Antique And Used Furniture Stores Near Me – That was Matthew Cromwell’s response when I asked him how he started his vintage and salvage shop in Junction 7 years ago. The founder of the demolition company M3C Demolition, Cromwell continued to search for pieces of furniture and other possibilities and ended up in his workplaces that he could not bear to see thrown away.
So I was saving things myself, and I would just keep it. I would bring it to a few other stores around the Junction, and other antique stores. Give it to them or try to sell it to them.. but it wasn’t really about the money. In the beginning it was more just to give things a second life, pretty much, and it just became a hobby. And then I needed an office space, this building came up for rent, and I decided to put my office in the back and have a shop front.
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The building that Cromwell lived in was at 390 Keele Street, in his old neighborhood of Crossroads, and he called it Art of Demolition, after the motto of his demolition company. Now the wonderful and beautiful things he saved had a home to pay for.
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The house has expanded a little over the years to take in the neighborhood store, and its selection of second-hand bad habits is regularly supplemented with new furniture – built from the wood of the demolition site.
We were working in Parkdale in the house and immediately we tore off all the plaster and lath down the family to see the wood and they loved the real old douglas fir and the beams that were in the house. So I suggested to them ‘Hey, I can make you a bench or something, so you have a piece of your old house that you can put in your new house.’ And they liked the idea, so that’s what we did. We built them a bench and table that they took back to their brand new modern home. So that’s how it started, for me, anyway. And we’ve just kind of kept going with it.
The’It’ Cromwell’s mentions fall into two categories: custom work, which you can order from Art of Destruction (and which will certainly involve salvaged materials), and furniture that he will custom-design from interesting salvage yards, and store in. shop.
I have a full time carpenter who works for me as well. So he’s in the shop, and we’ll sit down on Monday or Tuesday and brainstorm. He’s really creative, and we just encourage each other. We exchange ideas one-on-one, and then the next thing you know, we’re creating a table, or some design.
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The result of all this creativity born of destruction is a unique and wonderful assortment of furniture and a million bad habits. Drawer knobs, flags, vintage books, records, comics, magazines, toy cars and cash registers share space with more mundane pieces such as candlesticks, shelves, capitals and tables.
Of course, the wonderful and interesting collections of pre-owned are a bit of a special neighborhood now. Having known the area for a long time, Cromwell remembers when the Junction was a “slippery place”, but in recent years the pavement has been washed away by money and human activity, replaced by old seats and new lights.
There is another vintage and thrift store down the street from the Arts of Destruction, and there are several others on the corner of Dundas. The Crossroads area has a lot of antique furniture and other historical flotsam, and while some locals may be “sour-faced” when another antique shop opens, Cromwell doesn’t see them as anything more than rivals.
I think it brings people — like families and more people — to the neighborhood, if anything, because they hear about these great little shops around, so they tend to flock to the Junction to find these kinds of shops, because they know I’m here. So I think it brings more people around. Honestly, that’s what I believe.
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Some competition is inevitable, but it seems to be of a friendly kind – at least where Cromwell is concerned.
There’s a little bit of competition for sure, right, because a lot of people have the same things, but I’m open… Like, there’s Williams across the street from me, and Clayton [Clayton Williams, co-owner of Williams Design] and I’m friends, so if I had something like that, I would call him and let him know ‘Hey, I have thirty church pews that we’re saving’. He would tell me that he had them, he would let me know what he was selling them for so that I could match the price with him. Just so I wasn’t disrespecting him or anything like that. You can find everything from vintage spoons for $5 to a true hipster bike for $250
Having said that, shorting someone somewhere is sometimes hard to avoid when most of your stock is bought for free.
It’s hard for me to literally compare prices with everyone in the neighborhood because I’m basically getting a lot of stuff for free. It’s a free rescue. So I am more likely to negotiate the price of the product when it comes. There have been times when I have given people furniture. It’s hard for me to be like, asking these big numbers for something if I just took it from a house that we’re about to demolish.
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In addition to this relaxed approach to pricing, Art of Destruction also differs from its other Crossroads neighbors by focusing on the small and personal, as well as the large and wooden. Apparently, this place is often frequented by movie sets for people who ‘dress up’, and it’s easy to see why. When I visited, there was a collection the size of postcards and personal photographs – things that Cromwell always looks at.
I still haven’t got the whole thing about buying other people’s photos. But people love them. People love them and that’s definitely something that I look at. We have a lot of customers who come in and they like to read old letters – like I’ve got a whole bunch of letters from family. I think their husband and father were in the First World War, and he was a cook. And he kept a journal of what he was cooking and serving. I found his discharge papers and his journals, brought them, and a woman bought them all and took them to the museum. He loved it. He was like, in tears reading these things. And it was nice to get it. It was a lot of fun, but I’m glad he found his home too. Decorations from $75 a piece
Other notable items in Cromwell’s current collection include the original 1924 sign for the famous Queen Street deli, and a large Victorian-looking machine that I admired on my last visit. When I asked him about it, Cromwell told me that he had found Lindsey.
We were demolishing a warehouse. And there it was, just behind the warehouse, covered in dust… I didn’t know what it was. I just took it out, cleaned it, and I was like ‘This is so gnarly’…I looked it up, I couldn’t find anything on the internet.
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The secret device is eventually revealed to be an ancient electroconvulsive therapy machine, and Cromwell finds his age and irrepressible character.
I wasn’t even selling it at first. I was like ‘I’ll put it on the website’. I couldn’t bring it home.. But that’s the other thing too, about having that shop, is when I get things I get a connection with them. So I’m like ‘oh, that’s not for sale.’ I’m not selling because I want to enjoy it too, but I don’t want to disturb my house. So I go to the store and have all these neat things there.
To make your search through Toronto’s vintage and thrift stores easier, we’ve created a guide that includes our absolute favorites — with each shop a unique experience for a different style. Read the Guide to the Best Vintage and Second Hand Furniture Stores in Toronto! If your old furniture is too big, the wrong style, or no longer needed, here’s how to sell it in NYC. (Aleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images)
It’s a New York conundrum: The living room in your new apartment doesn’t have room for a pot, let alone the vintage paisley lounge you picked up at the Chelsea Flea Market last year. But it’s a lovely chair – and it might be worth a few bucks more than you paid. Whether that upholstered chair is a rare find or an antique, we’ve put together a guide on how to sell used, vintage, and vintage furniture in NYC.
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