In Family-friendly, Local Outings
Since we bought a big empty house in Paris just over a year ago, one of our most frequent haunts in the area has been Southworks Antiques in Cambridge, Ontario.

In furnishing our new house (woefully still half empty) we’ve spent a lot of energy adopting a mindset toward investing in our long-term family home and shifting away from the temporary stance of “We never know how long we’re going to be here so let’s just buy IKEA” (which for us was due to being uncertain of our immigration status for several years). We still buy cheap and cheerful, but with less and less time for “projects” we’ve had to become more assiduous in our purchases.

Nevertheless, we enjoy a good wander.

We love the uniqueness of each and every find in a place like Southworks. You never know the exact history of each object, but you know it’s layered into the woodwork, underneath varnish and paint, leaving an almost tangible residue of stories. No one else will have the exact same piece. And each combination of pieces comes together to create our own style in our home.

We are inspired to fill our house with meaningful pieces that we love and that will last many, many years. We like pieces that have been hand-hewn or long-loved. It’s hard to do that just going to Leon’s – though there’s a time and place for that as well – so we have spent many, many hours at antiques shows and fairs, our favourite regular stop being Southworks.

So far we have bought two big pieces there, a large, early 1900s Scottish art nouveau cabinet and an antique barrister’s filing cabinet. What has been funny about these purchases is that despite their history, their maturity as design objects, and their quality, they didn’t really mean much until we began using them.

Hardy Boys and Mason Jars
Hardy Boys and Mason Jars. Stories and jars of stories.

The cabinet we filled with Moo’s toys. Toys from her first and second birthdays celebrated in this house. Toys inherited from new friends we’ve made since moving to Paris. She swings open the cabinet doors and pulls her favorite things out onto the rug. It means something now that we have our own history with it. The filing drawers, too, were just a pretty piece of furniture in the library until we began placing objects from our early relationship inside – letters from our first Valentine’s Day together, handmade chalkboard signs from our wedding – building a library of our past.

Back during our stay in Florida, Cass’ grandma turned 90. Her home, where we stayed, was filled with 60+ years of collecting furniture, objects, memories. As much as we rush into furnishing our new place, trying to make it ours, perhaps the missing ingredient is simply time.

Southworks is a great place to kill time, with a toddler or without. And if you have been looking for the perfect, hand-carved wooden cheeky skiier, now you know where to find it.


  1. A pleasant break for a few minutes this morning. Thanks. georgio.

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