If I had a loonie for every time I heard, “Ugh, when is that great US DÉCOR STORE coming to Canada, already?” I could buy them all and open them in Canada myself. I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of denouncing the American décor invasion, but I’m expecting so. The truth of the matter is – and the market never lies – we want them. We want them bad. We want them so bad that we sit in coffee shops, on porches, balconies and park benches, discussing how we could solve the business dilemma of having insufficient population, which has precluded us as an expansion destination for US décor retailers in the past. In a word, the market size was just too insignificant.
I don’t know what’s changed (I’m no MBA graduate, I like wallpaper), whether more people with a hunger for US décor stores are being born, but the giants have heard the fly. They’re here. Not all of them, but we’re certainly seeing the end of the beginning.
What are those stores you ask? Well, marked by the arrival of Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma, the floodgates began to leak a slow but steady flow of US chains, and I’ve narrowed them down to my Top 5 Faves:
A smattering of IKEA, Pottery Barn, and a dash of younger and hipper, and you get Crate&Barrel. You can take solace in the conveyor belt turnover, meaning not everyone will have the exact same things accenting their living spaces — stuff flies out of there.
Yorkdale Shopping Centre
3401 Dufferin Street
Toronto, ON M6A 2T9
100 Anderson Road SE
Calgary, AB T2J 3V1
Opening Fall 2009
This one was especially anticipated in certain girlie circles; frills and embroidery as far as the eye can see, this is the new blend of Shabby Chic and Vintage Romantic, at slightly (OK, significantly) higher prices than Urban Outfitters, its sister store.
Shops at Don Mills
19 Clock Tower Rd
Toronto, ON M3C 0E1
80 Yorkville Ave
Toronto, ON M5R 2C2
West Edmonton Mall
8882 170 Street
Edmonton, AB T5T 4M2
Nice, I like very much. Again, take a little IKEA, take a little Up Country, and square it up even more, and you’ve got West Elm. What I like about it most are the prices — really quite the effort on their part.
Shops at King – Liberty
109 Atlantic Avenue
Toronto, ON M6K 1E2 Canada
With a store pending for Vancouver, no? I could be wrong.
Lowe’s (yes, Lowe’s)
Décor you say? Yep, they’ve got it. As you surely noticed, what we thought were home improvement stores have morphed before our eyes into the complete home experience. There’s really no need to go anywhere else for all your home needs anymore, especially if your aesthetic aligns with theirs. Which is why I throw Lowe’s into the mix.
Their stuff is similar to other stores of their ilk, but somehow a bit cuter — really. Lighting is nice, fixtures are nice, and I really like the garden centre. If you’re in Ontario, go check it out.
Canadian Locations: All over Ontario, too many to mention. See here.
Well this here is a real earnest effort. Design Within Reach is your wormhole for Mid-Century Modern design: they bring it all back, licensed, and with no surcharge for that patina that comes as gratis with inflated vintage prices. Apparently, the principals of Design Within Reach say Canadians have been buying from them for years — even before they shipped to Canada — and so they came where "their customers told them to." (NationalPost.ca)
435 King Street West
(at Spadina Avenue)
Toronto, ON M5V 1K4
Do you shop at any of these? Do you want one or more to come to your city or town? What do you think of the US décor invasion anyway – are you into it or not?
Previously on Top 5 Friday: Fall Trends for the Home
Top 5 Friday is featured every Friday on Style Sheet.