In the heart of Osborne Village, the Village Antique Mall is a virtual wonderland for the vintage shopper.
Six different vendors, each specializing in different eras and different kinds of collectibles, have set up shop in the former home of the Dutch Maid Ice Cream parlour.
Together they offer an eclectic array of old stuff -- traditional fine furniture, a room full of chinaware, retro dishes and cooking gadgets, vintage clothing from the '20s through to '60s, an incredible selection of jewelry, kitschy knick-knacks and novelty items from the '50s, '60s and '70s, and French country-style decor items.
Ingrid Pearson, who came up with the idea, says the mall has become a popular spot for a diverse crowd. Young people are picking up funky retro items as gifts and searching for interesting pieces to furnish their apartments. Cottagers are browsing the French country-style items for their cabins, and the serious antique shoppers are also stopping by. Her entire display of vintage teak furniture sold in the first month!
The shabby chic style has also found a home on the other side of Osborne, at Simplify.
If you have watched decorating guru Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic TV show, or seen well-worn, comfy, refurbished furniture in home magazines, you know the look.
"It's about comfortable, functional items. It is a mix of old and new," explains Kim Collins, who owns Simplify with her sister Kathy Benham. "We encourage recycling and fixing up items that might otherwise be thrown out."
At Simplify, you will find an array of old items which have been repaired, sanded, painted and distressed the shabby chic way -- dressers, picture frames, plant stands, stools and chairs, as well as vintage lamps and linens. Old bed frames have been given new life as garden trellises, door frame toppers are recycled as coat hangers and picture rails, small step-ladders are turned into shelving units, and old shutters are sold as head boards.
This isn't the kind of place where you will find $6,000 fine antiques. Prices are affordable, with most pieces ranging from $20 to $50, and the most expensive furniture items ring in at about $500.
"We encourage people to make an appointment, to come by for an hour with their friends, hang out, shop, ask questions," says Collins.
Village Antique Mall is located at 197 Osborne St. Hours are 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week. Simplify, at 513 Osborne St. South is open Wednesday and Thursday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or call 478-1414 for an appointment.