Kimberley Jackson on Queen Street East is a real contender. If you were wondering where to get handsome coffee, dinner, end, side and other furniture made right here in Ontario, this store should be on your list.
The store has a vast array of tables, chairs, desks and headboards in many finishes and colours but this is not fine woodwork.
In the new dictionary, re-use comes before recycle or renew. To that end, re-using old barnboard to create great pieces of furniture is the way forward, but it's not going to find its way into discerning homes without a certain level of craftsmanship behind it as well.
Don't get me wrong - this is not amateur work. It's professional, just not fine woodworking. I recently posted about Akroyd furniture, which is the same concept but takes it to the next level. Recycled or re-used or local - but with finer joinery and finishes on a smaller scale. And therein lies the difference.
A barn, ripped, milled, stripped, edged, and sanded will yield a hell of a lot of boxes, cabinets, tables, shelves and tables. KJ puts out a large volume of simple construction, easy joinery stuff. And it's a nice, inexpensive alternative to the flatpack, made in Sweden, get some cheap meatballs while you're here furniture. They have a blanket box that would do double duty as hallway bench for $495.00. Next time I'm there I intend to buy a set of their candle holders. (3 for $35.00)
But when I walk through the HUGE showroom, I can't help but think- where's the crisp, clean, origami edges we've come to expect from the city? This is cottage furniture in the city - in fact, their main store, factory and showroom is in Bracebridge. It's a country mouse comes to the city problem. I want to like it for its wholesome goodness, but it's not really polished enough to sit beside my clean-lined appliances and modern pieces.
So, unless you have a cottage in the city vibe goin' on, this store might be a pass. On the other hand, if you are looking to relax, rewind and colour match your environment... here's your go to place.
Don't get me wrong, I like Kimberley Jackson in theory, because this is how manufacturing should be - identify a valuable local resource, apply local resources, add value, add sweat, add labour, and then resell in a dense urban environment for a profit.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak