West of Bathurst Street, the busy stretch of St. Clair Avenue West has been evolving with several new additions. Familiar faces, such as Albert's Real Jamaican and The Rushton, have been joined by the popular Artscape Wychwood Barns and a recent crop of independent businesses such as Leah's Bakery, Sea Witch Fish and Chips, and the newly opened Vintage Home Boutique.
Officially opening its doors on October 17, Vintage Home Boutique is the passionate project of local couple Maureen and Keith Lobo, who wanted to open their first business together in the neighbourhood they also call home. With Maureen's interest in furniture refinishing and Keith's extensive knowledge of retail, the eco-conscious pair decided to launch their first business â first online a year ago and now in brick and mortar form in the Hillcrest neighbourhood.
We've been collecting for years, and realized now was the time for us to open a store,
explained Maureen Lobo. Along with her husband, Keith, she's the parent of a ten-month-old and a five-year-old. Despite taking over a year to find the right location for their store, using family members' storage spaces and going through two and a half months of renovation and organization, the Lobos' commitment to staying and working in the neighbourhood has been rewarding.
It's a bonus to be able to walk to work in your own community,
Located at 710 St. Clair Avenue West, Vintage Home Boutique occupies 2,300 square feet next door to its landlord, McDonald's Restaurant. The space had been vacant for 15 years and now has been transformed into a welcoming furniture showroom. Featuring locally sourced new and vintage furniture, art, and accessories, Vintage Home Boutique fills a niche in the neighbourhood â a home dÃ©cor shop with a green conscious for locals wanting to shop for their home in their own backyard.
The roomy light-filled space easily draws in those walking along the street with its colourful window displays and eclectic collection of decor. Shoppers can find high-quality and well-priced vintage pieces, such as mid-century dining tables, chairs, dressers, side tables, and storage units, new custom sofas, sofa beds, and chairs from local manufacturer Brentwood Classics, and a rotating display of local artists, including glass objects from the Windsor-based Tsunami Glass and reclaimed barn-board pieces that can be custom-made.
Vintage Comode and a Desk
Old School Telephone
The Lobos' commitment to living a green life is also integral to their business. Selling quality vintage pieces is a way to reuse and recycle. They're promoting local craftspeople and companies who echo the same beliefs. Brentwood Classics uses North Americanâsourced wood and soy foam in its furniture, while Maureen Lobo uses non-toxic refinishing products for all the store's vintage pieces. And thanks to Keith's keen eye, there are several distinctive additions for accessorizing a home, such as old-school suitcases, wooden milk crates, cool camera bags, one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces, and pairs of lamps that you won't find in any big-box store.
Teddy is watching you
Old School Radio
For shoppers who are smitten with a unique piece in the showroom, there is a seven-day return policy. Every piece is also listed on the store's website to allow a second look at an item or provide inspiration for those wanting to come to the store.
There've been a few pieces that I've been sad to see sold, but it's good to see people appreciating what we're doing, especially since there's nothing like our store on this part of St. Clair West,
says Maureen, who explained that she and her husband did their research on Queen Street West and East, figuring out how to make their store unique among the current retail offerings.
Suitcases and Chests
Vintage Boutique Furniture
Even though Vintage Home Boutique has been open only a short time, the hot seller has been mid-century platform bed frames â the perfect piece for many of the new condominium residents of the neighbourhood. Several shoppers are also looking for bedroom dressers. For Maureen and Keith, their devotion to quality vintage and well-made design is now shared by all those who come to Vintage Home Boutique.
710 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto,
Tuesday - Friday: 10am - 7pm, Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm, Sunday 11 pm - 5pm, closed Mondays
Meet the Photographer
Colombian photographer based in Toronto, started with analog Photography in 2003, then jumping to the digital wolrd in 2005. His photographic areas are mainly street, landscapes, portrait and beauty.