Zekas: Provençal style, and pillows designed by a teen
Beaufort décor in the Beach feature 15-year-old entrepreneur’s funky pillows.
RICK EGLINTON / TORONTO STAR
By: Rita Zekas Special to the Star, Published on Thu Jul 07 2011
Beaufort Décor is no mom-and-pop shop — it’s more of a mom-and-daughter shop.
The home furnishings, gift and garden boutique at 1576 Queen St. E. is a hit of Provençal style bookended between a security firm and a cycle shop in that nebulous tract between The Beach and Leslieville.
Gregarious owner Shirley Ramundi says she’s also the shop’s CPP (chief people person). Her daughter, Alexandra, is junior associate and CG (creative girl).
Alexandra has designed and produced her own line of decorative cushions — the Alexandra Rose Collection — going for $40 each. (Rose is her middle name.) She sketched all the designs, picked out fabric, and supervised the sewing.
The price point is reasonable, the colours vibrant and there’s great detailing like tuxedo pleating. No wonder Ramundi sold out half her inventory in a week.
There are two styles: a square (18 inches by 18 inches) and a rectangle (11 inches by 18 inches).
The cushions are indoor/outdoor, made of water-repellent cotton fabric with polyester filler.
A budding entrepreneur, Alexandra loves clothes just like any 15-year-old, but really has a passion for design. Sarah Richardson is her role model, not Kate Moss. She’d rather watch HGTV than Fashion File; she devours the pages of House and Home more than Vogue.
“I go to Home Depot and bring home colour swatches and paint chips,” she says. “I’m drawn to bold things but classic, things that have been around for awhile.”
Beaufort Décor (named for Beaufort Road in The Beach) has been there for 2 ½ years. À friend started the shop and Ramundi came on-board as partner. She bought out her partner in December, 2008.
“I loved shops like this,” Ramundi says. “I was in retail but in the financial end — loss prevention. I fell into it and decided to carry on and see how it goes. I’m not as artistic as my daughter; I don’t draw and paint. But I love beautiful things and I love people.”
The shop’s price points are beyond reasonable.
“My signature slogan is affordable elegance,” Ramundi says. “The furniture pricing is on a par with Pottery Barn; the gift/garden lines range from $10 to $60. I’m getting to be known for great hostess gifts.”
Ramundi was apprehensive when Alexandra raised the idea of her cushion line.
“I was determined that she learn the business end,” she says. “It’s one thing to have talent and another to make something that people will buy. I don’t want her at home at 30. “
The cushions were entry level. Alexandra just finished grade 10 at Loretto Abbey and intends to go to Ryerson to study interior design.
She recently wallpapered her locker with rice paper and it totally rocked. Some projects not so much. “I attempted to make my cat a coat with some leftover cushion fabric,” she says. “That didn’t work out at all.”
Victorian Classic line of nightgowns and robes, $35 and $40, half the price they’d be in Yorkville.
A mermaid cast-iron doorstop/garden ornament for $50.
Fabulous $240 yellow wooden mirror by Design Home distressed to look old. You can hang stuff on the door knobs.
Whimsical white porcelain yoga frogs are $10.
Ramundi’s best sellers are the 100 per cent cotton Provençal table cloths and napkins. Tablecloths range in price from $35 to $55 depending on size.
Alexandra intends to expand the line to include décor accessories, textiles and furniture. “I hope to design interiors for a living,” she says.