilter, at 75 Jarvis Street, sells well-designed, carefully chosen furniture and decorative pieces for your home. Did I mention It's all vintage stuff? Did I have to?

Design stores are an odd category, rather like music stores. It's an even split between shops that sell new product and shops that sell vintage stuff. Like music, what matters most is that it's cool - not when it was made. That having been said, Filter is like a time machine - except it only goes back.

Filter TorontoA store like Filter works because there are real people behind it, carefully sourcing and choosing the pieces that go on display. I go to stores like this because someone smart has sourced a collection of cool stuff that's for sale, and I really like cool stuff. For example, a vintage railway crossing sign that relies on marbles embedded in the metal to create a cat's eye reflective effect for oncoming cars. (sold, $795.00).

Filter TorontoThis whole finding and collecting stuff thing is way, way harder than it looks. Toronto is a big city with lots of designers and clients - there is no shortage of customers for this kind of smart retro. No, the shortage is in the cool retro stuff - stuff that doesn't just come from another time zone, it comes from another time. The products on display are not chosen out of a catalogue and ordered and delivered. No, they are sought out, fought for, cleaned, restored, and transported across North America.

Filter TorontoFilter's Mike and Amy Mason (the same owners as the Queen West Antique Centre) claim that traveling around the continent with your family searching for antiques is actually fun! I find that hard to believe mostly because it makes me totally jealous.

Filter TorontoI really liked a smartly designed Heywood-Lakefield desk from the 50's that uses a paired down tubular skeleton as both its frame and drawer slides ($1450.00). A huge stainless steel "Broadway" sign removed from a bar car down in the States appealed to my sign making aesthetic ($995.00) - as some of you know - I make signs.

Filter TorontoFilter TorontoFilter TorontoFilter TorontoFilter TorontoFilter TorontoPhotos by Dennis Marciniak



Lenni / April 9, 2009 at 07:24 pm
Love. This. Place. They have amazing items, in great condition. They are very helpful and friendly. Excellent service.
Corinne / January 19, 2010 at 02:30 pm
I have teak furniture for sale. My Mom bought it in the 60's from DeBoer's includes.

Dining room set for 6 includes a leaf, matching buffet, coffee table round, full 7 foot sofa, two armchairs. Is this something you would be interested in?
Sue / March 6, 2010 at 07:59 pm
Corinne - I might be interested. In the dining table & chairs anyways, if they fit with my apartment. Do you have photos?
Joe / June 21, 2010 at 10:41 am
Is this craigslist now? I'm confused...
M / June 21, 2010 at 10:50 am

eg: "I go to stores like this because someone smart has sourced a collection of cool stuff that's for sale, and I really like cool stuff."
Shoofly / June 21, 2010 at 11:45 am
Agreed. Can BlogTO not afford actual professional writers with style and grace? It's the clunkiest writing I've read in a while.
mondayjane / June 21, 2010 at 08:51 pm
The store looks beautiful, will definitely check it out. Good thing there are so many good pictures of the place though, because I must agree that the writing is very amateur. It would be great to have someone who knows a thing or two about design reviewing a shop like this, who could perhaps provide some insights into the inventory and its relevance.
JR replying to a comment from Shoofly / June 22, 2010 at 01:21 am
I'd usually be reluctant to critique the writing, since a blog is what it is...but the shameless plug for the guy's sign making business wasn't even well integrated.

The place looks cool though.
piccola / June 22, 2010 at 09:14 pm
When writing about stores, please include price points. This stuff is gorgeous, but why go if I can't afford it?

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