The Open House Effect

Everyone is guilty of letting their imagination run wild about the house next door. The curiosity likely revolves around the need to know how a person lives and their darkest medicine cabinet secrets. This mystery remains unsolved until an open house welcomes the neighbourhood in for a peek.

Once inside, it is guaranteed you will be inspired by something, whether it is the curation of a room, a colour on the wall or a décor item. When it comes to styling a home, snooping provides more inspiration than going to a brick and mortar store where you try to imagine how an item, sitting on a sterile and bland shelf, will add character to your home.

What is appealing about an open house is the experience. Luckily, we have a solution where you can snoop around, make yourself feel welcome and buy that little piece of inspiration.

Merchant Sons home decor store in TorontoPhoto credit: Ryan Emberley 

Enter the Live-room

Surrounded by condominiums in Toronto’s downtown core, is our beautiful “live-room” (our take on the showroom - something to experience, not just look at it) at 273 Richmond St. W. Situated in a century-old home, the building is in a Bay and Gable styled row house known for its polygonal bay window and steep gables at roof level. Torontonians are welcome to explore our dwelling and stay a while to experience our way of living – which hopefully will inspire ideas for your own home. 

Our space reflects the well-lived man who loves things with history and an authentic story. This is obvious as you are welcomed into our living room, which is mixed with modern design elements and vintage charm. Sit by the beautiful exposed brick wall with its cozy vintage brass-plated fireplace or by the bay window, surrounded by greenery. The room also has prized nostalgia pieces from antique letter holders to moose antlers to a 1980’s Nikon camera, which once snapped countless baby photos of one of our co-owners.

Interior of Merchant Sons home decor store in Toronto

Our kitchen is occupied by our housemate, De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters. The roaster is named after Francisco de Mello Palheta, who was sent by the King of Portugal to French New Guinea to bring back the coffee seeds which ultimately sparked Brazil’s coffee trade. As you wait for your coffee, stroll around and admire our family photos, featuring the factories and people who helped build our brand, along with work by local Toronto artists.

 De Mello Palheta's coffee equipment at Merchant Sons Toronto store

Lastly, visit our bedroom, arguably the most important room. Here is where you can recharge in style, dream of magnificent ideas or light saber battles and cuddle next to that special someone.

Bedroom at Merchant Sons

We are happy to call this beautiful heritage building our home. We are also proud to be in the King-Spadina neighbourhood, an area which was once a residential hub and industrial centre. While it’s hard to believe, its diverse past is something worth talking about.

Exploring the Neighbourhood

The King-Spadina neighbourhood has a rich historical profile as it has gone through numerous incarnations. The area was once populated by hospitals, government buildings and the first Upper Canada College campus. It then became a residential area with a mixture of large estates, townhomes, one and two storey houses as well as merchant shops.

Historical view of King-Spadina area

In the 1860s, the district saw an increase in railway infrastructure and with its proximity to the waterfront, attracted manufacturers who set up factories to develop Canadian products for Canadian consumers. Many factories began popping up next to residential houses and eventually some homes were torn down to accommodate the rapid growth of these facilities. While the loss of these residential structures was sad, new architectural gems by some of Canada’s renowned architects were built, including: the Eclipse White Wear Company Building, the Canadian Westinghouse Building and the MacDonald Manufacturing Company.

Historic view of King-Spadina neighbourhood

After World War II, the factories began to shutter. Warehouses sat vacant for years and began to deteriorate, while others were converted into offices, restaurants, entertainment destinations and sadly, parking lots. Today, the King-Spadina area is reverting back to its residential roots as condominiums soar high in the sky, dwarfing the former factories and residential homes that remain. We hope our live-room provides a reprieve from the glass and concrete surrounding us, connecting the present to the past, the residential to the commercial. 

We invite you to visit our home on Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m (note that the café closes earlier at 5pm every night). Experience our handsome space and get inspired by the products subtly incorporated into our rooms, and the historical charm of the building and neighbourhood.       

PS: Some visitors have told us that they’re “afraid” of ruining our display. We want to take the chance to reiterate that 273 Richmond Street West is not a display, it’s a space built for customers to enjoy and relax in. We're experts in stain resistant and extra-durable products, so we’re not concerned at all! Mi casa es su casa!

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