For spaces in need of a refresh, look no further than original vintage home items sold by Canadian collectors.
Is there anything more calming than leisurely browsing the home furnishings section of an out-of-town Value Village or browsing a recently discovered antique store? And while we can all certainly use a calming pastime these days, how is the once-leisurely business of vintage home decor shopping even possible in an age when browsing the store feels like a distant memory?
Shopping for vintage decor online is surprisingly similar to the IRL version – when you’re shopping in the right place, says Nora Voon, award-winning designer and founder of Noda Designs. The avid vintage collector typically sheds antiques every few weeks, and while the tactile element is currently missing, the best online stores correct this gap with detailed photos and detailed descriptions. Professional sellers will also carefully note irregularities in an item, whereby Voon encourages buyers not to be deterred. “Imperfections aren’t necessarily flaws,” she says. “They might just be signs that the item wasn’t machine-made, and therefore more likely to be a one-of-a-kind antique.”
If your surroundings are particularly drab these days, vintage furniture can add a welcome dose of charm and humor to your home. Browse the eight vendors below (bonus: they’re all Canadian) to discover special pieces filled with character that are sure to enhance your space and fill the economic void in your heart.
A door in time
A Door in Time is a Toronto boutique specializing in cottagecore items spanning the twentieth century. Endearing tableware with images of fruits and vegetables, flowers and farm animals, and quaint country life are plentiful, including a darling pair of squash-shaped soup bowls and an elegant swan teapot. Shoppers can browse the style of their choice – “The Ranch,” for example, features Western-themed treasures like miniature cowboy boot planters. The online store also offers a unique selection of vintage folk art from around the world, from Denmark to Mexico.
Carter and Wainwright
Carter & Wainwright has a huge selection of over a thousand vintage items and collectibles. The store’s operation outside of Prince Edward Island is reflected in her maritime-themed memorabilia, some of which include a Norman Rockwell nautical mug and brass trinket. Another highlight is the ceramic collection, with a 1940s porcelain flowerpot (which can also be used as a makeup brush holder) and a pretty blue dimpled vase made by Darlington Pottery of Île-du-Rhône. – Prince Edward in the 1980s.
According to Voon, vintage pottery can add an interesting textural element to modern decor. “If your interior is very contemporary and has a minimalist vibe, pairing old ceramic or porcelain items can be really striking,” she says.
Montreal glassmakers Opaline Atelier stock beautiful antiques in addition to selling their own works of art and personalized glassware. The boutique’s vintage collection is carefully curated and includes ultra-feminine tableware and trays perfect for hosting or displaying jewelry. Color is a priority in the boutique’s antiques offering, with an eye-catching assortment of colored glass items that range from opalescent amber and iridescent orange to sky blue and vivid green. The pieces date from the 1930s and include delightful relics from the 1950s, including the butterfly “party set” from the Jeanette Glass Company.
Fifth Avenue Vintage Co
Fifth Avenue Vintage Co is a supplier of light retro home items. The Saskatoon boutique has an eye for vibrant designs and playful characters, which adorn everything from throws and pillows to kitchen utensils and board games. The trinkets section features a wide array of animal-themed products and salt and pepper shakers, and the wall decor pieces are delightfully kitsch, ranging from needlepoint bird portraits to a velvet oil painting. dark blue from the 70s.
Incorporating an unusual piece of art into your home decor can bring a space to life. “Art is a way not to take things too seriously,” Voon shares. “I love to express my quirk through art.”
Montreal flea market
The Montreal flea market offers a quirky variety of household items with a wide selection of clocks, novelty phones and spectacular lighting fixtures. The online store is the place to find cheeky home decor such as a 1970s bowling themed lamp, 1950s chalk mounted fish and an 80s cat phone. It There are also plenty of retro-futuristic items to choose from, including The Jetsons-esque chrome pieces like a Blessing Tulip Clock and a five-light table lamp.
Pieces Kept is based in Vancouver and offers a fine selection of vintage home furnishings, including an impressive collection of coffee table art and books. Shoppers can find pristine art books on Picasso, Pottery, and Ikebana, as well as 1930s natural resources like Albert Dixon Simmons. Wing strokes, which showcases birds in flight. The items at this store are impeccably photographed with striking minimalism, allowing the material of each object to shine, such as the glossy black finish on an Ikebana porcelain vase or the textured “Fat Lava” enamel on mid-century ceramics.
EpiCurio Collectables of Halifax is a nostalgic store that sells rare and notable toys from decades past. As collectors first and foremost themselves, the owners of EpiCurio Collectables also restore their finds, so shoppers can find childhood memories in great shape, including Care Bears, Polly Pocket, Strawberry Shortcake and Tamagotchi. The store’s selection of vintage stationery (including beloved Sandylion stickers), squeaky rubber Mickey Mouse valentines and Edward Mobley toys are sure to add lightness to any interior.
Voon has several good mood accompaniments of its own. “I have an owl [figurine] perched on my bar cabinet in my London apartment, ”she says. “I named him Oscar and he’s a great companion if I ever need a friend.”
Handpicked Artifacts is a Guelph-based boutique committed to helping the environment through the resale of vintage household items. The online store has a fascinating selection of art, embroidery, ceramics, and kitchenware, like a green-glazed coffee maker made in Collingwood circa 1953 and an antique Cupid cake pan from Birkmann. Particularly noteworthy is the collection of candle holders, with an assortment of styles ranging from miniature brass trumpets to whimsical Fenton blue glass boots.
If you’re new to adding antique household items to your space, Voon suggests starting small. “The key is not to overdo it,” she says. “I find that in modern interiors, a few vintage pieces can really add personality and depth.” Whether you go for a little vintage or a lot, Voon argues that “good design comes in many forms”.