When I left my job at the magazines last year, I left a lot of amazing people. But around that time and since, so many seems to have left to pursue another passion, just like I did. So I was surprised, but also not surprised, to walk into a stylish new shop on College St. in Toronto and find my ex-coworker running things. Liz Ikiriko and I didn’t have enough opportunities to work together at the magazines, but whenever our paths crossed, it was always a pleasure. Her creativity was evident in her work there too, but I was so excited to see her new outlet, a vintage housewares and decor store that was perfectly styled and cozy at once. I coveted enough things on my first visit that I had to start snapping pictures to take home and narrow down my picks (there’s a stunning silver seltzer bottle that belongs on my bar).
The serving pieces you own need to serve a purpose and I think one of those is to make the experience of cooking, eating and entertaining more pleasurable. I admired Liz’s eye for choosing lovely items in so many different styles, and for the beautiful tableaus she created throughout the store to display them. I asked her to share a little about her thoughts on entertaining and how she picks her gorgeous finds.
I hope it inspires you, whether to set a beautiful table for friends or to build a beautiful plate of food for one.
Does what you love to eat or how you eat with friends and family affect the pieces you buy?
Absolutely! I’m not that into formal/delicate/precious dining. I’m happiest when I get to share cooking with friends/family. I gravitate towards foods that are simple, casual, fun and tasty. So I think I approach the kitchen items I source the same way. I look for unique, sometimes quirky items and/or things that feel like they’re meant to become fixtures in your home.
What catches your eye when it comes to pieces for kitchen or table? Does your taste change or is it consistent?
I’d say that I’m not consistently into just one focus of kitchenwares. I definitely think in terms of styles so for instance, I’ll get caught up in 70’s pottery and will spend a month just sourcing organic shaped vintage stoneware pieces and then the next month I’ll focus on blue willow, english granny styles. I like to mix it up.
Do these pieces reflect your personal dining style? Would they appear on your everyday dinner table or if you invited people over?
They do. Unfortunately, I bring the best to the shop so what I have at home is a bit hodge podge. We keep things pretty simple at home. I have a lot of my grandparents kitchenwares that hold a lot of great memories so that keeps me happy in the kitchen. My biggest influence/ideal is this insanely beautiful photography/cookbook – called Breakfast Lunch and Tea at the Rose Bakery. You can pick it up at Good Egg in Kensington. Its my dream inspiration for my home kitchen.
Do you have a favourite piece either in the store or at home? Are there any pieces you’ve had your eye on for the store or for your home?
I can’t part with the vintage Le Creuset when I find them! I’m always crossing my fingers that I’ll find them in some dusty old thrift shop in the middle of nowhere. And I’ve been collecting Dansk pots as well but I think those might make there way to the shop. I’m really into the farmhouse kitchen feel. I’m also a big nerd about coffee so I always like collecting coffee paraphanalia. I’m always hunting for one of these.
You have a great eye for beautiful pieces and the tableaus you set up to display make them even more attractive. Any advice for people setting a table or enhancing their cooking or dining space?
I just like pulling out a lot of items and testing out a few options. My hubby’s the opposite – he has a very visual mind so he’ll plan everything before he does anything. But I need to lay something on the table and then play around with options till it feels right. I tend to try to start with a few anchor pieces and then fill in with hits of colour or pattern. As I said before – I’m always thinking in terms of themes so I’ll aim to put together a little bright summer picnic tableau or a rustic cottage setting or a pretty french country kitchen theme. I’ve kind of set up the shop that way. It was too overwhelming to style the whole place so I just started laying out little pocket size scenes.
The Arthur is located at 550A College St. in Toronto.