Since 1972, Renaissance Music owner Gary Mullen has lived out his philosophy—that anyone can learn to express themselves through music—by selling instruments from makers such as Yamaha, Gibson, Fender, and Martin. The shop’s deft repairmen tend to all the wear and tear musicians inflict, building up a cache of services that ranges from guitar restringing to giving the Heimlich to blocked trumpets.
He facilitates patrons' enjoyment of the music world not only through sales but through lessons; the shop’s team of more than 30 instructors teaches almost 800 students on instruments from the piano to the harmonica. Students can show off their newly learned techniques during in-house concerts, and peruse a vast in-house supply of sheet music for classic concertos or newer works, such as Bach and Mozart mash-ups.
Since 1984, the framers at Creative Framing have worked with clients to encase treasured photographs, paintings, and keepsakes on premises. Drawing inspiration from the colour pairings in the shop's attached gallery, they match artworks with wood and metal frames as well as shadowboxes. The framers also shield works from sun rays and the withering eye contact of art critics with UV-blocking and glare-resistant glass. Gallery liners come in linen or custom-painted Medite; mats in hundreds of colours complement pictures and make diplomas look smarter. The Creative Framing team will also reuse or resize an existing frame on request, counselling it for adjustment to life after cosmetic surgery.
After punching his last timecard at Labatt's Breweries in 1981, Marven Veinot couldn't get brewing out of his system. That's why he got Homecraft Brew & Wine quickly up and running, excited to share his knowledge of the art with others. Since then, Marven handed over the reigns to Joseph Sulley and the little brewer's haven has grown to become one of the largest home and wine beer stores in Kingston. They supply wine- and beer-making enthusiasts with kits to craft their very own special concoctions, including all varietals of red and white wines. To ensure hobbyists have all the tools need to create the finest libations, they also lead classes and workshops.
Stefan Duerst designs, crafts, and installs an array of custom and premade metalwork drawn from myriad styles, ranging from gothic and renaissance to art nouveau and contemporary. Prop up flower-bed denizens with minimalist garden stakes ($20) or dramatically whip open kitchen pantries with artful metallic door handles ($60 for medium size). Industrial chic wall hooks ($60 for large) await winter coats and cloaks of invisibility, and bathroom towel racks ($40) and drawer pulls ($30) can augment home decor and impart metallurgical secrets. Duerst's resident alloy artisan has crafted works throughout the world, sculpting custom-designed metal pieces and macaroni portraits in countries including Germany, France, Switzerland, and the United States.
Hailing from South Africa, store owner Elsabe joins forces with fellow owner Elspeth, who has 20 years experience in the interior-decorative arts, to bring an expert eye and corporate-consulting experience into the homes of Kingstonians. Like a modern-day Alexander, Els cuts through the Gordian knot of clutter and clash, simplifying décor and organizing disarrayed domiciles. In addition to proffering colour palette suggestions, reconciling hue-feuding bedding and furnishings, Something Els houses a constantly updated selection of unique accessories and new, refurbished, and consigned furniture. Make your army of terra cotta dinner guests at home with a Chinese porcelain fishbowl planter ($90), or tie any room together with a De Poortere wool rug, spun from the generous donations of Chatham Island sheep ($200).
The friendly florists at Kingston's Flower Market cull and pose batches of roses, flowers, and plants into beautiful bouquets and arrangements. A dozen red roses ($19.99) demonstrates classic care, and a colourful arrangement of cut flowers and foliage ($26.99) seduces swarms of bees so they may be petted and cuddled. Express desire by the half dozen with six roses wrapped in clear wrap along with greens and baby's breath ($24.99), or celebrate the arrival of an actual baby with a pastel arrangement ($34.99), complete with a decorative bucket perfect for holding memories and excess frosting. Balloons, vases, candy, and stuffed animals can be chosen to accent any of these garden-picked gifts.