Decor-Rest Furniture: A Family Furnishing Homes With Love
The story for Decor-Rest Furniture began in the ’70s, in a small rented building in Toronto. Now, it’s celebrating its 50th year in business.
Originally from Italy, it was seeing his parents struggle in postwar Europe that prompted Angelo Marzilli to look to Canada as a place with better prospects. As his wife, Christina Marzilli, says, “We were brought in seeing this as the land of opportunity, so we wanted to create something here.”
Where Angelo brought engineering skills in furniture design and manufacturing, gathered from working at a local furniture manufacturing company when he was 16, his wife brought her aptitude for marketing, accounts and décor. Together, they founded a company that would reinvent and innovate itself over the 50 years it’s now been in business.
“We were both young, in our early 20s,” says Christina, thinking back to the business’s beginnings. “We’ve had our challenges. ere’s been times where we’ll have different opinions, and that’s healthy. But when it comes down to it, we had the same vision.”
In Decor-Rest Furniture’s first years, Angelo would spend his days visiting retail stores and introducing buyers to their products. He’d spend his nights at the factory, sewing and upholstering furniture and filling orders.
In 1980, they purchased their first commercial building, expanding from 20,000 to 45,000 square feet. In the ’90s, with a team of 100 people, they relocated to a new space: a 111,000-square-foot factory and first showroom in the city. In the 2000s, the growth continued, and the company constructed its first custom-built landmark location in Woodbridge, Ont.
“Consumers have been looking for multipurpose, functional furniture”
Today, Decor-Rest Furniture is available in stores, including Union Electric Lighting, Arrow Furniture Mart and Decorium, and it offers more than 600 fabrics and 75 leathers, a furniture line with styles that cover both classic and contemporary, a footprint of 400,000 square feet and a workforce of 450 employees.
It has also weathered huge changes in the industry, with Christina commenting on the impact of social media on connecting with customers, striking the balance between manual work and automation, as well as the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.
Christina and Angelo’s son, Angelo Marzilli Jr., who took over as the company’s president in 2017, has also noted the changes brought on by the pandemic, talking about how our homes have become places not just to live, but also to work and play in. He talks about translating current design trends into the brand’s pieces. “Consumers have been looking for multipurpose, functional furniture,” he says. “Adding recliners, motion, storage and electronic charging stations.”
All of Decor-Rest Furniture’s products are made in Canada, another interest in which Christina has seen a recent uptick. “Because of global shortages of materials, everyone is going back to their roots, and they now recognize and appreciate local products.”
When you speak with anyone at Decor-Rest Furniture, you’ll understand it’s a family business through and through. Not only is the company itself generational, with Marzilli Jr. as president, and Angelo and Christina’s daughter, Natalie previously working in the sales department before launching her own retail venture, Zilli Home Interiors, but the atmosphere is one that speaks to family. The business has a mantra, to furnish homes with love, and is dedicated to creating furniture that lasts generations. For Marzilli Jr., that comes down to a balance between art and science. “Design is an art,” he says, “from an idea converted to a line drawing to a prototype for testing. When it comes to comfort, it’s more of a science, which our 50 years of experience has mastered.”
INTERVIEW BY ESTELLE ZENTIL