I’ve never been too picky about furniture. Hand-me-downs, IKEA– when you’re a student and you’re moving again in eight months anyway, it doesn’t much matter. But I’ve just moved back in with my mother, who believes in choosing home furnishings for their quality and design, and I could be here a while. So it is that I started my search for a desk at The Art Shoppe, featuring “the finest furniture & home furnishings available from around the world” rather than at a garage sale down the street. The Art Shoppe, for those who have never been, is a sprawling location on at least three levels on Yonge St., south of Eglinton. I found a nice solid wood desk, actually in the children’s furniture section. It was plain, had tressles, was painted yellow, and I liked it. It was an Italian design on sale for $700. Steep, I thought. How wrong I was.
Perhaps a week later, after more window shopping around town, we picked up a copy of what was to become our Window Shopping Bible, Design Lines Toronto, Fall 2007 issue, which lays out all the go-to places for designer furniture in Toronto, organized by neighbourhood. I don’t know that we realized the calibre, and price range, of the vast majority of locales covered in this magazine. Once we started browsing, it didn’t seem to matter. We were going to furnish our space the way we liked. Money no object.
Since we were, at that time, in designer mode (or La La Land), we didn’t bat an eyelash before stopping in to Klaus by Nienkämper as we made our way across the King Street East stretch of high-end furniture stores. Klaus is a designer furniture showroom where, should you have the funds and interest, you can acquire your very own set of Daniel Liebskind chairs exactly like the ones on display at the new entrance to the Royal Ontario Museum. It was here I was almost convinced that designer furniture was for me. One look at this TAFEL Table Bench and I was intrigued.
When my mother and I sat down across from each other (not without some balance issues– it felt a little bit like being on a see-saw), I was hooked. I hadn’t been aware of the existence of a single piece of furniture that combined table, wall and seating, and I wouldn’t have thought I would have a use for a diner-like unit in my bedroom, but all of a sudden it seemed like the perfect piece.
Until I saw the price tag: approximately $10,000. So that was out. Continue reading