contrast living toronto
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Contrast Living

Contrast Living fits in just fine to the stretch of Queen St. where it meets Roncesvalles. To differentiate itself from many of its antique store neighbours, the store carries a wide range of home decor and gifts with a focus on Canadian made and designed items.

When I first walked in, caught a whiff of scented candles and saw the wall of pretty greeting cards, I was a little dismissive, "just another one of those stores." You know what I mean - with nice but essentially superfluous items where you only go if you need to buy a present for your aunt, who you don't know so well.

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Then an orange, vintage, tufted loveseat caught my attention ($499).

contrast living toronto

And little glass globe planters that hung from the ceiling (Hazy Nuts Creations, $20-40).

contrast living toronto

Then a retro coffee table with a black surface and brass detailing (Ruby Coffee Table, $350) and a striking tripod table lamp ($150).

contrast living toronto

The more I looked, the more I was won over. Sure, they have the odd novelty item - like a pacifier that makes your baby look like he's wearing a mustache (why?!) - but it's overall a tastefully curated collection of unique, stylish products at a decent price point.

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My favourite was a collection of little stools that are one-of-a-kind and hand-made ($69) - just looking at them made me happy.

contrast living toronto

I was impressed by the other furniture too - well-made pieces using reclaimed wood to execute simple, modern designs at a surprisingly reasonable price, like a coffee table that opens up for storage (Barn Board Store, $400). ( Essentially the same table at West Elm starts at $550.)

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They carry a charming collection of jewelry, including brushed metal stud hearts (Pursuits, $17-30) and a crystal pendant necklace that doubles as a perfume dabber (Rosy Rings, $35).

contrast living toronto

I won't pretend to be someone who understands the point of soap made to look like food but if that's your thing, they have a whole table of it here - cupcakes, donuts, popcorn, waffles, a burger and fries, all laid out like a buffet but all of it, in fact, soap (Hello Sunshine, $1.50-25).

contrast living toronto

With a background in fashion and retail respectively, owners Hazel and Paul are friendly and enthusiastic. Their store is warm and inviting, with lots of good finds.

contrast living toronto

Photos by Hector Vasquez.


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