1213 BATHURST ST
416 533 3203
MON-WED & FRI BY APPT ONLy; OPEN TO THE PUBLIC THURSDAY AFTERNOONS
It might take a major traffic jam before you’d notice Are & Be, a little boutique tucked towards the back of a former tile factory on a busy stretch of Bathurst near Davenport. But walk down the driveway and the bold motifs and bright colours of the wallpapers on display jump out at you through the floor-to-ceiling window.
Inside, the space is a blank canvas for grand ideas: grey concrete slab flooring, white-painted brick, exposed steel beams. A bustling architectural design firm is at work here, nearly hidden behind a wall of filing cabinets covered in BuzziSkin’s cuddly, sound-insulating recycled felt. Are & Be is the brainchild of architectural designers Merike and Stephen Bauer, principals of Reigo & Bauer, a firm whose quirky residential interiors include their own eccentric home with its wall-papered ceilings (which we featured in our Fall 2010 issue). Having sourced and imported specialty materials for years, they decided to bring their exclusive cache of hard-to-find, mostly European product to the Toronto market. “We were already doing the groundwork,” says Merike.
On one wall hangs a selection of coverings, including U.K. designer Erica Wakerly’s popular red-and-white Fan paper that, from a distance, looks like tufted upholstery. Also on display are countless samples of thick pile, multi-hued and patterned carpet tiles, as well as laminates ranging from rustic to radical. Though it caters mostly to the trade, the showroom opens to the public on Thursdays so these ahead-of-the-Joneses finishes can be ordered by catalogue.
Shop here for: Loud and edgy wall and floor coverings you won’t find anywhere else in the city. Thermopal’s eye-popping laminates for countertops, walls and furniture are made from hard-working “green” materials, while Object Carpet’s Casina rugs playfully update a retro favourite – the parquet pattern – in au courant colours.
Best Bet: Beware The Moon’s Skulls wallpaper (from $95/roll) is a modern take on the traditional flock velvet, with almost imperceptible variations among the skulls. Our favourite finish is the so-called “bronze-on-oil-slick,” but those with a subtler aesthetic should check out the white skulls on the glittery off-white background.
By Paige Magarrey
Photos by Naomi Finlay
As featured in our Winter 2011 issue