Lossless Toronto: Bookhou
Bookhou sits along a stretch of Dundas West where in 2008 (when it opened) it might not have fit into the neighbourhood. Today, though, the storefront for artisans Arounna Khounnoraj and John Booth’s endeavors has a community around it. Nearby are Hashtag Gallery and Made Design to keep it company. Beyond the community around it, Bookhou also has a family supporting it. Whether it’s their children, Lliam and Piper, at play zizgagging around the sewing machines or grandpa in the back helping to fold textiles and cut leather, home and work are one in this welcoming shop.
The four live above the shop and studio, in-keeping with a tradition going back to the 1960’s — when this stretch of Dundas transitioned away from residential row houses to storefronts. At the time the couple purchased the building no one wanted the space because of how much work would be involved. Ever the DIY and crafty minds they are, John and Arounna took on that work. They exposed the original hardwood floors trapped under eight layers of linoleum, transforming what was once a fishmonger into a bright, modern, and livable space.
John, whose background is architecture, works with form and structure in both furniture design and painting. While Arounna uses her training from OCAD, NSCAD, and a MFA from the University of Waterloo when working with pattern and textiles to create the totes and bags the studio is well known for. Their work emphasizes natural handmade materials, prepared in small production runs.
Adam Mallory from Crown Floral has peppered the store with Mason jar terrariums. Each jar holds a beautiful landscape of bright greens.
Visit the store in person at 798 Dundas West or shop online at shopbookhou.com. Also be sure to visit Arouanna’s blog where she lovingly documents her process and life in the studio, and the lives of her friends in their own studios.