From the Spring 2020 issue of Maple
By Sara Harowitz | Photos courtesy of Kate Duncan and Sundays
On the world stage of furniture greats, the Italians shine. So do the Japanese. And don't forget the Danish or our neighbours to the south. But in Canada, designers are shaping their own path with their own distinct prowess—think natural materials that bring a touch of our famed outdoors into our homes, and neutral tones that pair well with our laidback, come-as-you-are attitudes. This exciting new crop of furniture brands proves that you don't have to shop outside our borders to find quality, ingenuity, and style. Here are three of note.
Kate Duncan, who founded her eponymous furniture line in Vancouver and is now based in Toronto, first fell in love with woodworking in high school—and her passion hasn't waned since. With a focus on beautiful, natural, high-quality woods, Duncan's pieces let their materials (and their craftsmanship) take centre stage.
Particularly striking is her latest collection's Ribbed Writing Desk, which is created out of solid North American hardwoods. A nod to the Brutalist architecture of the 1970s and '80s, the desk employs skilled joinery techniques to create its gorgeous, playful base: a thick column of dowels on the left, and a straight wall of dowels on the right. A leather veneer top and a drawer fitted with a pencil tray and leather veneer bottom complete the look, which is somehow both unique and familiar. With pandemic life prompting many of us to turn our living rooms or our second bedrooms into our offices, this desk comes at the perfect time. As each piece is made to order, customers are able to select their preferred type of wood, leather colour, even dimensions—a truly made-in-Canada product that will elevate even the most tired work-from-home routine.
Vancouver-based Sundays was founded on a simple principle: direct-to-consumer furniture should be as stylish as it is affordable (and as comfortable as Sunday morning). Combining mid-century modern codes with a proudly contemporary flourish, Sundays designs are trendy, to be sure—but they are also creative and casual. And they are destined to become classics.
Take, for example, the Movie Night Modular Sofa. Designed as an adult choose-your-own-adventure, this cloudlike couch comes in mix-and-match options to fit any and every living room. The frame is intentionally low and deep, meaning you can truly sink into its cushions and relax with the family from day to night. It comes in an array of inviting neutral hues, such as Gentle Rain (sleet grey) and Light Pebble (soft beige)—and also comes in a smaller, more apartment-friendly version specifically created for compact living spaces. Stain-resistant fabric, feather-fibre blend cushions, and removable and reversible covers mean this piece is functional, too; it isn't your grandma's plastic-covered sofa. It's meant to be lived in and lived on. It's meant for real life. Sundays-company.com
Perhaps most familiar among this trio is EQ3, a brand that has earned a place among big-name contemporaries such as CB2 and West Elm. Based in Winnipeg, EQ3 is decidedly contemporary, but it doesn't sacrifice comfort or class. Offering a wide selection of products—from tables and rugs to dishware and lamps—the brand's showrooms make for a delightful weekend browse.
EQ3's Climb Ladder with metal gables and finger-jointed oak shelves is a worthy option if looking to increase or upgrade your home's on-display storage. Customizable based on height, shelf size, gable colour, and shelf finish, the Climb is an easy and fashionable way to add some subtle personality to living rooms, offices, even bedrooms. Its sturdy ladder construction offers ample opportunities for styling your books and ceramics, perhaps accented with EQ3's softly triangular Glub Lamp: a dimmable and portable light that emits a soft glow to set the mood.
Your home is an expression of who you are—your tastes, passions, and views of the world—as such, buying furniture from a Canadian brand makes a statement: one that signals your love for your home. It's the anthem of the true north strong, free, and well designed.
Eq3.comSara Harowitz lives in East Vancouver. She studied journalism at Ryerson University and has written for publications including The Globe And Mail, Toronto Star, NationalPost.com and Montecristo magazine. She has a very large magazine collection and thinks about Mexican food way too often.