World Headquarters is my favourite new vintage decor shop in the city, a secret hideout filled with enough old treasure and fun junk to outfit your next three apartments.
The store is, to put it kindly, unassuming. There's no signage out front, and when I made my way there recently, I had to squeeze myself in beside a towering wall of greasy-black wooden boxes stacked a half-dozen tall.
"Those are from an old foundry!" owner Mark Taaffe told me, his eyes wide with excitement as he described how he got wrassled them away from an Amish auction. He doesn't want to sell them (they could have old factory chemicals on them), but wants to refurbish them somehow so that they can have new life.
This echoes the set-up of World Headquarters, an unpretentious space crammed with bargains and oddities that Taaffe has lovingly collected for redistribution to loving homes. "Nothing with a barcode!" he cries.
No barcodes means no newfangled prices, either. Nothing he priced for me was over $100, making World Headquarters a great spot to find vintage décor and accessories sans the high mark-up common in vintage home stores.
There's old typewriters ($35--$60), neat old signs (including a giant lit-up Kool clock), steamer-trunks piled high ($40--$75), and antique luggage ($20--$75). The storage specialty continues with a stainless-steel bin ($25) and a shabby chic breadbox ($40).
One-of-a-kind finds abound as well: why not pick up a large Indian brass shoeshine kit ($100), or a copy of the eighties-tastic Electronic Master Mind game ($25)? (Check the breathless tagline: "Your opponent is a computer.")
And if these prices aren't insanely low enough, check in with Mark about his next auction. Mark is a seasoned barker (he gave me a demo of his super-fast patter!), and is famed for the super-low prices at each of his regular auctions.
You're sure to leave with something amazing from this HQ of cool.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak