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How Curious

A very well-curated Wickenden Street shop

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The Curatorium is a fabulous little place where schtick reigns supreme. Owner Matthew Bird believes that “everything deserves curation,” and in that vein, carefully hand-selects each and every kitschy treasure himself. While it’s not a large store, The Curatorium is well-stocked and neatly filled to the brim with one cool find after the next. Bird describes the space as, “part design store, part natural history museum, part smalltown gift shop.” I challenge you to enter and leave without spending a dime: sort of like one of those Coney Island hot dog eating contests, it’s next to impossible.

The collection of merchandise caters to those of us interested in decorating in a way that screams, “I’ve grown up, but I haven’t grown old.” First stop, kitchenware. I don’t cook worth a salt, but if I did, I’d simply have to have a set of ceramic bird-on-tree nesting measuring cups (no pun intended). And speaking of salt, Bird stocks an adorable set of S&P shakers, fashioned to look like number two pencils. No, I’m not erasing your omelet, honey, I’m just salting it.

While I have no illusions of being the next Julia Child, I am pretty confident I could give Cedric a run for his money, as I do love to entertain. If you do too, pick up a set of whiskey stones and use them to chill (and class up) booze for when your friends Jack, Jim and Jose swing by. Be sure to grab a few of Bird’s killer rainbow-hued glass tumblers. The colors are concentrated at the bottom of the glass for a sophisticated yet fun and eye-catching effect. If your guests aren’t impressed, kick them out of your house immediately.

Deck your halls with funky hanging light fixtures that put the ones you bought last year at Ikea to shame. Or, pop a fresh-cut bunch of red roses into a white ceramic vase fashioned to look like three pistols, pointing towards the sky. If that doesn’t show the world that you’ll make it rain – even if you have to shoot those drops right out of the clouds yourself – I don’t know what does. Is your bathroom in desperate need of a major renovation? Hide that hideous pink tile behind a shower curtain designed to teach you to speak German, Italian or Chinese while you wash up.

If you have found yourself “with child,” you might as well make the best of it. Dress that lil’ cutie up in one of the Curatorium’s many hilarious onesies. Each has a slogan (like, “I have more Facebook friends than you do”) or an image (such as a QR code), designed to encourage the growth of your baby’s sense of humor. Your children will surely be cool as cucumbers if – instead of giving them boring ABC blocks to tinker with – you hand them a stack of XYZ blocks, featuring images of zombies. (At least they’ll be prepared for the impending plague.)

“I love selling trophy-like pieces,” Bird says, pointing to a group of mounted animal heads. But don’t worry, there’s no taxidermy here; his trophies are made of ceramic and cardboard. The cardboard version is one that you construct yourself, like a puzzle; it’s a perfect gift for all ages. Speaking of gifts, they’ll wrap yours for free. It’s one-stop shopping for you and your inner child. What’s not to love?