Welcome to my blog on housing, culture and design in Toronto.
As a design-obsessed realtor consumed with everything housing and home, when it comes to curating a living space, nothing shouts ‘personality’ like a collection of quirky and cool art, accents and unique finds.
But achieving this isn’t going to happen by visiting a big box store like HomeSense. It requires you to sleuth for those intimate purveyors of good taste nestled on neighbourhood High Streets where the rents are a bit more reasonable.
Say hello to Grape! who will give you a welcome wag!
Spruce was born in April of 2013 when, while strolling through Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighbourhood, Spruce’s proprietor, Kimberly Alke, stumbled upon a gem of a retail space. Home of 2-4-1 Video for 30 years, the wood paneled walls, green carpeting, low bulk-heads, and dropped ceiling fueled her inspiration; this space was all but begging to be revitalized and refreshed! Owned by the same family since the early 1940’s, the ‘little shop that could’ had hidden character and charm that Kimberly was immediately drawn to.
Following that instinct, Kimberly began a journey that culminated in an enchanting shop that features unique, high-quality home décor and hand-crafted gifts.
Kimberly’s approach to building Spruce – including how she stocks her showroom – was born largely from her experience with home renovations. Her pursuit and knowledge of locally-made home furnishings urged her to consider how she could bring creative expression and alternative vision to home decor. Spruce became the perfect opportunity to curate and showcase her own unique design sensibility. One month of hard work – plus an army of family and friends – breathed life back into the storefront. On June 10, 2013, Spruce opened its doors and ever since, Kimberly has been executing her talents curating home décor and vintage pieces.
With a particular focus on the hand-crafted (her inventory is 60% handmade, sourced mostly from Canada, the US, and Europe), Spruce aims to highlight locally made products and the artistans who create them. Complementing that sensibility, Kimberly also harbours a love for carefully restored vintage pieces. Here you can find vintage treasures from across the province, purchase hand-made products created by North American designers, and discover one-of-a-kind solutions for your home. Spruce embraces reclaimed and repurposed materials, married with clean-lined modern textiles, housewares, and furnishings that are both practical and pleasing additions to any space.
Curious as to what you’ll find inside?
For one, this is my go-to spot for candles, offering one of the largest selections of in the city! Peterborough artist Bethanie Kaye is a self-taught wood worker who makes incredible wood-turned-candle holders; they are among the most popular decor pieces Spruce has carried to date.
The perfect topper for those luscious candle holders are Ester + Erik Candles from Denmark. Ester + Erik is a family-run speciality candle maker from Denmark that creates some of the most delightful high-design candles in the industry – offering free-standing cone candles in over 50 colours and shades including metallic and matte blacks and tapers up to 25″ tall in a multitude of shades and finishes. All candles are non-drip and burn with a beautiful long flame lasting up to 20 hours.
I also love the pieces by Barter Design Co, which is a collective of artists who hail from the Sunshine Coast in BC. I adore their sleek and modern take on hand-crafted terra cotta and porcelain.
I always enjoy checking out Spruce’s vintage finds, which is the perfect way to add some patina and personality to your home. Kimberly loves mixing fun and unique vintage pieces within our decor. Spruce sources vintage from within Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, and New York, which means you can count on an ever-changing selection of vintage furniture, art, and decor.
Are you a foodie like I am? This is the place to pick up unique pantry items including: salt from Vancouver Island, candied jalapenos and preserves from Salt Spring Island, mustard from a Red Seal Chef in Winnipeg, lemonade concentrate from a 100 year old family recipe made in Montreal, cocktail syrups from the Ottawa Valley, and chocolate from Toronto and Montreal.
Need a gift? Spruce is my go-to for treats of every budget, and they welcome wrapping up your package!
I’ve long had a love-affair with Spruce, so when I listed a vacant historic cottage on a privately owned street in Cabbagetown a few blocks away, I reached out to Kim and begged her to let me do a cross-promotion featuring my furniture and her products in my listing.
And TaDa! Here it is –> An Enchanting Cabbagetown Cottage On Alpha Avenue filled with unique décor items from Spruce styled by Kim herself!
Spruce Toronto Home Decor & Gifts!
Address: 455 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M5A 3A3
Phone: (647) 748-4060
Love Cabbagetown, Architecture & Design As Much As I Do?
Here are some other posts of mine on Urbaneer.com which I believe you’ll enjoy
And consider checking out my Neighbourhood Page On Cabbagetown which features census profiles, local amenities and our flavour video!
And here’s my other Neighbourhood Pages for downtown Toronto!
With a multi-disciplinary education in housing – and 27 years experience in the property market – I believe the search for a Home requires engagement on sensory, intellectual and emotional levels. In fact, those are some of the reasons why I am a fan of multimedia, especially as it relates to creating an understanding of neighbourhood atmosphere or providing a snapshot of what life would be like as a member of a given community.
Toronto, as you may know, is a City of Neighbourhoods, where there is a patchwork of lifestyle, options and unique amenities. Part of the service my team and I offer Urbaneer.com is a comprehensive understanding of what makes each of these neighbourhoods tick, and what amenities might be most appealing to a particular homeowner. Can we help you decide which neighbourhood might be best for you?
With decades of experience navigating the highs and lows of our market, and our commitment to remain acutely aware of shifts and trends, we are here to help!
All without pressure or hassle. May we be of assistance to you, or someone you love?
Thanks for reading!
-The Urbaneer Team
Steven Fudge, Sales Representative
& The Innovative Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage – (416) 322-8000
– we’re here to earn your trust, then your business –
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*Love Canadian Housing? Check out Steve’s University Student Mentorship site called Houseporn.ca which focuses on architecture, landscape, design, products and real estate in Canada!