One thing I love to do is shop. It is part of my job, a hobby, a favorite pastime, an adventure of sorts. I have always been drawn to little out of the way shops that carry unique items, or antiques, or even better--a mix of both! Before I was married, I’d head out to St. Jacobs, or Burlington or to TJMaxx in the States (before Marshalls or Homesense ever existed in Canada) and shop to my heart’s content. I still have treasures and memories of those years because many of those purchases have fun stories attached to them! I call it “Destination Shopping” because now that life is busier, and it is harder to get out to do these sorts of adventures, I make a point to get to some fabulous home decor shops and still enjoy this ritual as much as I am able.
Now that businesses have taken such a hit with Lockdowns over the last year, to me it is more important than ever to support these small businesses and I do all I can to make my purchases (for myself, my clients, or for gifts) from somewhere other than Amazon or Wayfair or some other “chain” home décor shops. It doesn’t mean that I never visit, but I find that there is so much more that comes from these independently owned treasures. More service, more one-of-a-kind-items, more selection, more friendly shop owners, and more soul enriching joy that comes from every visit! It is these moments that inspire the destination shopping and create memories that bring me back again and again.
I have always loved to support local, and now more than ever I am making the conscious choice to work with the independently owned businesses over the retail chains. Don’t get me wrong…I love Homesense, Hudson’s Bay, Bed Bath and Beyond and my local Ikea (to name a few) …but at the same time they offer more generic home decor selections. I can usually spot the Ikea in any magazine article. I have found that going to Homesense has proven less and less inspiring as it all kinda looks the same after a while. Hudson’s Bay does carry the Brian Gluckstein Collection so that is a big draw, and Bed Bath and Beyond only works in a pinch…for only certain things. American companies do offer a lot more in the home decor shopping front, but for most of my clients, they aren’t interested in the extra shipping charges that come along with it! Oh, how I wish Canada had some better options!!!
So…I thought I’d write a post sharing some independently owned home decor shops that are one of a kind, wonderful gems that make for great destination shopping adventures! Let me encourage you to get out there and not only enjoy shopping somewhere new but add these fantastic home decor shops to your destination shopping list…because if you didn’t have one before, you will now!!
It doesn’t have to be a day-long trip (if it is, that's not a bad thing either!), but maybe you meet up with a friend close by for coffee, and then shop together or tack on a few minutes to something else you have to do in the area. These shops are worth a bit of an extra drive and are definitely places that you will love to visit again and again! Let’s get started, shall we?
This lovely shop has a great mix of items for both the home and garden. Pictures, lamps, entertaining pieces, gifts, cushions, accessories--you can find so many wonderful wares at this great out-of-the-way shop! A friend of mine told me about this, and as my Car Mechanic is about 5 minutes away from their location between Ancaster and Brantford, I will often stop by when I am done with my vehicle and just b-r-o-w-s-e.
Their style is classic and yet modern, with lots of black and metals. If you like more of a masculine look or industrial styled pieces, then this is the spot to find it! There are rustic tables right alongside sleek clocks and fabulous artwork; dishes, and glasses, and cushions and throws give you lots of inspiration for amping up your accessories, and the garden area is filled with beautiful pots and urns and bistro sets. There is eye-candy galore and you will be SO happy to have found this gem! To get an idea of all their home-goodness, feel free give them a follow on Instagram and Facebook or better yet, get on their mailing list to be notified of new items coming in!
2 McBay Rd, Brantford ON
INSTA: @urban.cottage (Image Source)
Home Sweet Home Decor
If you are headed out Grimsby way, you will definitely want to stop in at this BRAND-NEW home decor shop in the Downtown area on Main Street. I met the owner Carol, and she is so excited about this new store, putting her heart and soul into getting it running—brave to do during a Pandemic! Home Sweet Home Decor has been open since early July and celebrated their soft opening just this past weekend. What will you find here?
- Gorgeous Lighting…check.
- Vintage inspired artwork…check.
- Great gift ideas…check.
- Farmhouse-inspired Accent furniture pieces…check.
- Beautiful cushions…check.
Honestly, there are so many great little things in this shop that you have to go around at least a couple of times to see it all (unless, of course, you peruse their wares online as they have a shop there too)! As Home Sweet Home Decor is in its baby stages, I know it will only get better and better with time…so stop in and say hello and add this to your Designation Shopping bucket list!
Home Sweet Home Decor
1 Main Street East, Grimsby
INSTA:@homesweethomedecorandgifts (Image Source)
Bird & Bee Vintage
I came across this sweet Vintage Shop and was smitten with their products from day one! After following them on their social channels and seeing all of the Vintage (or vintage-inspired) jewelry, clothing for men and women, shoes, antique objets, decorative items, posters, etc. I decided I HAD to go and visit to see it in person. So, for my birthday a couple of years ago I convinced my husband to take me to this little shop and we spent the afternoon in downtown Paris, Ontario.
Bird & Bee Vintage is located in the Wincey Mills Co Market and is one of many other retailers selling everything from cheese to original artwork to handmade soap to olive oil. It is a perfect Destination Shopping location and very close by to the Paris downtown strip which is also filled with other cute home decor shops and restaurants to liven up your day. If you love old things as much as I do, then this is a must-see local shop you won’t want to miss because they have SUCH unique items (and be sure to check out their online shop too)!
Bird & Bee Vintage
Wincey Mills Co Market
31 Mechanic Street, Paris
INSTA: @birdandbeevintage (Image Source)
Penney & Co.
If you watch the Marilyn Dennis Show, then you may recognize the owner of Penney & Co-Michael Penney-as he makes frequent guest appearances to inspire homeowners with a mix of old and new pieces and decorating ideas. He started off working as an Intern at House & Home Magazine, then worked with Sarah Richardson for a bit, and eventually began a retail store in Oshawa, Ontario.
Last year he moved to Port Hope and brought the store along with him. It isn’t often that I am out on that side of Toronto, but as we had a family friend getting married in that area, I once again brought my husband along as I was determined to get to this store! (Thankfully he willingly goes along with me on my shopping adventures from time to time.) Every time I would watch one of Michael’s segments on Marilyn Denis or see his work in a magazine, I always loved his style that was relaxed, yet vintage-y, and also comfortable and approachable.
Needless to say, I absolutely LOVED his shop. To pieces. And wished he was a lot closer as I’d make stopping in a regular thing! He carries furniture—from sofas, to beds, to armchairs and more. He finds vintage fabrics and makes cushions, and also sells some of his antique finds as well. He has old things, and new things, classy things, and cottage-y things. He carries linens, and women’s clothing, and lovely jewelry. He carries a huge selection of Vintage Jadeite--dishes, bowls, cake stands, pitchers, and so many other pieces that are in a beautiful, distinctive soft shade of green. He has aprons and tablecloths and lots of kitchen items. He has refreshed furniture pieces that have been upcycled and carries Fusion paint so you can do it too! And he is the nicest guy…we had a lovely conversation before I left.
*Sigh* That was a good day!
The great thing is you can also purchase items right off his website! So, head on over and take a look at all of the good things he offers. Michael is also a big supporter of the shop local, shop small initiative so know that there are also a ton of other great home decor shops nearby to check out too!
Penney & Co
51 Walton Street, Port Hope
INSTA: @penneyandcompany (Image Source)
Vintage Charm Home
If you are local to Hamilton, then you will be familiar with the Locke Street shops and restaurants, and Vintage Charm Home is one of the newest additions to the street! I have spoken of this shop in past blog posts, as they were previously located on James Street North, but since they have made the move to Locke Street, the owners have expanded their home decor as well as personal items that they carry to make them an even better place to shop (in person or online)!
If you love the tone-on-tone vibe and neutral boho look for your space, then Vintage Charm home is the place you want to start your shopping. Nubby cushions, Macrame, Turkish towels, baskets, little pots perfect for plants, throws and rustic pieces abound. There are candles, vases, prayer beads, and trays of various sizes.
If you’d rather purchase something for yourself, Vintage Charm carries a few lines of jewelry made in Canada as well as a fair-trade line with some really unique pieces! Rompers from Smash and Tess look oh-so-cozy, and bags and scarves are available too. Locke Street has always been a Destination Shopping area for many locals, so if you haven’t been in a while, make sure you head on over and take a look! You can thank me later (wink, wink)!
162 Locke Street South, Hamilton
INSTA: @vintagecharmhome (Image Source)
On a recent visit to Elora, I was on vacation and determined to fit in some mom and daughter shopping time (a request from my middle child that I had no problem accommodating)! As we strolled through the downtown streets looking at all the great places to stop in, the shop that made the top of our list was Honeychurch Lane. If you are a lover of china dishes, silver pieces, blue and white, or anything of that nature, this is a MUST for you! There are actually two sister shops (one focuses on interiors), each carrying slightly different types of pieces, but both stores are gorgeous and so fun to wander around!
My seven-year-old found a lovely pair of Swarovski earrings that I know she will treasure, so of course mom had to follow through and buy a pair as well! In truth, if I had the space, I would have come home with more as there were so many beautiful dishes, vintage linens, knobs and hardware, trays, and silverware that I was drooling over. These old yet classic pieces add elegance and style to any space and make everyday living feel like a special occasion.
In addition to all this vintage goodness, they also carry Farrow and Ball paint and the Fusion Line that works great for upcycled furniture and all the accessories needed for your painting project. There are colorful taper candles, and so many other goodies that makes this home decor shop stand out from the rest!
Honeychurch Lane & Interiors
65 & 123 Metcalfe Street, Elora
INSTA: @honecychurchinteriors (Image Source)
My Back Shed
This next shop located on Lakeshore in Oakville is next on my to-be-visited list. My Back Shed is an updated version of the Shabby Chic style, with the focus definitely being on the “chic”! She often scours local antique markets and up-cycles furniture pieces in creamy paint colors, giving them new life. Soft shades of pinks, and golds, and grays, and creams satisfy the feminine side of decorating incorporating everything from cushions to faux florals, to mirrors, and so many gorgeous decorative pieces it will be hard to choose! I love watching her Instagram shop tour videos where she shows her newest arrivals-especially during lockdown when we couldn’t be there in person.
The other part of the store is more of a “back room” area where she has pieces that are just waiting for a makeover. Honestly, just the possibility of seeing a room with gorgeous antiques ready and waiting for a new home sends tingling happiness through my creative mind!
This shop is perfect for those who love candles, ruffles, beaded and tasseled things (there are the cutest baskets that I have my eyes on), florals, and decorative accessories with a bit of glamour and a bit of rustic all working together in visual harmony. It’s just plain PRETTY…and I can’t wait to visit!
My Back Shed
2359 Lakeshore Rd. West, Oakville
INSTA: @mybackshed (Image Source)
Now these are just a smattering of places to visit and is by no means an all-inclusive list! Other home decor stores abound in small towns all over this area, including…
Stratford –Wills and Prior is one of my favorites, but they also have an amazing Kitchen store, a Chocolate Shop, and another shop that has so many unique new and old China and porcelain Dishware it’s dizzying!
Nearby Shakespeare also has the main street lined with a ton of Antique shops…if that is your sweet spot then you may want to give yourself time for a leisurely stroll.
St. Jacobs-There are the shops in the core but be sure to check out some of the Antique Markets that are just outside of town…so many wonderful treasures to discover.
Niagara-on-the-Lake--Another sweet spot for some great shopping! It’s been a while since my last visit but adding this locale to my Destination shopping list never disappoints!
I am hoping this small list of shopping Destinations has you itching to get on the road and discover not only some new independently owned home decor shops, but also some fantastic items to personalize your interiors. Create some new memories, have new conversation pieces, and have a grand old adventure that will not only make your shopping soul bubble over with joy, but it will also give these shop owners—who let’s face it have been given a pretty rough ride—some joy as well.
Who knows…maybe I’ll see you there!
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