Just below the Junction’s main Dundas Street drag, a Neat Stuff! sandwich board points to a backyard garage. This offbeat radio shack of sorts houses Mike Echlin’s extensive selection of restored ’60s stereo cabinets.
Echlin says there’s nothing like the sound that these refurbished units emit, and the organizers of Live Nation agree (they recently picked one up for their office). Available in assorted lengths, each cabinet houses audio equipment with dials and displays that no doubt once seemed futuristic. Today, they have a Jetsonian charm that makes them look cooler than ever.
Other vintage pieces for sale include landscape paintings, a green-on-green striped sofa set, shag area rugs – even a credenza by iconic Canadian designer Russell Spanner. Echlin’s finds come mostly from out-of-town estate sales, and often it only takes some steel wool and teak oil to get them ready for new homes. Other times, he will give them a makeover: one model’s top and legs were painted bright white, while another was funked up with a salmon pink surface and matte black encasements.
Against this backdrop of old-timey charm, loud and irreverent graffiti-style paintings pop. A long-time street artist (SPAZZ) and former gallery owner, Echlin curates art shows at Spin, the King Street Ping-Pong club. He originally sought out the garage as a place to store his pieces, as well as those by other acclaimed artists like Jeff Blackburn, Dudeman, Anser and Nik Dudukovic.
SHOP HERE FOR: Antiques that are anything but dusty, and contemporary art pieces with attitude.
BEST BET: The retro stereos, starting at $500. For a demo, Echlin might play you some Herb Alpert from his iPhone, hooked up with RCA cables to a system first sold back when Whipped Cream and Other Delights were topping the charts. It’s a pairing of two timeless classics.