Hopson Grace is a sumptuous design boutique for those who appreciate the art of a well laid table. Martha Grace McKimm and Andrea Hopson are the owners behind the store. Hopson worked as an exec at Tiffany's and Co. for 20 years, where she met McKimm who was at Veritas Communication.
The store is beautiful and aesthetically pristine. Exactly as you would imagine a design store to look like. It's situated in Rosedale just down the street from the Greenhouse Juice cottage on MacPherson Avenue.
Before I have a chance to look at the store or the intricate designs and accessories, McKimm and I start talking about the lost art of etiquette. McKimm and Hopson are hoping to bring back table manners by hosting workshops and events catered to those who want to catch up on proper etiquette in a relaxed environment.
They will also be offering mixology courses, wine tasting, flower arrangements and table manners 101 for kids. The events will be held in their spacious open concept studio space above the shop, which can also be rented out in the fall for events.
So, if we're talking about etiquette, when do you start eating during a dinner party? When all the food is served or when the host sits down? McKimm and Hopson smile at me knowingly, as if that question must come up a lot as a basic of dinner table behavior. You pick up your knife and fork when the host sits down to eat. And now you know!
McKimm and Hopson hope to inspire people to come back to the essentials: food, wine, friends and family. "This is more than just about a beautiful product, but also what you do with it," says McKimm.
They've curated many handmade and unique items like French copper mixing bowls and designs from Richard Ginori, Tom Dixon and David Mellor, and linens from France's Thieffry Linens. Hopson Grace is the only store in Canada to carry flatware from David Miller, an award winning industrial designer.
My personal favourite is the tableware line from Jim Lorriman, a designer from Ontario who takes reclaimed wood and cedar from Georgian Bay and makes it into polished salad bowls and serving plates.
While dinner party etiquette still holds, the rules of dinnerware designs are no longer as rigid. Mixing and matching items, textures and designers is encouraged and seen as personal touch brought into each person's home repertoire. You don't need to commit to a look and can mix designs like wood and ceramics to appeal to both contemporary and traditional manners.
While focusing on luxury entertaining, Hopson Grace is surprisingly affordable. You can definitely splurge on items like handmade Match Pewter creamers ($250), or beautiful striped paper napkins ($12.50) that allow you to set a stylish dinner table for less. You'll also find delicious jams from La Chambre aux Confitures artisanal jams ($13.50) and sea salts from Vancouver Island Salt Co.
Even those who think they don't need an upgrade to their serving items or dinner plates will become enthralled with the products. Hopson Grace engages the customer in a relaxed way without making you feel pressured to buy anything. They want you to learn about the products and the people behind them, and then envision it in your own home.
Photos by Hector Vasquez