The Junction

John & Juli are Dead Sexy

November 9th, 2009

We’re going to hand our Monday post over to Dead Sexy Magazine for several reasons: one, because they put out a cool online monthly magazine about Toronto that we think you should know about; two, because the current issue has a great article on The Junction that we helped put together and; three, there is a lovely article about us and our shop, mjölk.

john and juli DS

Dead Sexy Magazine

By Alex Brown, Issue 7, November 2009

Ok, so, essentially they were born in Canada, not Copenhagen. But it comes as a mild shock to me since they look and talk the part of a typical Scandinavian couple: cool, laid back and with an impeccable vision for style, only thing missing is the white blond locks and the Danish dialect. I can’t help but think how proud I am that Juli Daoust and John Baker (kitka.ca) are Canadian. The design duo met at a bar in downtown Toronto a little over two years ago and their common love for design has been growing ever since. Now opening a design store in the heart of the Junction at 2959 Dundas St. West, they have scored a place on Dead Sexy’s A-list. Yes, we have a list. This month we headed to the Junction where this fast growing hood is also where Juli and John are living above their design store, Mjolk: Pure Scandinavian. First we talked, then we walked.

DSM: What were you doing 5 years ago?

Juli: I had a boring desk job, which was brutal. When John and I started dating
he was a musician, so we thought we would maybe have a band. We had great
band names but in the end it didn’t quit fit for me. Design was the only thing
that made sense.

DSM: Did starting the design blog come naturally? 

John: Well, we wanted to talk about what we were experiencing in Toronto and felt like there were barely any personal, Toronto-based, design blogs. We thought ‘people must be having the same experiences and reactions as us.’ So, we basically just wanted to open the doors and have a forum for people to talk about it.

DSM: From reading your blog, I can see that Scandinavian design is a huge influence for you. What draws you to it so much? 

Juli: The people inspire us because they are the “happiest people in the world”. They have simple ideals that consist of having less stuff and more life.
John: The North American perspective sort of pokes fun at how Scandinavians live (in terms of the size of their home, how everything is so small and simple) because they can’t identify with them. But we completely identify with them and sometimes find it harder to identify with the North American lifestyle, in a way.

DSM: Are you sure you guys aren’t from Scandinavia and just don’t know it?

John: Ha ha, we’re sure. We’ve thought about moving there.
Juli: But as much as we love it there, at the end of the day, Toronto is our home. We really love it here. I love the different neighbourhoods because there’s so much culture going on in each one. Scandinavia is cool and all, but we’re not Danish. We wouldn’t fit in the same way we fit in here.

DSM: What Scandinavian influences do you hope to bring to your Toronto life?

John: We love living the Toronto day-to-day lifestyle of going out to restaurants, and galleries, seeing Canadian art etc., and then having the Danish sensibility in our home at the end of the day.
Juli: John and I always joke about how were going to torture our kids by not allowing them to have separate living quarters.

DSM: Why is design so important to you?

John: It’s amazing when we see designers making the utilitarian beautiful; something as simple as cutlery that you use day–to- day and then being surprised at how much pleasure you get from it. I think being able to make beauty out of the ordinary is important.

DSM: Why did you decide to open Mjolk in the Junction?

John: We knew we had to live in the same area as where we’d be working all the time, so it was important that we relate to the neighborhood.
Juli: We heard of this building in the Junction, which we had passed before, but eventually we decided to look into it. It had a great feeling to it and the more time we spent in the Junction learning about the neighbourhood, the more we felt connected to it.

DSM: What is the biggest challenge being partners and working together?
John: Communication. But those are things that all couples struggle with. It’s great because we actually get the opportunity to learn how to do it better by working with each other everyday. I think it makes our relationship stronger.

DSM: How does it feel to be recognized by the design community? What do you hope to accomplish in the next 5 years?

Juli: The recognition we have gotten from the design community has been incredible. I mean we’ve been approached by the Etsy blog. They photographed our newly renovated cottage. House and Home has also approached us and we’ll be working with them in the next little while which is very exciting.
John: We love that we’ve gotten recognition from our peers, as well.  The design world is a great community and there is endless support and possibilities here. If we could make a living doing what we love; owning the store, being able to live above it and eventually raise a family here than we will have accomplished everything. And I don’t mean in a financial way, I mean, having the store for the rest of our lives and doing what we love.

 

To read about The Junction click here:

the junction DS

Thanks so much to Alex Brown and Issha Marie for a fun day hanging out in our new favorite hood, as well as Dead Sexy Magazine for featuring us!

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The Junction Store Watch: Post + Beam

October 5th, 2009

Looking to return your Victorian home to its original glory? Want to buy doors that aren’t prefab and from Home Depot? Have a hankering for some old-timey stained glass windows?  Post + Beam Reclamation is THE go-to destination shop for architectural features in Toronto. Although it is no coincidence that P + B is seemingly similar to SMASH (Paul Mercer was originally a co-owner before he took reclamation to a slightly different place, literally and figuratively), P + B offers tons of architectural eye candy for the home and garden.

Post + Beam Reclamation
2869 Dundas Street West
(at Keele)
Toronto, ON M6P 1Y9
(416) 913-4243
info@pandb.ca

Store Hours:
Winter (Labour Day-July 1): Wed-Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5, Closed Mon & Tues
Summer (July 1 –Labour Day): Wed-Sat 10-6, Closed Sun, Mon & Tues

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[how cool are these?!?]

Who are you? Post + Beam Reclamation Ltd. owned and operated by Doug Killaly, aided by Jennifer Reed and others.

How long has the store been open? 4 years (September 10, 2005)

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[this bird house reminds me of Scandinavia, specifically a park in Oslo]

Why did you open your store? To earn a living doing something I really enjoy doing, selecting and showing high quality reclaimed architectural pieces.

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[we have a fireplace insert much like this one and it gets a lot of attention]

What can people expect to find when visiting your store? The showroom features a selection of articles, 95 % of which have been salvaged from buildings, most of which have come from local sources.  The selection varies every week, with new old stock arriving from various supply lines in Toronto, and from as far away as (currently) Java, Indonesia and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Click for more! Read the rest of this entry »

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The Junction Store Watch: SMASH

September 30th, 2009

smash-1

Besides our future shop, there are a number of great destination stores in The Junction. First on our list is SMASH. Aside from an interesting showroom of old timey and reclaimed objects, they often have really interesting, and sometimes bizarre, art parties and showings, which we can’t wait to check out once we’re in the hood!

SMASH
2880 Dundas West (at Keele)

Toronto, M6P 1Y8
416 762 3113
info@smash.to

store hours: monday to saturday 10 to 6, sunday 12 to 5

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[budget buy: screen printed posters]

Who are you? Paul Mercer – I’m co-owner and principle buyer of SMASH.

How long has the store been open? We opened the store in June of 2008.

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[budget buy: solair chairs]

Why did you open your store? We opened the store – you might call it a showroom – because we knew Toronto was ready for an ambitious and slightly off-kilter source of well-picked reclaimed, industrial and architectural materials.  We also set out to -and this has borne itself out – have the store be a place that can source materials and have an in-house design team. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Junction: The Beet

September 22nd, 2009

thebeet-2

Today we spent the morning in the Junction, checking out our new store space. But before that we grabbed some breakfast at The Beet, a yummy organic cafe and market located on our block. Housed in a grand old TD bank building, the space boasts super high ceilings (as do many Junction buildings) and perfect corner lot (with a cute patio we will be frequenting next summer!).

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A view of the streetscape from the patio. Check out the cool black lampposts, the last frontier style buildings, and the slightly random but kinda neat Rue Morgue House of Horror located in what used to be a funeral home (from what I gather, they have a magazine and put on horror related events and film screenings).

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Besides having eco food, The Beet prides itself on eco-friendly interior design. The pendant lights hanging above the counter area we just saw in the basement of local reclamation shop Post & Beam. Some of the tables and chairs are from local shop Forever Interiors while the rest are made from sustainable eco materials. Read the rest of this entry »

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Studio Junction: Courtyard House

September 14th, 2009

As we may have mentioned, we are moving to the Junction neighborhood so I thought it might be nice to feature Junction related highlights leading up to the big move. Since it’s one of those neighborhoods that inevitably seems like it’s far away, even though it really isn’t (it’s a 10 minute drive from where we live right now, closer than Queen Street East which is at least 20 minutes away), we want you to really get to know our new hood.

Because it really is a diamond in the rough.

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So, who better to start with than Studio Junction? Architects Peter Tan and Christine Ho Ping Kong have built a beautiful (though unassuming) lane way house, dubbed the Courtyard House for its generous enclosed yard. You may have seen their home featured in the April 2009 issue of Dwell magazine, and if you’re local, they were also featured in the Spring 2008 issue of Design Lines Magazine.

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Looking up the lane way to Davenport Road. The exterior is clad in wood detailing, cinder block construction and vines that dance in the breeze, adding an arresting textural, organic element.

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The upper courtyard tends to always have clothes hanging out to dry (well, every time I’ve been by…and no I am not a stalker).

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John and I had a meeting with them on Monday morning, so we had the pleasure of seeing–in person!–the inside of their living space. The first thing that hit me was how peaceful, warm and inviting the open concept main floor is.

The other thing I loved about visiting Christine and Peter’s home, was that it truly is lovingly lived in. Evidence of toys, a creative play area and even a chalk mark on the wooden door frame, are all reminders that this is a functional home, not an architectural museum. As such, I grabbed the indoor and courtyard shots below from Studio Junction’s website.

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via Studio Junction

When you first walk in, you are greeted with the office area (left photo). The stairs in the photo on the right have storage for shoes built right in, and a pint sized handrail for their children, picked up from a marine store. The railings are beautiful – simple, streamlined and elegant…sometimes you just have to get creative! Read the rest of this entry »

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