1212 Toronto’s Luxury Furniture Destination

posted by Alanna Davey on 2010.10.29, under Home, Shops

Without a doubt Alexander Donovan has put together the most exciting collection of luxury furniture in Toronto!  If you have ever driven the Yonge Street strip between Rosedale station and Summerhill, you surely would have noticed the superbly curated windows.

Upon entering the store your eyes will be delighted by opulence, and pops of vibrant colour that you just cannot find anywhere else.  Donovan is most influenced by French design, but has an appreciation for all types.  He believes that “more is more” and “good design is all in the editing”. I could not agree more.  Although 1212 has a number of different faces, every vignette is polished with Donovan’s “Luxe Eclectic” style.  This is executed with pieces that exemplify good design and expert craftsmanship.

1212 Décor, 1212 Yonge St. Toronto 416.646.1234

Read full interview…

1.      When did you absolutely know home decor was for you?

Although I did not act professionally on my instincts at the time, I was aware of my environment at the tender age of eight. I would constantly change my parent’s living room and our family room around after they would retire for the evening. We had a modest bungalow home, small by today’s standards, but I was determined to recreate the spaces ongoing, until my mother would ask me to refrain. Then I would start on my bedroom (a modest 9’ x 9’ space). People were always astonished as to what I could accommodate in such a room (double bed, roll top desk, small T.V. console, antique Queen Ann sitting chair, ottoman, side table and floor lamp). Yes really!

2.      Where did you start out?

I started out at Ethan Allen. I learned a lot about the construction side of furniture and the quality that set bench made furnishings apart from other manufacturers. I gained access to design work through the clientele that I was able to develop during this short period with the company. I left within six months after being sought out by Horsefeathers, where my love for antiques and finer furnishings was more to my aesthetic.

3.      Where have you been along the way?

Horsefeathers aloud me the opportunity to also work privately with design clients as well as constantly challenging my merchandising skills within the stores. I was in charge of the visual as well as selling and managing shortly after coming to Horsefeathers. I have had the pleasure of working with many wonderful clients, some even famous, such as John Irving the author and lovely wife, Janet. Since then I have been through a number of different situations, which eventually lead me to the creation of 1212. My business partner, Morley, has been an incredible supporter of my vision for 1212. I am allowed the opportunity to bring the very best of what I can offer, to the clientele that has made us successful so far.

4.      What are your biggest influences?

I am heavily influenced by French design (Louis XV, XVI, Empire, and French Deco). That being said I appreciate modernist furnishings, all periods of art (Pop Art being a personal favourite) and can work with virtually any period of furniture and mix of materials as long as they are of a certain quality and excellence of design. At present, I am and have been an ardent fan of Dorothy Draper, who has been responsible for some of the best design work seen even today. Her influence, such as the Hollywood Glamour (Regency and Baroque design) is evident in Kelly Wearstler’s designs. Also, who can deny the fantasy that is Tony Duquette. He was an absolute visionary.

5.      How would you describe your style?

I can sum it up in two words, “Luxe Eclecticism”. I prefer to mix periods, colour, texture and the unexpected in a way that evokes the personality of the inhabitant. When I design for someone, it isn’t about me; it is about the client and what I can do to inspire rooms that reflect their taste and style. After all, I‘m not the one who will live there once the job is done.

6.      The store has so many different faces, are they all yours?  Or do you just have that natural ability to elevate any style to its maximal potential?

The store is a reflection of the various styles that I am attracted to as well as those that I feel our clients would be drawn to. I have selected with great care everything from carpets to lightings and all things in between, in order to present the best selection of well designed and expertly crafted offerings. I endeavour to show visually enticing environments that will inspire you and that you can translate to your own home. The store is constantly in a state of change just as I believe ones home is. I don’t think I will ever finish decorating my own home since I am constantly tempted by something new that I have found while traveling or that I purchased for the showroom and which I now can’t live without. I hope to always bring out the very best the elements that are part of a setting in order that the spaces tell a story that we can over time continue to redevelop and recreate in different ways.

7.      Do you have any quirky design formulas, quotations, or philosophies you would like to share?

“More is more, but good design is in the editing”, “Always have fun with your surroundings, never take yourself too seriously”, “Luxury is always a good idea”, “God is in the details”(not mine, but a good saying) and finally “I don’t believe in trends, they come and go, but ones true style will set you apart”.

Photos by: Alanna Davey


Hey! Just thought I’d chime in. I really enjoyed your post. Keep up the awesome effort.

legally blonde ( January 30, 2011 at 5:19 pm )

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