Koma, in Toronto, appeals to consumers who believe that home furnishings should be art you can live with, who believe in establishing mood by mode, and who prefer amassing things of great craftsmanship - with solid collectable potential.
The mid-century dentist's chair and drill in the window says it all: Koma Designs, established in 2004, is not your average home decor store. "I didn't want it like any other store," confirms owner Jamie Cheveldeyoff. "I wanted products and pieces that wouldn't be found anywhere else."
Thus Koma's unique, anti-Ikea retail collection of objects vintage, modern, post-modern, imported, antique and, closest of all to Cheveldeyogg's heart, industrial. the eclectic grouping of furniture, lights and decor pieces certainly reflects the 31-year-old's own varied lifestyle - in addition to running the store and the gallery space beneath, he also art-directs videos and collects vintage bicycles - yet it's something he believes will appeal to Toronto's design-minded.
The shop's location at 1239 Queen St West, in the still-beating bohemian heart of Toronto's Parkdale, is becoming a destination for such customers. Cheveldeyoff is also counting on attracting some of the hordes of new condo owners from the multiplicity of buildings sprouting up in the immediate area.
Ideally, they need to be the type of people who understand that "no home should be all new or all old. You need conjuctions that complement each other, that allow individual pieces to jump out at you." Such conversation pieces include a custom-made Sputnik chandelier with twistable gooseneck extensions, a bubble-top turntable from the 1970s, or a michael Aram chromed "skeleton" chair, all personal faves of the retailer.
Move downstairs to the barely remodeled basement (bamboo screens hide water heaters, rough concrete walls are partially daubed robin's egg blue, an uneven concrete floor has been literally glossed over) and you actually have also moved onto a different level of design. It is here, in Koma's gallery space, that you will find the latest and greatest from Canadian furniture artisans. Since its grand opening in 2005 featuring a Brothers Dressler retrospective, the Koma Gallery has championed up-and-coming creators including, it must be added, Cheveldeyoff's own work...