House Poor, Home Pretty

College Street / Little Italy

Ok, so I can finally afford to liberate my dependency on garage sales, auctions and Ikea to furnish my home, but I’m not quite ready to leap into the couture furnishing world. I don’t know why, but I just can’t justify shopping at The Art Shoppe where $10,000 gets you a leather sofa that will inevitably look tatty in 5 years and only command $1,000 on Craigslist.

As a realtor, I have no issue pouring money into bricks and mortar. Property is a hard asset so I’ve always been able to justify upgrading and renovation as the ultimate return on investment. In fact, I’ve done this with my brick and beam loft which was originally an empty shell needing everything. Over the past 13 years my loft has gone from boho to chic, while my furnishings have gone from whimsically eclectic to just plain old tired and worn.

When it comes to home decorating, I’ve always subscribed to the belief that one should just buy stuff you really like and forgo any worry about it matching, for if you’re thoughtfully selecting individual pieces you adore the end result will look great.

Furthermore, I think clever is the person who can get creative on a budget, and achieve a ‘look for less’. So even though I’m ready to ‘upgrade’ my decor, I don’t want to spend like a crazy person who just won the lottery!

Furnishings aren’t always depreciating assets that eventually become worthless, especially if you have a good eye and a little money. Growing up in my family’s antique store, I know quality vintage pieces and antiques do increase in value. In fact, the few I do own are probably worth more money than I paid.

Here’s an example where I could use your help. Six years ago I bought this beautifully crafted unusually-shaped teak desk and chair for $400 at an estate sale. On the underside of one of the desk drawers is a stamp ‘1968’. On the underside of the upholstered chair seat it says ‘inter-continental-design-ltd.’ Can anyone shed some details on these?


When I popped onto one of my favourite sites, midcenturymodernist and researched the desk under office furniture, lo and behold I found an example. It lead me to decopedia and the work of Peter Løvig Nielsen. Could it be? The price point is around US$2500. Wow! So far I can’t peg any details on the chair. Can you?

Now that I’m all grown-up, I’m keeping the pieces I love and turfing the blech.

Stay tuned for Rejuvenating The Button Factory about my unique urban home in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

~Steven and the urbaneer team

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