Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's weekend

Furniture shopping may not seem like an adventure (or very romantic for that matter), but the mere fact that we had to walk downtown in freezing temperatures to pick up our car before we set sail was adventure enough.  Friday night, after work, we skated the canal and then went out to dinner at our favourite restaurant Chez Lucien, and ended up walking home, so our Saturday morning started off with a chilly walk into the market.

Before getting going on our list we stopped in at Bridgehead and fueled up/warmed up with some caffeine, soup and a sandwich.  It was delicious - we love the B-Head.

Our first stop was The White Monkey.  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures.  You must visit this store - even if you just walk by to take in their lovely window displays.  It is a two story building furnished with really awesome antique and retro furniture.  This is the place to go if you are looking for interesting lamps, cool accessories (they carried a lot of vases, serving dishes, kitchenware, etc.)  The store is small so there isn't too much room for large pieces of furniture, but there were a few living room sets with awesome couches from the 60's on display.  The owner had embraced this year's colour of the year and there were pops of Tangerine Tango everywhere - very fun.

After enjoying the White Monkey (haha...) we ventured over to Found Design.  This was definitely our favourite store.  I would have never walked into this store had I not done some research online first.  This is what we saw when looking for the store front.

As we got closer we realized we were actually in the right place....

We weren't sure what to expect as we walked down the cement stairs and stared at the dingy metal door, but as soon as we walked in and our eyes adjusted to the light we knew we had found a gem.  The warehouse style store was immediately inviting and full of interesting, bright and unique mid century furniture. Also - it didn't smell funny, which sometimes happens when you are in a warehouse full of 60+ year old furniture.  

Here are some of the things we saw...

We loved the green couch/chair set along with the large swivel chairs.  We are on the hunt for the perfect swivel chair for our living room.

Derek actually said "I think this is the coolest place I've ever been".

This chair was super comfy and I loved the wooden frame.

I thought this desk/shelf was awesome.  Compact, good use of space and lots of storage.  The only thing is that I would love to paint it a bright white, and maybe wall paper the back of the shelves which is probably against the law or something.  So, since  it costs $1500 I'll leave it to someone who appreciates its original look.

This was a really neat swivel chair from the 60's.  The owner had it re-upholstered and re-foamed, so it was nice and fresh and comfortable.  It cost $350.  There was a matching chair for $200 which had not yet been re-done.  The owner said it would cost around $200 for fabric and labour depending on the fabric you choose -  so for around $400 you could have a great chair in the exact fabric of your choice!

Everything at Found Design had a story.  I'm sure we could have spent all afternoon speaking with the owner.  He was gracious and welcoming and we could tell that he loved what he did.  His pieces weren't cheap, but he explained that everything that he brought into his store was designer made and had history.  He also made sure to have things refurbished the right way and not just the "dip and strip" as he called it.  We really liked him and his awesome store.  

Next we headed to Hintonburg and stopped by Blueprint which was a lovely store full of beautiful furniture and a huge selection of pillows.  I will say things were pretty expensive, but maybe they have sales every now and again.

I'm looking for a desk for under the window in our bedroom and I liked the look of this guy.

There was a nicely decorated sunken living room in the store.  I love that coffee table.

Across the street was Alteriors, which is a really nice store.  Many of their items are made in Canada and they have regular sales.  For example, everything in the store is tax-free for the month of February.  

We loved this table and chairs set.  The chairs are very similar to the ones we purchased.  They had a lot of purple accents in the store, which reminded me of spring, even though it was minus 20 outside.

I had to take a picture of this lamp in the front window.  Check out the gun base!  

We reeeeaaaalllyyyyy liked this swivel chair.  It was super comfortable and came in so many different fabrics and leathers.  The fact that it was tax-free got us humming and hahhhing for couple minutes but we made it out of the store without opening our wallets.  

We finished off our afternoon in Hull.  First stop was Funky Furniture.  The owner is actually the nephew of the owner of Found Design.  See what you get to know when you start talking to store owners!  It was small space with some pretty funky furniture...yes, it lives up to its name.

Here is a picture of their window display.  I thought the overhanging orange lamp was pretty neat.  I wasn't too sure about the plastic framed chair and side table though.  

These paintings of the Original 6 goalies were awesome!  I wanted to buy the set for my little brother, or at least keep them stored until we are ready to decorate a child's room.  So fun, eh?

My second favourite and last stop of the day was Mikaza.  It was a huge space and full of everything I love.  The first thing I noticed was how much selection there was in the seating department.  If you are looking for stools or dining chairs, come here.  They also carry Umbra accessories, so it's a fun place to go when you just want to buy a small accent to perk up your space or to give as a gift.  

This red leather beauty caught my eye immediately.  Not cheap though - $400 a pop...so I kept walking.

There was a good selection of swivel chairs, all of which were available in many different fabrics.  We liked both of these the best:

There were a few pieces made from restored wood, including this beautiful console table.  I though it would also be a good fit for under the window in our bedroom.  I liked the sculpted lets and how they had a feminine feel.  I would swap out the chair for something in a pretty fabric, or maybe a "ghost chair".  And don't worry - I wouldn't pain this guy :)

Derek really liked this storage unit for under the television.  It was nice and there was plenty of storage.

I think some open shelving for behind our dining table would look really nice.  This shelf plays off the white from our kitchen cabinets and the polished chrome from our dining table and chairs.  

As we were leaving I spotted this beauty.  I would really love a bar cart and this one was the nicest I've seen.  It was HUGE!  I love the mix of materials.  Can't you picture it stocked with liquor, a martini shaker and great glassware?  Too bad the price tag was almost $1500.

I really enjoyed our Valentine's Day outing, especially since it was followed by a 5 star meal cooked by Derek!  It was fun to meet the different store owners and chat with them about their business.  I loved seeing all the beautiful furniture and sharing our ideas about how they would fit in our new home.  It was hard leaving some of the stores without buying anything - not even a picture frame or vase!  But I am really happy about the "research" we did and can't wait to visit the stores again once we are moved in and know exactly what we are looking for and what will fit.  And by the way - how is that for a cheap date?!

For those of you wondering about Green Light District - their store actually no longer exists in Ottawa.  It looks like a really nice place though, so maybe next time I'm in Toronto I will check it out.

On the way home we saw some people paragliding over the Ottawa River.  If you can't tell what those 2 dots are in the sky - they are crazy people!

I hope everyone has a really lovely Valentine's Day today.  We are just exchanging cards tonight and then I'm off to ball hockey.  I think a lot of people celebrated the big V-day over the weekend like we did.  Makes sense.

And on the subject of looooooovvveeee...I want to send a shout out to my 2 best friends who recently got engaged to the loves of their lives!!!!  

Congratulations guys!!!

Lisa and Ted, in Jamaica

Ashley and Matt, in Quebec City

I can't wait to celebrate your weddings and couldn't have picked more handsome and loving guys for you to spend the rest of your lives with.  

Awwww....  I'm allowing myself to gush just because it's Valentine's Day....and because I love love!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!!!


  1. Wow! What great research. You did all the work for me! I'm for sure going to check out Mikaza. I need a chair for that desk space in the kitchen. Do you know if those purple ones came in black? How much were the ones you bought that you said were similar?

    1. You will love Mikaza! I am not sure if the purple chairs came in any other colours, but most of the furniture there could be customized with different fabric/leather coverings. We got the gray ones for $99 but it was a boxing week sale.