Wallpaper retailer NewWall House is now open in Toronto’s King East Design district. It’s not just a regular wallpaper retailer however — housed in a restored circa 1842 townhouse at 363 Adelaide Street, NewWall is unlike any retail space in Canada.
The brainchild of Maria Raco and her husband Alex Gardner, NewWall carries some of the world’s finest wallpaper designs. The couple purchased the historic Paul Bishop House from a family that was living there, with the intention of converting the property into a retail space. Ms. Raco explained how they gutted the townhouse and rebuilt it into a bright multi-level showroom space — the four-floor heritage building is located at the southeast corner of Adelaide Street and Sherbourne Street in Toronto’s King East Design District, home to some of the country’s leading home furnishings and design retailers.
NewWall retails its products to designers as well as individual end-users, offering premium wallcoverings from world-renowned brands like Timorous Beasties, Armani/Casa, Calico and Marimekko. While wallpaper might be a concept that’s centuries old, NewWall is innovative in how it includes a video wall of monitors with over 300 wall coverings, sized to scale, that allow customers to actually see what a wallpaper will look like, and even allows for side-by-side comparisons.
Accessed from a street-level entrance on Adelaide Street, NewWall House’s main floor features a comfortable seating area with the wall of video screens to showcase product, as well as a diverse sampling of artful wallpaper styles from 13 of the world’s top designers. Various pieces of restored furniture are located throughout the space, several of which are available for purchase.
The second level showcases a number of premium and luxury wallpaper brands, including designs by Giorgio Armani’s Armani Casa line. Custom built-in fixtures display a variety of exceptional wall coverings — some styles are customizable, and prices vary. The floor also features a VIP room with a sleek, Chinoiserie-inspired aesthetic, available for meetings or acting as an office for designers looking to engage their clients on-site.
On the lower level is ‘Les Petits’, an area that showcases children’s wall covering, in a whimsical and creative environment (including oversized stars, traffic jams, and giraffe pyramids) meant to inspire parents to decorate. Brands include Sissy + Marley, Abnormals Anonymous, Marimekko and Coordonne.
Paul Bishop House has a fascinating history — it is in fact two residences that were constructed in 1842 upon the foundations laid by William Jarvis (one of the original founders of the Town of York) for his home in 1798. After the Cholera epidemics of the 1830’s, the original Jarvis residence was demolished because of its reputation of being haunted. In its place rose two new homes, one of which is now occupied by NewWall House.
Prior to being acquired by the Raco-Gardner family for NewWall House, 363 Adelaide Street belonged to a family with three children who lived on the premises. Ms. Raco explained that the main floor once housed a living room, dining area and kitchen, while the third floor, now used for offices, was a room for the children to sleep in (it even has a terrific little patio). The lower-level, which now houses ‘Les Petites’, was formerly a soundproof theatre — a throwback to the former owner’s bachelor days, prior to getting married and having children.
For anyone looking to purchase wallpaper in the Toronto area, NewWall is definitely worth a visit. Not only is the retail space beautiful, some of the wallpaper designs are so artful that one might consider framing them on their own as artwork.
*Photos and video were provided by NewWall House, coordinated via PR firm ZOÏ Agency.