Antiquing At The Lazy Farmer

I can't believe it's September already. Where did the summer go?! I'm just returning home from a 10 day stay at a cottage and wishing I didn't have to go back to work. We had great weather most of the week and on one of the cloudy days I got to do a little antiquing. Like many decor enthusiasts, going antiquing is one of my favourite things to do. If time allowed, I would be out at a different flea market, fair or boutique at least once a week, travelling around to various towns and cities to check out the local assortment. One of my all-time favourite places to hunt for antiques is at The Lazy Farmer Trading Post in Orillia, Ontario, a couple of hours north of Toronto on Hwy 11. It's one of my favourite places because of its great assortment, but also because the place holds good memories for me. My former family cottage of 26 years was just 40 minutes north of The Lazy Farmer and my dad loved to stop in a few times each summer on our way home from a weekend at the cottage. I can remember going there as a little kid and being enchanted by everything; my favourite items were the frail and torn centuries old piano books (I took piano lessons most for most of my childhood). Adding to the enchantment of these visits is the building itself – the antique store is in a huge old barn, dimly lit by scarcely spaced pendant lights, the antique lamps for sale and sunlight streaming through the cracks in the barn board wall. After having a good look around the barn, my brother and I would go outside and play with the baby bunnies that the owners had running free on the property. My dad bought a ton of antique furniture and accessories from The Lazy Farmer and I grew up surrounded by them at our cottage and our home in the city. It's been several years since I've been back and I've been dying to go, so I took a day out of my week's vacation at a friend's cottage last week to drive down for the morning. It held the same charm for me as it did all those years ago. There were so many pieces I wanted to walk away with! However, I had neither the money nor a vehicle large enough to make any significant purchases. Instead, I bought a brass candlestick and wall sconce, and I took a ton of photographs to share. 

This shot perfectly illustrates the enchanting feeling you get when you first walk in to the barn, sunlight streaming through the spaces between the wall boards. 

This leather and iron chair was so beautiful and quite reasonably priced at $195. It was the first thing I saw upon entering the barn and I wished I could bring it, and its matching stool (below) home with me.  

My iPhone photo doesn't do this room divider justice because it's hard to tell that all of the detail is hand-carved and the wood dyed to create this beautiful design.  

Some lovely pink and white porcelain jugs and basins atop a pretty dresser. 

This old operator switchboard is the kind of thing my dad would have purchased - completely useful but full of interesting history. 

Antique writing desk, brass candlesticks, Victorian lamps, vanities and dressers... 

A dentist's chair? You can find pretty much anything at The Lazy Farmer.  

Piles upon piles of all kinds of chairs.  

These end tables!!!! They were already sold, but if available I would have racked up a bit of debt for sure. 

Massive moose head. 

Another gorgeous chair, likely with its original upholstery. 

Difficult to see because it was buried under and behind a lot of stuff, but this desk/vanity with it's marble top, turned wood legs and blue and white tiles was absolutely stunning. It was priced at $400. I wish I had a bigger vehicle! And a bigger bank account. Because this would have for sure come home with me. 

This juke box wasn't for sale but was filling the barn with great music to shop to. 

These were interesting pieces - a coffee table and two side tables that were made out of dug up tree roots.  

On my way to The Lazy Farmer I stopped in at the Bracebridge Habitat for Humanity Restore and picked up a few things there. More on that later this week. 

10 Must-Haves for the Home by the Time You're 30

Recently, designer Tommy Smythe was on the Marilyn Denis Show discussing the 10 must-have home decor items to own by the time you're 30. Using Tommy's list as a guide, I thought I'd share a shopping list of the items I would select from each category to add to your decor.  

1. Original Art/Photography

Invest in a good piece of original art or photography, it will add interest to your space. As Tommy says, it's time to get rid of those old concert posters. I like the colour-enhanced photos of abandoned homes and buildings in Havana by Werner Pawlok. So hauntingly beautiful.

2. Good Quality Sofa

Tommy advises that a good quality sofa will cost you $2,000 at minimum. This price gets you good fabric and good construction. It's worth the investment - after all, other than your bed, it's the piece of furniture you spend the most time on. Restoration Hardware has a wide selection of really comfortable sofas starting at $2,000; you can choose the fabric and colour you want. If you like to change your decor often, stick with a neutral colour and change your accessories with the seasons.

3. Good Quality Lighting

Please, can we all get rid of those "big box, female anatomy-looking light fixtures?" You know the ones Tommy is referring to. The addition of good quality lighting can be in any form, but I prefer to spend a bit more on ceiling or wall fixtures, since they're a little more permanent. If a candelabra-style chandelier is too formal/traditional for you, try something a little more contemporary like this one from Living Lighting:

4. Antique or Vintage Items

Tommy tells us that having at least one antique or vintage item in your home shows your guests that you have a level of taste and sophistication, and I completely agree. I grew up surrounded by antiques so I would even suggest having at least a few. Antique shops and markets are everywhere and you usually have to hunt to find that perfect piece, but it's well worth the effort once you do. Here's a lovely faux bamboo brass tray from Vintage Fine Objects that would add sophistication to any style of decor:

5. Plants or Pets

Plants and pets indicate to people who come into your home that you're able to care for another living thing. As Tommy says, "you should not be the only thing alive in your apartment." Start with plants if you can't commit to a pet. This photo from Pinterest illustrates how they can be worked into a decor scheme:

Original source unknown

6. Good Quality Bedding/Sheets

Tommy advises to have two sets and replace them every two years. Choose a 400-thread count and go with a simple white sheet set. Crane & Canopy has some high-quality, affordable bedding options available. The Linden set is one of my favourites and is on my wish list:

7. Kitchen 

Tommy talked about several kitchen items to invest in, and for this point I'm going to share the items he showed on the segment instead of showcasing my own suggestions.

Cookware - buy a matching set of pots and pans. If you can't afford to buy them all at once, buy them piece by piece and invest slowly over time. (Tommy featured a copper set by Williams Sonoma.)

Dinnerware - a set of 12 (or a baker's dozen since, let's face it, dishes will break) is ideal. Start with a good set of white plates that can act as a workhorse but that also look really nice. (Tommy recommends Sophie Conran dinnerware, available at HBC.)

Table Linens and Flatware - a set of 12 for each. How lovely is this Kate Spade pink gold flatware set?! 

Knife Set - get a beautiful knife block that can be left out on the counter. Even better - this version that has an integrated cookbook or tablet holder for easy recipe viewing. 

8. Matching Hangers

Disorganization in the closet is disorganization in life. Have an all matching set, whether it's all wood, all plastic, all velvet, etc. HomeSense (and therefore probably also HomeGoods) has inexpensive packs of 10-25 hangers. I recently bought a couple of packages for my own closet but regret to tell you that I haven't purged the old and invited the new in yet!!! So for now, I'd like to share this photo from my friend and fellow blogger Tiffany Leigh's walk-in closet makeover

9. Good Books

Having good books on display shows that you have a level of interest and scholarship in your life and in your home, says Tommy. Books are a symbol of hospitality, and guests are invited to pick them up and read. I've worked for a book company most all of my professional life, allowing me the opportunity to accumulate a vast amount of books in the last 15 years. I've since donated a lot of them and I wish I had a photo of the wall-to-wall bookshelves I used to have that housed over 800 tomes but that photo is trapped on a broken phone. Instead, here is a more recent picture of some of the books I just couldn't part with: 

10. Cleaning Person

When investing in great stuff, you've got to take care of it. Investing in hired help to keep your house clean is the best gift you can give yourself. It took me a long time to learn the value of this, but about a year and a half ago I hired someone to clean my house every other week and now that I've done that, I will never go back. Not only does Adora clean my house better than I ever could, she keeps my sanity in check by keeping my house in order. J'adore Adora. (P.S. If you live in Toronto and would like her number, please contact me. She is THE BEST.) 

Where I Shop: Angus & Company

I was going through all the photos on my iPhone recently and deleting some of them to free up space, when I realized that I have a ton of photos of products I snapped at various retailers around the city. It gave me the idea to create a new blog series about the places I shop for home decor accessories and furniture. I'd like to start with one of my favourite little antique boutiques, Angus & Company

Self-described as a design shop "with the feel of a general store and the ambiance of a cocktail party," Angus & Co. is full of carefully curated objects of desire and pieces of statement furniture that are difficult to resist opening your wallet for. Here are some of my favourite items from my most recent visit there:  

Be still my heart! There were two of these large ginger jar lamps for sale. If only I had a place for them in my home! 

A detail from the aforementioned lamp.  The chinoiserie-print linen napkins were also lovely. 

Continuing on the theme of blue and white...this little vase!!! 

More chinoiserie print, this time with pillows. But can we talk about this Mies van der Rohe cantilever chair? Just an example of the delicious goodies you can expect to find at this fine store. 

 A piece of coral. Crystal decanters. THIS CHANDELIER TABLE LAMP.  

I just might to back for these tuxedo-like lacquered boxes. 

I didn't buy anything on my most recent visit to the shop, but I'm still in love with the purchases I made last summer - my silver bar tray and grey calf hair coasters. 

Angus & Company is located at 647 Dupont Avenue (at Christie Street). 

Weekend Antiquing

Went antiquing in the Junction yesterday, it was another beautiful, hot, sunny Saturday, perfect for biking to and walking around the neighbourhood.  I saw these two gorgeous old bergere chairs for $350 each and it pained me to have to walk away from them without buying them.  But they were so old and delicate, I would be too afraid to let anyone sit in them, myself included!  I would rather have style + function together.  

These slipper chairs (I'm guessing from the 70s?) were not only comfortable but were really sturdy and reasonably priced.  No matter what chairs I end up buying for my living room, I will be reupholstering them in blue velvet (which is still unsourced - any ideas?).  I have a narrow living room so armless chairs will work best in the space and will offer more comfort than an occasional chair.  

I didn't end up buying anything yesterday, the hunt for the perfect living room chairs is still on.  I hope you all enjoyed your weekend!  

Pressback Chairs

Newest addition* to my kitchen: six of these antique pressback chairs.  They were the dining chairs at my family's cottage until about four years ago when we sold it.  Ever since, the chairs have been at my aunt and uncle's house in storage.  It's nice to see them in my kitchen now, they are a nice reminder of my cottage.  

*I say "newest addition" as if I add things to my kitchen all the time, when in fact, other than converting my electric stove to a gas range, I haven't done anything to my kitchen since buying the house 3 years ago.  It is a bland, outdated kitchen that lacks storage and counter space and it needs a complete overhaul, but a major renovation is not in the budget right now.  One of my projects this summer will be to give the walls and cabinets a fresh coat of paint, but I don't want to put too much into the space, only to tear it out a year later.  Maybe this can be a little decorating challenge - how drastically can I improve the space on a very little budget and in the shortest amount of time possible?  Stay tuned!