Friday, December 24, 2010


Regular readers will recall that my brother lives 8 doors down from us, in a 120 year old gothic Victorian cottage. He bought the house and moved in about a year and a half ago, but until this past November his main floor remained largely empty and unfurnished, partly because he has been doing some renovations on this floor, but also partly because he just isn’t much for shopping. But with the holiday season arriving and friends coming over, he needed to finally bite the bullet and get some furniture. So that’s where I came in. While I’m far more adept with power tools than I am with fabric swatches (i.e. at pulling a design together), I think I was able to find him good-looking and unique furnishings that suited his tastes, lifestyle and all for under $3500. Some of the items we found required a little elbow grease but I think the end results look pretty stylish.

Dining Room with seating for 10

Hair-pin style bentwood chairs, $175 from Captain’s Treasures - I blogged a while back about these bentwood chairs that we found at Captain’s Treasures, he spent a bit of time refinishing them and man do they look good. You can read about them HERE.

9-foot-long custom dining table, $1,100 from Smash - You can see a smaller version of this table in this Style at Home High-Low studio. The table base is made of black pipe, the kind that pipe fitters use to run natural gas and the top is a 2” thick slab made form 3 wide planks of reclaimed douglas fir, finished in a low sheen urethane. A lot of the character has been left in the table top, including some of the original saw blade marks from the milling process, as well as a live edge on one side of the table top. I really love the modern rustic warmth of this table, and I think it’s very well-suited to the open farmhouse style of his house.

9-foot-long Shaker bench, $450 from Smash – This was an absolute steal. The bench is about the same age as the house. And even though it has had a few patches over the years, it is still solid as a rock. When we got it from Smash, it had a grungy, tired white finish, so my brother used some more of the black milk paint that he bought for the bent wood chairs and gave it the same treatment.

Living Room

Gus Trudeau Sofa, $850 from Style Garage – When these guys have a sale they don’t mess around. This sofa is usually over $2000, but every now and then Style Garage has amazing sales. Sign up to their mailing list to stay informed.

Stumps of old wood (end tables), $80 from some guy on Kijiji – I sent my brother to contact this guy in Vaughn. His company is called Deer Brian Inc, and he sells reclaimed timber from old dismantled barns. I told my brother to ask for the biggest, oldest, roughest looking beams that they had and to get 2 two foot sections cut from it. He did, and after a bit of cleaning, sanding and urethaning he had these 2 gorgeous end tables.

Knock off Arco lamp $350 from another guy on Kijiji – I then sent my brother to go pick up one of these knock-off Arco lamps from an ad on Kijiji. While I am usually staunchly anti-knock off, I think knock offs made sense in this case. Here’s what I mean, I don’t understand paying $200 for a cheap, low-quality knock off Eames Eiffel chair, when a real one is $250 - $500. Sure when you’re talking about 6 chairs it starts to add up, but a chair is something that you sit on. It needs to support your weight and will receive constant stress. I truly believe spending the extra $50 - $300 on the real one will pay back in terms of durability. A lamp on the other hand, is not subject to the same stresses, so durability isn’t really a factor. Not to mention the real Arco lamp is about $2,700.

Foundry cart coffee table $250 from Smash – This cart is an authentic relic from our industrial past, it even came with a thick coat of authentic industrial dust. So my brother and I spent an evening cleaning all the metal with WD40 and sanding down the wood. He then wiped it all clean and applied three coats of satin urethane.

So that’s it for now, a living and dining room furnished with various finds for under $3500. There’s still some work to be done, his walls are bare and screaming for some large canvases, and he could use a couple of occasional chairs in his living room to make a nice seating arrangement, but it is starting to shape up.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Support Your Neighbourhood!

I have always been a firm believer and supporter of our neighbourhood and all things local. Eating and drinking local is after all good for the environment. Well it doesn't get any easier to put your money where your mouth is then this:

According to BLOGTO, this new brew will be available at some point. And when it is, i plan to spend a lot of time saving the planet.