With two small children and a taste for finer things, I have always been loyal to shopping with MacPherson Toy House since it opened in 2017. Owner Angie Lewis curates an impeccably thoughtful and tailored selection of heirloom-quality clothes, toys and books for children and their families. When needing more space and the time to move came along, Angie and I already had an established relationship that transformed into one where trust, mutual understanding and a shared design direction came naturally. As a result ABD was brought on to design and manage the renovation and design of the new location at 1062 Yonge.
The timeline was short… We got to work in May, (we only had 6 weeks for the design process) possession of the new location came in July and opening was scheduled for September. For this reason, it was fundamental that our visions matched and we stayed in tune with each other. I understand and relate to the mth brand so well, that it was easy for me to guide the project and stay true to Angie’s vision. Natural materials and a playful yet muted colour palette set the tone for the space which wanted to respect the environment and highlight the ethos of the brand while being mindful of the wear and tear a retail space is subject to.
The mth experience begins outside, and we wanted to create a true representation mth as you approach the building. There are a lot of subtleties at play here to create a warm, quiet and welcoming space with a sense of community. The soft, quiet colour of the building was informed by the interior. The warm brass details in the ceiling over the door and the custom open/closed sign welcome you to the space. While you open the door with a custom oak door handle (which replaced the previous cold stainless steel one), a large planter and custom bench foster and encourage community in this neighbourhood that values just that.
What I love about this space are the details and collaboration. The millworkers (we had two), metalworker and artists hands all contributed to the humanity of the space. The project is only as good as those involved and the trades on this project with their craftmanship, commitment and passion for their trade are evident in the finished product.
The biggest shift in the renovation process was moving the stairs to enable more display space. We flipped their direction to create one large space to showcase and highlight products and allowing for better flow. At the bottom of the stairs we had a custom rainbow mural painted in muted colours to add a light hearted moment… and from what I hear, customers love having their picture taken Infront of the mural which makes for an unexpected yet such a happy outcome.
When I walk through the shop or see photos, it looks so simple… but the details all coming together successfully take a lot of planning and organization. The design and layout is minimal, which makes the need for every measurement to be exact. In this retail space , we wanted to design to the conditions of the building so as not to highlight any inconsistencies. White oak wall mounted fixtures substituted for built ins due to both timeline and age of the building since they take less time to install and are more forgiving in older spaces.
There are so many little unique moments to speak of in this space, it truly is a pure representation of the vision of mth. It is a space filled with what it takes to inspire wonder and promise for those small impressionable human beings we are raising and I am proud to say that I was a part of it.