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Design Stores

GUFF

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / Posted on February 9, 2015

guff torontoGUFF has a brand-new home - one that finally does their massive, ever-changing selection of vintage furniture justice. The store, a fixture of the Leslieville home decor scene for the past eight years, now occupies a former sign printing shop in Riverside, where their collection of chairs and credenzas can enjoy a little extra breathing room.

"When we were in that smaller space back then, we spent so much time juggling furniture," says owner John Jakeman. "People wanted to come in and buy things from us, and it would be like 'I have that, but it's in my warehouse in Bolton'." Since opening, they've graduated from a 700 square foot location, to 1,200 (at their former Queen East location), to 4,000.

guff torontoThat extra space was key, Jackman explains, to cut down on the constant shuffling. Instead of setting a high price and waiting for the right seller to come along (which, as you'll know if you've ever tried to furnish an apartment in Toronto, is an extremely common strategy), Jakeman prices 'em low and keeps 'em moving. "If a piece was sitting here for a month, I'd be worried about it," he says. "I find that if we have good pieces in, they sort of go within a week to 10 days."

guff torontoAs a result, the store has built up a loyal following of customers who love both vintage design and a good bargain. "I want to get this cool stuff to the masses. If you come in and want to spend $300, we have something for $300 - it doesn't have to be $3000."

guff torontoFurniture prices go as low as $85 for chrome-frame chairs, or $145 for a blue-upholstered vintage chair. Jakeman adds they're going to start expanding their selection of art and accessories, including vintage albums and stereo equipment, for those looking for even cheaper thrills.

guff torontoBut the larger pieces give GUFF and its bargain pricing a real opportunity to shine. Many of the older items are lovingly refinished (a feat now made easier thanks to their brand-new on-site workshop). Jakeman points out a few midcentury sideboards, made of rosewood and walnut, that have been stripped and finished to a rich, deep, just-glossy brown. The price tag on a larger unit: $895. "A lot of people would charge you that $895 just to refinish it."

guff torontoJakeman and his team also have the good sense to know when to not refinish something - including some antique desks, each worn in with about 100 years' worth of patina. They've also begun dabbling in custom industrial pieces - Jakeman recently bought a former work table outfitted with a vice, cleaned off the oil and grime (but left the dents and scrapes), sealed it, and added a metal base. (That piece is going for $445.)

guff torontoIf your tastes run more toward iconic modern design than custom industrial-chic, the shop currently has pieces by Eames and Hans Wegner, a Noguchi table ("an early one, from about 1955"), and some gorgeous woven-seated Bruno Matheson chairs - all at a steal.

guff torontoOf course, by the time you read this, they might be gone - so it pays to keep checking back. "The one thing that a lot of people say about our store is that they come every week, because they know it looks different every week," Jakeman says. "It'll never look the same two weeks in a row. That is definitely our business model - is to get it in here, move it, price it better than anyone else, sell it, and on to the next thing."

guff torontoPhotos by Morris Lum.

Discussion

5 Comments

Jeff H / February 9, 2015 at 02:15 pm
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Awesome news! I love the stuff at Guff. We bought a great credenza from them last year. Their prices are very good.
Tasman / February 9, 2015 at 04:00 pm
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Guff are the best! best service, best collection, prices are way better than anywhere else in the city, and they are really nice people. If I could, I'd buy everything from Guff! and they deliver, not just to your door, up the narrow stairs, over impossible railings and into the exact spot needed, without ever asking for help. professional but down to earth, with impeccable taste. that's Guff.
Bernice / February 10, 2015 at 01:27 pm
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The article doesn't mention the address of the new location...from the looks of the last picture, it's at Queen and the DVP?
Rachel / February 10, 2015 at 07:22 pm
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Guff is the best! Congrats on the new space!
BM / March 15, 2015 at 04:30 pm
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Greatest store in the east end. Always something new and exciting.

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