a.circle-widget-trigger svg { display: none; } a.circle-widget-trigger { background-image: url( https://assets-global.website-files.com/63e253c5214088e885dc9539/6470e96a73d05fa30985020c_people-group-solid.svg; });
Make a statement: 5 tips for vintage furniture decorating with Bonne Choice
The Togo sofa by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset in an original ’80s print at Bonne Choice. Photo: Bonne Choice

Make a statement: 5 tips for vintage furniture decorating with Bonne Choice


Carlo Colacci, a design dealer, collector and founder of Toronto’s newest vintage design destination, Bonne Choice, sits down with The Vintage Seeker to chat about his swoon-worthy showroom — and his top ways to incorporate statement vintage decor into your space

Bonne Choice might be the new cool kid on the block in Canada’s vintage furniture scene, but founder Carlo Colacci has been collecting and styling statement pieces in the interiors world for the past 15 years.

As an interior design consultant for The Drake Hotel chain and co-founder of hipster retailer The Drake General Store, Carlo has amassed an impressive selection of vintage designer pieces for both his projects and personal collections.

It all led to the opening of Bonne Choice in June 2023, the design dealer’s 4,000-square-foot collector’s paradise housed in a mid-century industrial building in Etobicoke, on the western side of Toronto, Ont.

The bold, playful space stocks about 95 per cent luxury vintage furniture, homewares, lighting, rugs and art, as well as some jaw-dropping contemporary design, all mostly imported from Europe and the U.S.

For the vintage lover, walking into the Bonne Choice showroom is like watching your carefully curated Instagram feed come to life.

The main area of Bonne Choice's showroom, filled with vintage furniture and decor objects.
“I like what I like and it tends to span everything,” says Bonne Choice founder Carlo Colacci. “We bring that in, organize it and make it feel a bit more digestible, fun, playful and whimsical.” Photo: Bonne Choice

In a series of “zones” designed to look like actual rooms lies one showstopper after another from more than 100 global brands: The curve of a UP2 chair by Gaetano Pesce for B&B Italia. The pastel geometry of original fabric on a Maralunga sofa by Vico Magistretti for Cassina. The stark lines of a postmodern Klipper floor lamp by Mauro Mazollo for TVE. The quiet power of an unmarked-but-gorgeous three-legged Italian white travertine table topped with an eye-popping collection of mid-century vases with the telltale Murano swirls.

“These are one-of-one pieces. They’re a little more special and tend to be a touch more expensive,” Carlo says of Bonne Choice’s inventory. “They’re still competitive with what a couch at Crate & Barrel would cost, but maybe a bit more unique.”

It’s like a museum of iconic vintage designs, except you can go home with any of the pieces. And, like a museum, Carlo aims to make Bonne Choice a hub for collectible design in Canada for interior designers, architects and the general public.

In addition to a fully shoppable website for international clients who can’t visit the by-appointment showroom, Carlo offers custom sourcing, design consulting, importing, rentals, upholstery and refinishing.

Italian Travertine 3-Pedestal Table at Bonne Choice
A three-legged Italian travertine table at Bonne Choice. Photo: Bonne Choice

A underserved niche in Canada

Canada is ready for this category of retail, says Carlo, who has spent considerable time sourcing in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles for The Drake Hotel properties. He says he was always blown away by the selection of authenticated vintage furniture and decor selection available elsewhere, and that more of it needs to be available north of the border.

“In Toronto, although there is a strong vintage resale scene, it’s more on the fashion side. With furniture and antiques, it wasn’t as vast [as other cities],” he says. “I would go into the U.S. and buy from dealers that were buying from Europe. Once I got enough momentum I realized I can bypass those dealers and buy directly from Europe.”

Vintage furniture and decor emulate a great room in the Bonne Choice showroom.
“We're not living here, so we can be a bit more playful and over the top!” says Carlo of the Bonne Choice showroom's eclectic style. Photo: Bonne Choice

As he strengthened his European connections throughout the pandemic, his collection grew. With The Drake General Store closing five of its seven locations to focus on e-commerce in 2021, the idea for Bonne Choice, which had always been “percolating,” started to take shape.

“As Canadians, we’re always a little more conservative and we like to be confident that we’re making the right decision. We’re not first movers all the time. But I believe the demographic and the interest is here,”  he says of the current appetite for luxury vintage, and for home decor in general coming out of the pandemic. “It’s the right time.”

Buying for “future vintage”

Carlo does most of the sourcing for Bonne Choice in Belgium, Holland and Italy, but also has dealer networks in Germany, France and the U.S.

Because a large portion of his clientele is interior designers who require multiples or repeats of an item, Carlo does stock some contemporary furniture, staged alongside such vintage beauties as primary-coloured ceramic floor lamps by Adélie Ducasse and soft resin vases by Gaetano Pesce for Fish Design.

Get fresh takes on old stuff

Subscribe to our newsletter

“Obviously, what we love about [vintage] is it’s one-of-one most of the time. But we want to complement that with other options that are a bit more scalable and that still have the same qualities from an aesthetic standpoint because maybe one day they’ll become vintage treasures,” he says, pointing to a Roly Poly chair designed by Faye Toogood for Driade in 2014.

“That’s already a collectible item. In 30 years, it’ll probably be like the Togo [sofa by Ligne Roset]. The Togo was mass produced, they sold a lot of them and there’s a lot of vintage out there. But they’re still hard to find and fairly expensive. With buying new, it’s about figuring out what those items will be, selling those items now and then hopefully seeing them come full circle.”

The Bonne Choice showroom includes a living-dining room setup featuring luxury vintage furniture.
“A few people have asked what kind of warranty we have,” Carlo says. “But [these pieces] have lasted 50 years and look like new. I can't see them really spiralling from here!” Photo: Bonne Choice

Five tips for incorporating a statement vintage piece into your room

Here, Carlo shares how to use a showstopper vintage piece in your own space.

1. Anchor around a central piece.

Designing a room can be overwhelming, especially if you are starting from a blank slate, says Carlo. If you’re looking to fill it with vintage, the mix of eras and styles across a seemingly disparate group of items can further complicate decisions.

Carlo’s advice? “You have to commit to something,” he says. “With vintage, you have to identify what speaks to you the most. You might like 10 things, but start with one and then build your program around that.”

If you have an existing decor style and are trying to bring in a vintage piece, “you almost take the opposite approach,” he says. “Where’s the opportunity here? It might be the couch or the table — figure out what it is and then start your search there. Which is obviously a lot easier to do because it’s more focused.”

Some trial and error is to be expected, so you may find yourself adding and removing items around your statement piece. “Even when we are setting up our showroom and we have a warehouse full of items to choose from, we bring things in and out,” Carlo says. “And then it just finally feels right. But we always start with an anchor, and it should be the most important piece.”

A pair of throne chairs (unmarked) alongside a rosewood table from the mod 777 set designed in 1965 by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Cassina.
A pair of throne chairs (unmarked) alongside a rosewood table from the mod 777 set designed in 1965 by Afra & Tobia Scarpa for Cassina. Photo: Bonne Choice

2. You don’t need to follow trends.

Vintage is cyclical, Carlo says. “As we source, we learn about what else is out there and don’t necessarily follow trends. And I don’t believe there’s one trend that really dictates what's happening at this moment in interiors.”

His goal with Bonne Choice is to offer a curated, coordinated collection. But for every item in the showroom that’s been a trend — the Ligne Roset Togo sofa has been all over Instagram, for example — there’s an under-the-radar item, like a 1970s leather-faced Brutalist console cabinet by Hi-Plan Design.

“Have fun with it,” he advises. “Everything here is not going to speak to everyone, but we are just following our gut and pulling together a really interesting, unique assortment.”

With so much inspiration available online, “it’s very easy to move out of the gray and white space into colour,” he says.

An RS Associates bar alongside marble pedestals and busts. Photo: Bonne Choice
An RS Associates bar (right) flanked by two plinths and a plaster bust. Photo: Bonne Choice

3. Watch for signs of reproduction.

Carlo estimates that at least five per cent of the furniture pieces in the vintage luxury market are reproductions — well-disguised dupes that can fetch top dollar if the buyer isn’t careful. But reproduction houses only make for the mass market if a design becomes well-known.

“There’s only a handful of items that you have to be careful of — the rest you can trust,” Carlo says. For example, the market for Ligne Roset Togo and Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofas, both popularized on Instagram in recent years, is rife with repros.

Reproductions, while offered at a lower price point, lack the attention to detail of the original pieces, compromise the original copyright, and, if passed off as an original, can jeopardize the dealer’s reputation as a trustworthy outlet.

Some of the things to watch out for: if the tag or label doesn’t match the stamp on the piece of furniture, and the seam placement. “The stamp could say 1981, but the labels are from the ’90s,” Carlo says. “Ligne Roset was always using just one seam on the diagonal. But knock-offs are just trying to maximize the yield, so you’ll see more seams.”

Other Pinterest-friendly pieces, like the Maralunga sofa by Vico Magistretti for Cassina that features an adjustable headrest with a bike-chain interior component, are less likely to be repros “because of the complexity of the system,” Carlo says.

A dusty-rose Maralunga sofa by Vico Magistretti for Cassina. Photo: Bonne Choice
A dusty-rose Maralunga sofa by Vico Magistretti for Cassina. Photo: Bonne Choice

4. Work with a reputable dealer.

When it comes to buying statement vintage and avoiding repros, “going to the source helps,” Carlo says. “You want to find someone who has gone into Europe to buy European goods.”

Always dig further into who the seller is. While sourcing in Spain, Carlo used the local Facebook Marketplace app to search for pieces. “A Soriana [sofa, designed by Afra and Tobia Scarpa for Cassina] came up and it was a three-piece leather set for 10,000 Euro, which seems like a lot of money, but that would be US$40,000 to resell,” he shares. “I clicked on the user profile and it was someone offering iPhone 14s and just using the word ‘Soriana.’”

Scammers use popular keywords — in this case Soriana sofa — to try and get a buyer to leave a deposit on an item. “You’ll go see it and no one will be there,” says Carlo. “I work with dealers who are reliable and educated and can lead me down the right path.”

A set of Mandarin chairs in original red fabric by Ettore Sottsass, along with a Memphis tabletop mirror. Photo: Bonne Choice
A set of Mandarin chairs in original red fabric by Ettore Sottsass, along with a Memphis tabletop mirror. Photo: Bonne Choice

5. Riff on existing ideas.

“Take inspiration from everywhere,” Carlo advises. “No one owns an idea. Maybe the Togo is owned by Ligne Roset, but by the time it makes it in our showroom, it doesn’t quite fit the same bill — it transforms into our version of it,” he says, because of what it’s been paired with.

“That’s the beauty of how you can take ideas or what you can see on Instagram and just kind of make them your own.”

The Bonne Choice showroom contains an old vault, styled like a chichi study with a selection of vintage furniture and objects. Photo: Bonne Choice
The Bonne Choice showroom contains an old vault, styled like a chichi study with a selection of vintage furniture and objects. Photo: Bonne Choice

Where to find Bonne Choice next

Bonne Choice will be in the 11-mile stretch of antiques dealers at the Original Round Top Antiques Fair in Round Top, Texas, Oct. 23-28. And they’re also supplying the furniture rentals for the public lounge spaces at Art Toronto, a showcase of works from 100 galleries at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre Oct. 26-29.

Shopping at the showroom (53 Judson Street, Toronto) is currently by appointment. Follow Bonne Choice on Instagram or visit the entire collection on the website.

A fresh take on all things old.
Get our free newsletters

Join our seller support network

Become a member
Become a member