The Junction

Studio Junction workshop

October 28th, 2012


It’s a rainy day here in Toronto, and I’m spending a quiet Sunday at the store reflecting on the past year and all of the amazing changes that have happened. There is nothing special about today, but it has a sort of significance for us because by this time next month we will have moved back into our home above the store.

Our mornings have consisted of talking about how nice it will be when we are back above the store, and our vision always includes enjoying coffee in various spots around the home. I go up almost every day to check on the progress, and I always find myself saying things like “Oh yes, the light is very nice here. This is the perfect place to have a cup of coffee.” In fact, there are 20 nice places to have coffee I think.

Now I feel a bit self conscious saying this next bit, but I think that if I acknowledge the stereotype all will be forgiven. Bloggers are often in the habit of apologizing about neglecting their blog, and we are guilty of this as well. We tell ourselves, once we are around nice surroundings we will be able to take more photos and talk with you more. I insist this is the truth, we will be back to our blogging ways soon enough.

Now I get a lot of people asking why we haven’t posted more photographs of the progress of our home, and I don’t really have a good answer. We’re always up for sharing most things, but this home is so intimate for us. I think over a time a mosaic of our home will be built with each post in the coming months. To just take a bunch of snaps of each room feels inappropriate. This is a space that needs time to settle in and evolve. Plus, if we show the whole house, how will we sell volume five of Mjolk?

Anyway, I’ve been holding on to these photos of Studio Junction’s new workshop. A space that we have greatly benefited from, as most of our mill work has churned out from here. New machines were buzzing away as I stopped by to visit a forest’s worth of white oak slated to be milled into doors, windows, and cabinets.


The work space is in a large brick building with a cantilevered mezzanine.


The work desk.


A prized Japanese hand saw.


A micro building model made of laminated wood.


The industrial glass windows are operable from this sliding track mechanism.



Piles and piles of white oak.



A huge slab of wenge being saved for something special – although we don’t know what that special something is yet!


The individual components for our doors.




The original light feature that was connected to the curve wall in our shop. The curve wall was originally part of an installation at the Gladtstone Hotel called “Come up to my room”. It was perfect timing because we commissioned our store shortly after and used the curved wall as a permanent feature at our store.

Seeing this, I wish we included the ceiling element as well!



The model of the infamous Courtyard House.

Only four more weeks to go. We can’t wait.

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Photos from Junction Design Crawl 2012

August 25th, 2012


Last night was the 2nd Junction Design Crawl, and it was such a nice surprise to see so many familiar faces. Thank you to everyone who came out to explore the Junction and all of its unique businesses.

Our event was the tardy launch of Mjolk book volume 1. We had a bunch of special goodies on hand from Iceland and Hokkaido for people to buy as well as highlighting the makers and designers featured in our first volume.


The wrapwrap by Naoto Yoshida, the wood business card case by Masakage Tanno, and a very special hand carved Ainu bear from Hokkaido.

junction_design_crawl-6 junction_design_crawl-7

Kami cups, Pia Wallen and Iris Hantverk.


An Iba Takahito stool was on hand with our book – bookmarked to the page with an article on him.


This Ainu bear is perhaps the nicest one we have come across, it was kind of heart wrenching to see it go, but we know it went to a good home!


Something we were specifically excited about: all of the small Icelandic goodies we imported.


Opal and Topas candies, as well as Icelandic hot dog mustard.


Very cool wild herbs.


One of my favorite things in the world is show and tell. We thought it would be neat to display some things from our own personal collection, items we’ve picked up during our travels that continue to inspire us.

Many of the works are by artists we admire, or items that lead us to carrying a specific artist in our store.



Some wood spoons by Ryuji Mitani, and ceramic spoons by Nathalie Lahdenmaki.

On the left a plastic box, cherry wood cooking shovel, and box of air by Masanobu Ando.


A mix of objects including a copper Tapio Wirkkala bowl, Lisa Larsson fox, hand carved wood fox from Asahikawa, Japanese lacquer coated kin tea light holders by CKR.



We were so busy that we didn’t really have much of an opportunity to visit all of the shops in the neighborhood! This is just a sampling, but I’m sure there will be a lot of photos on the Design Crawl blog shortly, so stay tuned.

Mason’s beautiful cup light installation and harpist in the train platform across the street.




Russet & Empire and Phillipa C‘s picture booth.




Articulations front window – there was more inside but it was too busy to get a quick peek (same for Opticianado). Sadly never made it over to Narwhal or Telephone Booth Gallery. Hopefully their exhibits will be up for a little bit longer!

Until next year……


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Junction Design Crawl 2012

August 24th, 2012


Be Guided by the Lights at the 2nd Annual Junction Design Crawl: a
Night of Special Events for Your Pleasure, Hosted by Your Favourite

Is there a better way to start off Friday night than going out for a
nice evening stroll, where all of your favourite stores will be
playing host for the evening? The Junction Design Crawl is organized
by a group of independent business owners from Keele St and Dundas
West to Pacific Avenue in the Junction neighbourhood of Toronto. Come
to participating shops to see innovative design displays, participate
in one-of-a-kind installations, savour exotic snacks, and hear great
live music.

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Torontonians love Pylsur

August 7th, 2011


Friday night was the launch of the first Junction Design Crawl. We had a special evening planned with an Icelandic hotdog stand and an installation by architect firm Studio Junction. Juli and I were both busy so we were lucky that our friend Bradley came to take some beautiful photos of the event!


We didn’t know how many people were going to show up, but by 10 minutes to 7pm a line was starting to form. As we nervously waited for the hot dogs to cook through in the beer filled steamer, we watched the line grow to the end of the block.


My brother Frank was my wing man, and we wore paper hats and aprons to complete our hot dog outfits.


The first dozen people in line had all tried the authentic pylser in Iceland, and while the hot dogs cooked we chatted about the best way to make and serve the hot dogs. The consensus was first to make a bed of frizzled onions, then the remoulade and a single line of ketchup, then the dog, and last a good helping of sweet and tangy Icelandic mustard.



You can see Studio Junction’s brilliant installation in this photo. The screen is made of individually folded blocks made from a paper like material. After dark we projected a Sigur Ros video, with the result from the outside being cool pixelated forms.



After we got started it didn’t take long to pin down the formula, and decide on our roles in the hot dog making.




We started at 7:00 and had a consistent line up until we sold out around 9:30. I think all in all we sold around 200 hot dogs on Friday!




That’s just ice from the cooler. It’s also funny because it looks dead out but the street was still really busy…Margret and Narwhal were both hopping and we couldn’t close our store until 11, because large groups of people kept showing up.


A big thanks to the other businesses that contributed to the event, and for everyone who came out to support!

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SS Mjölk Pylsur

August 4th, 2011

Mjölk is recreating Reykjavik’s “Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur”  in front of their shop–with a cheeky nod to their logo.

Come join us on Friday, August 5th, from 7-11pm, or until the dogs are all gone.
mjölk – 2959 Dundas Street West, The Junction, Toronto

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur means “The best hotdog in town”  and after 60 years in business they have become arguably the most famous hot dog stand in the world.

We will be cooking the hot dogs just like at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, steam cooking them in LAVA beer (courtesy of Fitumi Trading Co., who imports Icelandic Beer which you can buy at the LCBO), and importing all of the authentic toppings including a special Icelandic mustard, remoulade mayonnaise, ketchup, and frizzled onions directly from Iceland.

After you’ve had a hot dog, visit the other participating shops and galleries (on Keele north of Dundas, AND on Dundas west of Keele to just past Pacific)–Narwhal Gallery for an art opening, Russet & Empire for Paper Moon Photography, Opticianado for a history of eyewear, Margret bar for the after party, and more!

Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2011

This post is a bit late. Like we’re into a whole new year late. But we felt the need to share our Christmas stocking bounty since we managed to actually find some great items! We weren’t going to do presents this year but a few days before Christmas, we decided to do stockings and for the most part, we shopped local (yay Junction!).

John’s stocking for Juli (above): MOR candle from Russet & Empire, Happy Socks, Aunt Lolo’s DIY Cookies and airplane comfort kit (in grey bag) from Drake General Store and the Kay Bojesen monkey was a lucky find from World Headquarters.

Juli’s stocking for John: washi tape from The Paper Place, socks and letterpress cards from Drake General Store, Kay Bojesen soldier from World Headquarters and Panasonic Toot-a-Loop bracelet radio from Mrs. Huizenga (Junction location).

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday!