When we think of shopping local, we tend to think of the little things. The local farmers market. That boutique down the road. The woman on your street who knits those beautiful scarves around the holidays.
But did you know that shopping local can be applied to all sorts of bigger purchases and projects as well? As a longtime Vancouver interior designer, I actually spend quite a bit of time shopping local for my interior design and renovation projects. The reason?
Vancouver has some of the most amazing local craftspeople and artisans!
For those that live in the Vancouver area, whether you know it or not, you are surrounded by some of the most incredible creators in the world. Folks crafting custom artwork, décor, fabrics, furniture, rugs, and even cabinetry. And it’s all right here in this amazing city we call home!
In the spirit of celebrating this city and the amazing talent within, I thought it was about time to show my readers exactly how you can shop local for your next interior design project. Below is a list of some of my top tips for finding great local creators, as well as a few of my personal favorites.
Finding Locally-Made Furniture
Vancouver is home to some of the world’s most talented furniture makers. Many of the shops that call Vancouver home play homage to the industrial heritage and natural wonders that made this city, with raw, rustic looks using local materials. Though that’s not to say there isn’t a variety of styles being made right here in the city. In fact, Vancouver-made furniture can be found in all types of design settings in countries around the globe!
Here are a few of best makers crafting custom furniture in Vancouver:
Union Wood Co.
Founded in 2009, Union Wood Co. creates high-quality, handmade furniture pieces from reclaimed Canadian wood. Their team scours demolitions sites and abandoned buildings, looking for pieces of raw wood that have a story to tell, and that they can refinish into a masterpiece.
Their work is raw, honest, and inspirational, and they offer a variety of styles that would fit any home or commercial project.
Learn more: https://unionwoodco.com/
Opened in 1990, Bombast has called Vancouver home for nearly three decades. The company focuses on classic, modernist inspired bench furniture, including sofas, daybeds, tables, chairs, cabinets, and more.
The Bombast team is decidedly anti-trends – meaning they shun the idea of shipping production overseas like most manufacturers. Instead, they continue to craft their works of art right here in Vancouver.
Learn more: https://bombastfurniture.com/
J&S Custom Furniture Co.
Established in 2012, J&S Furniture Co. is a full service custom furniture production shop located right in Vancouver, on the banks of the Fraser River. The team relies primarily on salvaged wood for its projects, taking pride in turning what would otherwise be discarded into a timeless piece of Canadian furniture.
In addition to all the great pieces of furniture J&S crafts, they also create lots of wonderful, smaller design pieces that serve as perfect accents in any home.
Learn more: http://jsreclaimedwood.com/
How to Shop Local for Décor & Accent Pieces
While the internet has made it easier than ever to browse page after page of décor and accent pieces and have them shipped right to your door from some massive warehouse, I find it much more fun to get out and find these pieces locally across the city. Not only does it help to see a piece in person (as online photos often do not tell the whole story), but it also allows me to connect with the community, and find the items that speak to me.
Antique and thrift stores are plentiful across Vancouver, and are often a great place to start when you’re looking for those last bits and pieces to really tie a room together. Find a few places near you and get to know the owners and managers. Learn about how and when pieces come in, so that you can always be one of the first to see new inventory when it arrives. Make a routine out of visiting these types of local stores, and you’ll soon find yourself swimming with amazing pieces that tell amazing stories for your designs.
Browsing “Shop Local” Events
In addition to scouring for individual shops and showrooms, Vancouver has a great variety of festivals and events dedicated to showcasing talent from across the city. These events are perfect places to meet a whole lot of local décor artisans all at once, as well as fellow “shop local” enthusiasts who are often delighted to share some of their favorite local makers and showroom tips.
PortoBello West is a series of annual events running out of various venues across the city. Check out their website for more information: https://portobellowest.com/
Still not sure where to get started with shopping local for home décor and furniture? Then I suggest you ease into the process by visiting one or two of the most well-known areas of Vancouver for local artisans: Granville Island and Gastown.
For those who don’t know, Granville Island houses one of the city’s densest collection of local artisans. While not everything on the island is made in Vancouver (and the island itself can be pretty touristy at times), there is still a wonderful collection of local makers to meet. In particular, be sure to check out those working out of the Net Loft and along Railspur Alley, as both offer an amazing collection of local creators.
One of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Gastown houses a great stretch of local shops. While much of this selection is based around fashion, there is still a great deal of home décor and design shops run by local talent. Just pick a nice day and head on down for an afternoon of strolling. You’ll never know what unique gems you can expect to find here!
When you live in a city that is filled to the brim with amazing talent, it’s important to celebrate and support it by shopping local. Vancouver is bursting with incredible creators designing all sorts of amazing pieces that can take your next interior design project to the next level. So, before you begin your next Vancouver interior design or renovation, remember to think and shop local!