LuLu and Lavigne
If you venture a little further down to the South end of Locke Street you'll find some of our favorite places like Bread Bar, charming book stores, art galleries and LuLu & Lavigne Home Studio. On a number of occasions we've found ourselves standing in front of the shop window admiring the gorgeous window displays. Heather Coward, the talented owner of Lulu & Lavigne spent ten years in the advertising industry before she decided she wanted to do something more creative and hands on. She enrolled in the Furniture Design and Production diploma program at George Brown College where she divided her time between woodworking and upholstery labs and a mix of drafting, colour theory and design history classes. "I love taking old, beat up upholstered furniture and giving it new life with a different fabric or colour," explained Heather, "It satisfies my creative side as well as my love of vintage items and a desire to be more green in the way I live." After graduating, she opened up shop on Queen West in Toronto, with the intention of offering a mix of new and vintage home items.
At her current location, a sign hanging near the entrance reads 'A home is not meant to be finished; it should evolve and be enjoyed'. We truly believe in surrounding yourself with things you love. Trying to have a theme, or being too 'matchy-matchy' will say nothing about your personality. Collect items from your travels, fix and refinish pieces yourself and shop vintage; the reward will be a space that is uniquely yours. "Don't buy something because you think it is the right thing to decorate with or because it is something you can afford right now," advised Heather, "Find something that you love and save up to buy it. Chances are it will be an investment piece that you will carry with you for a very long time no matter where you live." And we read this tip recently -- limit yourself to two pieces of furniture from Ikea to a room, it's so easy to treat it like a one stop shop and eventually your entire home will look like a catalogue.
Heather always offers such an eclectic collection of home items. "I buy what I love!" enthused Heather, "but I also listen to the advice of some of my favourite sales reps. They can be very good at pointing out products that will fit with my store and providing me with trend information about lines that are selling well elsewhere." These numerology pitchers are so adorable. They're available in creamer size to water jug size, and have one random number on each one. The collection offers tea towels as well. It's bistro styling without being quaint.
We instantly spotted this vintage wool trapper point blanket. To our delight, Heather said she's even sourced vintage HBC wool coats in the past. They quickly sold, obviously.
We mentioned how gorgeous Heather's window displays are, and the unique merchandising style carries throughout the store. "Everything that I learned in my theory classes comes into play as I design areas for the store, mix colours, fabrics, and furniture styles and source vintage items," explained Heather. Her inspiration usually begins with one larger piece of vintage furniture. "I once stayed at an auction until the bitter end (about 5 hours!) just to get two vintage porch rockers," said Heather, " I already had the window display done in my head before I even owned them!" She painted them red and sat a vintage twig table between them adorned with a red geranium in a rustic clay pot. A few cushions in spring prints sat on the chairs. It was no surpise to hear it all sold in three days.
Stephanie was overjoyed by this collection of Nancy Drew novels. As a child she would collect them at yard sales with her mum, and now wishes she never parted ways with them.
LuLu & Lavigne also offers personalized services, from home decor and staging consultations to custom sewing and drapery. The fabric selection is incredible, with over 200 sample fabric books.
LuLu & Lavigne Home Studio
228 Locke Street South