By Craig Patterson
Unique home furnishings retailer Thirty Six Knots has unveiled a 6,000 square foot showroom in Toronto’s Summerhill area which features high-quality rugs at a wide range of prices. The unique retailer carries a range of decor, also at various price points, and also includes a coffee shop carrying local food and beverage offerings.
Thirty Six Knots is located at 1212 Yonge Street, just north of the Summerhill LCBO store, at the epicentre of one of Canada’s wealthiest areas. Neighbourhoods such as Rosedale, South Hill and Forest Hill are only a short distance away, housing some of the countries most prominent families. The area is also known for its high-end home decor retailers (Thirty Six Knots replaced Decorum which formerly occupied the building).
The name ‘Thirty Six Knots’ is a tribute to the artistry, culture and tradition of rugs, according to the company, signifying 36 symmetrical knots per square centimetre. A wide selection of premium rugs are available throughout the store in a wide range of prices — a smaller machine-woven design might cost into the hundreds of dollars, while some customized hand-crafted 8’x10’ designs can cost in excess of $50,000 (and can take months to create).
Custom designs involve a collaboration between the customer and one of the retailer’s in-house interior and graphic designers. Once a decision is made by the buyer, the retailer sends the designs to experienced weavers who have perfected the craft. Thirty Six Knots says that you can “share a story, word, colour, or feeling, and we’ll interpret it into a design for you, or make your idea a reality.”
The store’s open-concept design includes a series of rooms showcasing various rugs as well as home furnishings from a range of local and international names. Thirty Six Knots collaborates with interior designers, artists and creators from around the world — each piece is said to be carefully hand selected and unique. The history and culture of the tapestry and textiles featured are meant to be viewed not just as rugs, but as works of art, according to the company.
The showroom is curated as a ‘visual narrative’ through vignettes that artfully blend a diverse range of textures, colours and features. The space is structured as a ‘lifestyle’, making it easy for guests to visualize items in their own homes and immerse themselves in the products.
Rooms in the store feature selected textiles accented with furnishings, accessories, and ‘must have’ objets d’art. The store also features an in-store café which offers food and beverages that are geared towards a “healthy lifestyle by bringing more sustainable and nutritious food to guests”. The store is positioned as a local gathering place where visitors can even pop in for a pastry, coffee or specialty tea on the way to work.
The impressive show-space required several months of construction, which was handled by Mississauga-based BUILD IT. The space was entirely demolished before construction, and new features were added. Flooring is a mix of laminate durable flooring and Valmenco natural tiles. Custom track lighting was used for most of the space to illuminate the products contained within, and custom pendants were created and installed over the coffee bar area at the centre of the store. Coffee bar shelves were installed with LED lighting. BUILD IT has built some of Canada’s leading retailers and restaurant spaces, and was recently named by BlogTO as one of Toronto’s top 10 general contractors.
Thirty Six Knots’ Yonge Street store is part showroom, part cafe, and part gallery. The store targets locals as well as design enthusiasts, collectors and the interior design community. The store has plans to expand on their current website and launch a fully e-commerce site that features their rugs and accessories in the near future.
No further Thirty Six Knots retail locations are planned, though the retailer says that it would like to eventually take the brand across Canada and North America within the next few years.
Craig Patterson, now based in Toronto, is the founder and Editor-in-Chief Retail Insider. He’s also a retail and real estate consultant, retail tour guide and public speaker.