We had been following the Artefacts Facebook page for awhile and had been drawn in by not only their unique finds but by the personality in their posts. We thought we had to meet these guys.
When we showed up at the wooden warehouse a few customers were already there looking around, intently assessing antique columns, stained glass windows, hardware and fireplace mantels. The owner Scott, who co-founded Artefacts with Chris, and their employee Mitch were busy moving around large pieces of wood. Scott, wearing a Ganesh tshirt we’d seen online, greeted us with what seemed like characteristic energy. While he and Mitch worked we took the opportunity to look around.
Artefacts felt like a wonderland of rescued architectural remnants: aged and detailed gingerbread, windows and doors with cracked patina, tiles of unusual shapes and sizes – all pieces lovingly restored and cherished, whose original homes had been destroyed or remodeled with more modern features. They were the kinds of interesting things sourced by an artist, someone with a vision. They clearly would make excellent design features but also serve a purpose as building blocks themselves, becoming the foundational materials of entire rooms or buildings.
Later, we were grateful Scott took some time to share his personal history, which intertwined with the start of the business. Thirty years ago he recognized that Toronto was becoming built-up, and that he wanted to leave before he got trapped in a big city. So he bought a house in downtown Kitchener and has been there ever since. The business has been housed in this warehouse, which currently sits in front of a railway equipment restoration shop, for eleven years.
While Mitch sorted and matched antique door handles, Scott told us about Ruby Begonia, the placid dog comfortably watching customers from her bed underneath a table, and how she was named after a bar on Adelaide Street in the 60s. He also shared his Northern Irish heritage and reminisced about his two years off as a stay-at-home dad spent going on adventures with his daughter. The sense of nostalgia and playfulness was catching.
And now we know – next time we need a distinct piece for a room or the feeling of antiquity to tie pieces together, we know where we’ll be going.