Or really, found on the streets of Little Portugal. Especially when Jon and I graduated from school, we've had our share of visits to Ikea. Ikea sometimes reminds me of the twilight zone, the lighting and the music and the maze and the tableaux of furniture that all looks slightly different but vaguely familiar, but we were broke. Plus they have those excellent Swedish meatballs. However, there's nothing like furniture with a bit of character, with a story to tell. We've been told by friends about places like Wayside Furniture House that have lots of great, unique furniture, so we knew that we needed to get some of our own. Jon has been organizing the renovations and dealing with the contractors, and I've been listlessly wandering the city trying to find furniture for the new shop and also the apartment, which has no kitchen storage and no closets. Toronto is full of interesting and beautiful shops of vintage and antique and new furniture, but furniture shopping on a budget and a timeline is no piece of cake. First of all, furniture with the "right" sort of character is tough to find, and second of all, it's expensive. In the last few months, however, fate has brought to us some beauties. In Toronto, and I presume around the world in most major cities, people leave stuff on the curb to be picked up by strangers. It's a pretty awesome way of recycling stuff that you have no need for but someone else could use. Beauty No. 1: I found this treasure on my way to the shop one day. Interestingly, I took a slight detour on my way to the shop for absolutely no reason at all, and it just appeared before my eyes! What an amazing coincidence! I had the baby in my wrap, so there was some consideration about whether or not I could carry it home. While he offered no encouragement, he offered no discouragement either, so there I was, on Trinity Bellwoods, trying to alternately drag and lift this thing home.
I called Jon at the shop to try to get him to close up and help me move it, but Jon said he had customers, plus I could tell he was suspicious about what exactly was going on. While I was standing there, guarding my newfound shelf, I had an old Portuguese lady exit her house, slowly meander by with her walker and offer to store it in her house until I could convince Jon to come, but my pride would have none of it, as our house was probably 50 metres away. With some huffing and puffing, I finally got it in, only to have Jon's customers leave and him close up the shop to come examine my prize. Beauty No. 2: This wardrobe we found literally three or four houses down from us! This time, Jon and I were together, but this thing is pretty heavy, and with no easy place to grip. While I always tell people I'm stronger than I look, it's not by much. Jon doesn't actually come out and state that I'm the weak link in any moving operation, but we both know he's thinking it. I think between me and Jon we managed to move it about 2 feet. The baby casually watched the action from his stroller. What a life.
Jon was almost ready to abandon it, pointing out the weird mirror, plus the fact that the wardrobe door is currently being held shut by two magnetic strips, but we were saved! By our friendly neighbour, who popped his head out the window to ask if we needed help. Beauty No.3: And this beauty we just found today! We were going to head south to pick up a coffee for our walk, but decided to head north instead, and ...what could it be?? From afar, a large piece of wooden furniture! Upon closer inspection, it's maybe an old-school teacher's desk - perfect!
Missing a drawer, no problem! Jon will finagle up some wood to patch that bad boy up. A good sand and a seal, and this desk is going to be on display in the new shop. To Jon's relief, we had just purchased a trolley with wheels to cart this thing home. According to him, we could never have moved it with just me helping him, but now we'll never know.


All of these coincidences sometimes makes me wonder how much I'm missing out on by heading in the wrong direction, but then again, there's something delightful and fortuitous about life bringing these things to us just when we need them, and all within 50 metres of our house! Just as we began to organize ourselves and prepare for moving, despite some minor setbacks, there's also been quite a bit of good luck our way. Hope you're all having a great weekend :)

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April 26, 2015 — wonderpens


Wonder Pens

Wonder Pens said:

That’s a great tip! Actually, we hear a lot of good fountain pen finds at estate sales, too :) We don’t have a truck, but we move around so much that Jon is always saying we need to get one! Thanks for sharing :)


markbee said:

Of course, if you started buying lots of fountain pens from estate sales, you could move into selling vintage pens too!

Wonder Pens

Wonder Pens said:

That’s a great idea! We’ve had lots of interest from customers in vintage pens, but we don’t have too much knowledge or expertise on them, so we have no idea where to begin… But it’s definitely something on our minds :)


Ruth said:

That wooden desk is a wonderful find. They don’t make desks like they used to; I’ve been looking for a nice but not too expensive writing desk for ages. I’m envious!

Wonder Pens

Wonder Pens said:

Yes, these days furniture can tend to be a little less well-built, which is a real shame. I think the previous owner of the desk might have given it away because of the missing drawer, but it’s so solid and sturdy, as well as being quite good-looking, we couldn’t pass it up!


Ainar said:

If you have a truck, or a friend with a truck, you can get some good deals at estate sales and auctions. This is because most people who show up to these things don’t have a truck or a friend with a truck.


Maria said:

your posts are a joy to read! Love little Portugal, perhaps because I’m a little Portuguese woman!

Wonder Pens

Wonder Pens said:

Thanks for reading! We love this neighbourhood too, and actually, our landlord is this hilarious Portuguese grandmother who loves the baby and sometimes slips into Portuguese mid-conversation :)

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