The Art Of Home

In Design, Family-friendly, Local Outings
February in Ontario is a time of winter doldrums. Finally the days are getting longer and the snow is melting, but our children are stir crazy, the fruit and vegetable stand is still slim pickings, and we’ve watched every episode produced of Peppa Pig (when Moo is awake) and Making of a Murderer (when Moo is not awake). Spring could not come soon enough. Believe it or not, now is the time to embrace life at home.

This week we will be looking at the theme of “home” and how design plays a role in the space you spend so much of your life within. Today we’re focusing on the unparalleled The Art of Home store in Galt, Cambridge, our favourite local home decor shop.

We’ve been to the shop about a half dozen times over the past year. We originally wandered in after going to Monigram Coffee across the parking lot (who we invited to speak at Paris Lectures) and Moo fell in love with their all-white cuckoo clock. As expected the clock chimes on the hour, making a big presentation of itself that absolutely delights a two-year-old, so of course we came back again and again, timing our arrival with the top of the hour to catch a glimpse of that theatrical little bird.

But each time we returned and had a closer look around, the shop revealed to us another layer of curation. We came to appreciate the design sensibilities that go into balancing the shop’s vintage aesthetic with modernity and its expressions of creativity with the utilitarianism a home demands. We also returned again and again to their wonderful kids section.

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Although at first glance the merchandise can appear to be of-a-kind, the range of offerings is truly impressive. Items are playful but useful, trendy but classic, colourful as well as sophisticated. Each handpicked product – children’s books and toys, greeting cards, jewelry, homewares and linens – is clearly chosen because it shares ideals with other products in the shop. But the variety of stock means it’s also easy to find something within your desired budget.

We spoke to Pamela and Laura, two sisters who run the shop with their mother Joanne, and curiously they did not consider themselves designers. We find this curious because so much of design is curation. In the beginning of a graphic design project, for example, we sift through typefaces, images and copy to find the right words and images before we can even imagine editing or creating anything. It’s a huge part of the process!

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In any case, we think these women are absolutely designers, and perhaps their humility makes them the best kind.

In some sense, we are all designers – especially of our own homes, whether intentionally or not, making interior design one of the most accessible kinds of design there is. We choose our bedding, what to hang on our walls, and what books to decorate our shelves. Why not fill our homes with items we absolutely love? Things that inspire us and make us feel good. These are always the feelings we come away with when we visit The Art of Home.

Next time you’re in or around Cambridge Ontario, if you’re looking for a gift for a child or an adult or trying to find a splash of something to liven up your own home, we encourage you to stop in and say hello to Pamela, Laura and Joanne. We love a good design shop – especially one that is family-run – and this one is well worth the visit to find that unique something.

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