18 Jul Casalife’s Unique Condo Designs
Like Liberty Village itself, the furniture featured in Casalife’s 15,000 foot showroom at the Liberty Village market building shows off a modern and understated sophistication.
The furniture store has been standing for nine years – since before Liberty Village came to be the hot-spot it is today. “The place was a mudpit and basically not on the map,” said owner Robert Whitfield, describing the area when Casalife was first established in 2003. “Where we are wasn’t even considered a part of Liberty Village when we started.”
As the village began to evolve into a bustling mecca for professionals and condo buyers, Casalife found itself growing with the neighbourhood and catering to the changing crowd. “We came onto the map when people were looking for solutions to condo-specific problems,” said Whitfield. “We came out with the first drawer-bed on the market and things blossomed from there.”
While Whitfield never intended for the store to become a “condo store,” he did find that the store was popular among those moving into empty suites or landlords looking to make income off of high-end, pre-furnished apartments. The business’s mission has always been about simplification and understanding that not everyone can be a designer.
That mission was made possible through a partnership with Toronto real estate company Lifetime Developments. Taking note of Casalife’s hip and current style, the developer teamed up with Casalife to design one-step suites for its condos.
Whitfield enjoyed that the partnership helped remove designers as a middle-man for many customers moving into condos. “If you’ve hired a designer to design your suite and create a cohesive look, you would pay for that,” he explained. “You’re getting [the design] as an added value.”
He went on to explain, “It’s economies of scale, so whenever people are involved, it’s almost like you’re getting something for a lot less money than you would if you’d buy it yourself. It wasn’t just me or Casalife doing it. We had that third dimension of a very qualified design firm.”
They had the help of designer Kelly Cray from Unit 31, who designed several suite packages ranging from $10,000-30,000.
Whitfield stated that he’s enjoyed the partnership thus far. “I believe in substance,” he said. “I’m not into gimmicks. We don’t do paid advertising and we kind of run the business on some old-school philosophies that my grandfather taught me.”
“Builders tend to be cheap,” Whitfield remarked. “Brian [Brown, president of Lifetime Developments] surprised me. Brian didn’t want the cheap stuff. He didn’t want the $130 chairs. He wanted better-quality furnishings.”
Casalife’s emphasis on coordination is a sharp contrast from furniture giants such as IKEA, which uses affordability as its main selling factor for quirky do-it-yourself pieces. Casalife’s main appeal comes from its more contemporary yet classic designs geared toward a fast-moving demographic – like those settling into Liberty Village.