Williams Craig Design Studio
Williams Craig Design Studio is making use of its new streetside digs by combining its corporate business with its own carefully curated design boutique.
The firm spent more than 13 years shrouded from sidewalk view, up in a warehouse space over at Queen and John. Earlier known as UW Design Group, the company morphed into its current incarnation when designer Karen Williams partnered with architect Joelle Craig. And earlier this year, the women made the decision to pick up and move to Ossington.
"It was psychological more than anything," Karen says when I ask about the move. "We wanted to get back to street level; to shake things up."
This space on Ossington offered the perfect opportunity, with floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of walk-by traffic.
"We started laying out the space," Karen says, "and we realized, why not have a sort of gallery here?"
Williams Craig is invisibly divided into three parts. "This area is our boardroom," Karen says, motioning toward the east end of the 35-foot table made from salvage hemlock. "Back there is our studio," she says, pointing to the other end of the table. "And this is our gallery shop."
Karen says many of the firm's clients are marketing agencies and advertising boutiques, and the Williams Craig "shop" certainly has a bit of that vibe. The centrepiece, of course, is the fantastic shelf made of vintage wooden Pepsi crates, which shows off an assortment of painted decorative bottles. "Sometimes people think gold can come off as a bit Gotti," Karen says, referencing a painted gold bottle ($49) beside an assortment of matte black, "but with the right setting, it can work."
The space is outfitted with a modest assortment of pieces that simply meet the Williams Craig criteria of, "things we love." "We're not CB2, we're not West Elm," Karen says. "It's really curated, and more about what we do, what we love."
A few of those items include wooden iPad stands ($39) and iPhone stands ($19) made by a woodworker contact of the firm, a gorgeous leaning cut-out coatrack made from the same hemlock as the 35-foot table ($249), and a mid-century-inspired round chair with teak arm accents, with room enough for two ($1375). If you couldn't already tell, wood, repurposing and nature (hey there, water buffalo skull) have a definite presence at Williams Craig.
Karen says her assortment of suppliers is constantly shifting, and might soon include a couple of woodworking women from the neighbourhood who stumbled into the space shortly after its opening. Design-enthusiasts can count on a new floor display every three months or so, with the shop open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. most weekdays, and about five hours in the afternoons on weekends.