There's no better bet for finding that downsized sofa bed, quirky art lamp or finishing-touch home accessory than King Street East.
The stretch from Jarvis to beyond Parliament is downtown's most furniture-saturated. Retailers large and small are ready to turn your personalityless abode into a high-design show home.
Fuel up first at local breakfast/brunch gem Morning Glory (457 King East, 416-703-4728), whose knotty pine tables and floral-upholstered church pews fill up daily with lunchers and brunchers wanting their egg fix or signature sandwich concoction. The Jim Davison is a crunchy combo of green apple, bacon and cheddar on toasted Dijon-slathered sourdough. Pork abstainers can grab a cup of daily soup and a classic grilled cheese and tomato.
Morning Glory shares its east-of-Parliament block with stylish stationer MiMa Design (400 King East, 416-423-0679, www.mimadesign.com). Leigh Cook and Lidia Oliveira 's collection of notebooks, paper stock and envelopes are fashioned from vintage washed-out wallpaper in floral, paisley and damask prints.
Raise your paddle next door at Ritchies auction house (380 King East, 416-364-1864) and log on to www. ritchies.com for a info on upcoming bidding ops.
The Studio B Home (334 King East, 416-868-6686) warehouse at the corner of King and Parliament signals your arrival in King East's home design heartland. A maze of interconnected studios are loaded with the Baker line of fuss-free classics, contemporary Barbara Barry pieces and modern outdoor loungers and stackable torpedo-shaped dining sets by Dedon. Downstairs, the Plan B showroom focuses on playful seating, lighting and accessories for design collectors.
The neighbourhood was shocked when bankruptcy forced trailblazing retailer UpCountry to close its doors at the beginning of October. Sales quickly stripped the gorgeous showroom of its wenge wood furniture and collections of vintage globes and brass trophies.
Flower shop Quince (571 Adelaide East, 416-594-1414), which shared the UpCountry space, continues to operate with limited hours Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm.
If you need to soothe your sense of design loss, hop down the street to Italinteriors (359 King East, 416-366-9540). Stark Boffi kitchens and furniture by Cassina, Flexform and Molteni & C. express a distinctively Italian aesthetic.
Across the road, a life-sized matte black horse wearing a lampshade on its head stares back at window-shoppers wandering by the Klaus By Nienk'mper store (300 King East, 416-362-3434). The Moooi piece shares floor space with other star designer wares by names like Marcel Wanders and Philippe Stark. If the 71-inch Ingo Maurer XXL Dome lamp extending across the six-level shop's entrance is a little big for your stamp-sized floor plan, pick up an Arzberg espresso cup printed with Thonet wicker-back chairs.
Or head down the block to Roomy (232 King East). Joanna Kakkavas drops terms like "multi-functional," "small-space-friendly" and "expandable" into conversations about her five-year-old store. She was on the cutting edge of the modular furniture market that grew with the boom in shoebox apartments. It shows in her lineup of smart sofa beds, closet systems and convertible pieces.
Wings appear from beneath Roomy's Phoenix console, turning it into an ample-sized dining table. Downsized couches can still fold out into double beds. Kakkavas and her team can consult on your decor scheme, and they offer turnkey packages to furnish every puny pad from top to bottom.
The King and Sherbourne corner is home to a host of easy dining and drinking spots. George Brown kids crowd the bar at Betty's (240 King East, 416-368-1300), while Toba (243 King East, 416-367-8622) and Veritas (236 King East, 416-363-8447) quickly fill up with after-workers.
Past EQ3 's (222 King East, 416-815-2002) Ikea-alternative fast furniture and Montauk 's (220 King East, 416-361-0331) gallery of downy white sofas, turn north on Jarvis to find Ma Zone (63 Jarvis, 416-868-0330). Owner Armin Martiros is known for his bold taste in hyper-coloured accessories. This season, fall home fashion's love of metallics, smoky shades and black has been mixed in with kooky goodies from Leonardo, Koziol, Alessi, Iittala and Ritzenhoff.
Further up Jarvis, the neighbourhood's newest entry is Filter (75 Jarvis, 647-428-7265), sister store to west-end vintage mecca Queen West Antique Centre (1605 Queen West, 416-588-2212). The east-end incarnation sells an edited mix of weathered accessories and collectibles like a brown leather Barcelona bench and a pair of George Nelson coconut chairs.