Looking for a contemporary sofa, a circa 1960s teak hutch from Norway or an arborite kitchen table? Winnipeg’s Exchange District is home to some of the city’s top home-decor boutiques and design houses stocking new and refurbished furniture.
The district, which is within walking distance of downtown, is home to block after block of turn-of-the-twenthieth-century architecture and is the most extensive collection of preserved buildings in North America. It is also home base for the city’s unrivaled arts community, including numerous art galleries and theatres as well as annual festivals like July’s Winnipeg Fringe Festival and the TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival. It also happens to be Winnipeg’s design and decor mecca.
Dane Kofoed knew what he wanted to sell: sleek modern furniture that couldn’t be found anywhere else in Winnipeg. Kofoed and his partner opened HutK in December, 2011 on Princess Street in a expansive and sunlight space that was formerly a print shop. At HutK, the stock of sofas, chairs, tables and lighting fixtures can best be described as minimalist, modern and urban with plenty of wow factor. A wall of chairs, suspended on a floor-to-ceiling feature wall makes great use of the expansive space and best displays a large and growing selection of designer seats.
HutK is the exclusive Winnipeg retailer of Blu Dot, a Minneapolis-based modern furniture design firm. They also carry Emeco (the well-known aluminum US Navy chair made from 111 repurposed Coke bottles), Tom Dixon lighting and Bensen, a Vancouver-based furniture design company, among other lines.
Interior Illusions is a one-stop shop for interior designers and home owners alike. The polished showroom features deep and delicious leather chairs, sectional sofas, divine duvets on top of inviting beds, large-scale objects d’art, fringed wool throws and statement pieces like tables made from reclaimed tree trunks. Designers, contractors and home owners can also source countertops, flooring, fabrics, window and wall coverings from Interior Illusions’ extensive library of materials. The company even custom-makes window coverings and bedding from hundreds of fabrics in its collection.
Around the block at Hoopers, Danish furniture from the 1950s and 60s decorate an airy and elegant showroom. Simple and sleek lines, deep-toned teak and colour-saturated upholstery take shoppers back in time inside the McDermot Avenue store. Or maybe it’s a trip across the ocean, to a Scandinavian furniture warehouse.
Hoopers started as a vintage clothing store and, in the past two years, has transformed primarily into a furniture store. Many of the tables, chairs, hutches and sofas may be more than 60-years-old but they are immaculately refurbished and preserved. The owner goes on major overseas buying trips a couple of times a year and ships back huge containers full of furniture to sell locally. (Hoopers, Interior Illusions and HutK will all ship product to customers.)
Despite having a rather narrow storefront (hence the 1/2), 84 1/2 simply can’t be missed. This eclectic storefront in the Exchange District is bursting with unique pieces of art and furniture, specializing in 20th century furnishings and design from around the globe. Here, you can find everything from wooden salt and pepper shakers from Finland to vintage toucan lamps to teak armchairs by Grete Jalk for Glostrup Movelfabrik.
Blue Moon Furniture
At the heart of things, Blue Moon is essentially a creative hub which happens to specialize in luxury furnishings. In the community, Blue Moon is a venue for film premieres, special events and Nuit Blanche. Their carefully curated furnishings is the cumulative effort of a worldwide network of craftspeople and skilled individuals. Aesthetically, Blue Moon designs with themes of nature, the showroom featuring sculptural fluid pieces such as free flowing sofas, live edge tables and the use of reclaimed woods.
The highest level of design for outdoor furniture comes to fruition at BauKorb, a unique addition to the Exchange District’s furnishing landscape. Design, service, comfort and quality are at top of mind with each and every piece, and it shows. The design team at BauKorb combines the forms and lines of European design with the larger, comfortable scale that is favoured in North America. The result is highly durable, attractive outdoor furniture that can’t be found anywhere else in the city.