Our friend Summer recently traveled to Scandinavia and thoughtfully brought us back a really special piece of pottery to add to our collection.
It’s numbered on the bottom, and in handwriting it says:
We love the use of geometry, texture and colour.
It has found a good home. Thank you Summer!!!
Before there was Mjolk, there was a groundbreaking modernist store on Bloor Street West Front Street East called Karelia. It was a store that introduced modern Finnish design to Toronto. You could find high-end pieces by Yrjö Kukkapuro and Eero Aarnio, designers that still haven’t returned back to the Toronto modern retail scene.
The store existed before our time, but we have a lot of customers and former employees of Karelia that come in our store and reminisce about its time as a store.
Let me back track a little — Every Monday on our day off we visit a neighbourhood in the city. Today we trekked over to Leslieville, on Queen St. East. We visited Jake at one of the best stores in the city, Machine Age Modern. After talking obsessively about Tapio Wirkkala he took out an old poster he had from Karelia. He mentioned he had visited Janis Kravis, the owner of Karelia who is still working as an architect in Toronto.
He told me the owner has a whole wall of modernist glass, one of which was signed “Thanks for having me over for dinner – Alvar Aalto” A one of a kind piece created by Aalto to mark the occasion.
Imagine getting Finel coffee percolators for $15.95?
Jake gave us an early wedding gift, which are little mementos from the old Karelia store.
Two stainless steel hearts.
Which come together to form a sculpture. I’m not sure who the designer is but Jake thinks it’s from Sweden, I still need to do some research…
We never really got around to sharing the Icelandic pottery we found during our trip to Iceland. We got this little vase from an antique shop called Fríða Frænka in Reykjavik. It’s a simple shape with an interesting texture.
There were some pretty neat lava vases which were really textured, but the colours were a bit to intense for us.
The bottom is stamped “Glit” a ceramics studio founded by Ragnar Kjartansson in 1958. I don’t think it exists anymore, but there was another studio producing similar “lava” vases that we poked our heads into during the trip.
Monday we visited the Niagara region and stopped in at my parent’s home. I came across our old coffee maker in the basement pantry while hunting for homemade preservatives.
It’s a timeless design. Something that isn’t designed to look dated after a year, or come in a trendy colour that you get sick of and decide to toss out in replace of a new shiny one. This coffe maker has been working for at least 15+ years, sometimes a little investment goes a long way. Braun took a chance on the idea that people would pay a little more money for something that is well designed, an idea that isn’t as apparent in their recent designs.
Why did they discontinue it?!
We still haven’t decided whether to take it to the cottage or keep it here. We are pretty confident that when my parents opt for a modern prefab up North to retire in we will give them back their coffee maker.
An exciting eBay find was a set of old Vola wallmounted bathroom accessories by Arne Jacobsen. We actually sell all of the vola accessories but they aren’t available in this beautiful red finish!
1) Vola soap magent (you twist a bottle cap into a bar of soap and it sticks to the magnet)
2) Toothbrush holder
3) Towel hook
4) toothpaste tube holder
These are coming with us to the cottage.
Another exciting find is an original set of barbecue tools Harri Koskinen designed for Hackman WAY BACK in 2000. They are dead stock and unused.
Harri Koskinen is one of our favorite contemporary designers. We have many of his designs in our store and even have a set of chairs he designed for Artek around our dining table.
the only issue I have with them are they’re too beautiful to use! It’s kind of funny really, this is the first year we are going without a barbecue and I went and bought a set of barbecue tools… I guess they’re going up to the cottage.
Our day off yesterday was a bit of a mess but near its end, we took a walk in the neighborhood and happened to pop into World Headquarters where we picked up this Cathrineholm black enamel plate. I think it’s the first time we haven’t had to compromise on colour.
Then the boys started talking about guitars (boring!) so I took some iphone pics of the shop for you (sorry for the quality):
There isn’t a sign so look for pelle-melle interior and the random signage up top.
Hmm, upon actual consideration, that wooden boat is pretty rad.
Retro pop machine anyone?
We kind of dig this weird Norway painting but we’re not sure if we love or hate the viking sword and shield. Love the text and moody backdrop for sure.
So if you’re in the hood, check out World Headquarters and say hello to Mark. He has a high turnover of goods, often holds auctions and has reasonably thrifty prices.
2885 Dundas Street West
He has no designated hours but tends to be open any time I walk by. Often he is just hanging out jamming away on the guitar…
So we have not thrifted in what seems like eons (literally since our Scandinavia trip, it seems). Monday is supposed to be our day off but it NEVER is. We are always working. So a couple of Mondays ago, we made a point of planning a day to ourselves. Starting with brunch at Mitzi‘s on Sorauren (we love the Mitzi’s on College but stumbled across this location one day when we were out for a neighborhood drive), where we ran into Kate from INabstracto on Queen. This was perfect because we’d been meaning to catch up with her.
Then we went to see our friends down on Queen St East. First it was Martin at Rogue – where we couldn’t help but pick up some Hans Bolling Optimist and Pessimist figures.
Then it was off to see Jake at Machine Age Modern. He let John into his personal stash of Timo Sarpaneva glass and John left with his first piece.