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.
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:
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!