Meet the new B.C. brand making affordable, Scandinavian-style furniture entirely in Canada

Mill + Commons sells sleek Scandinavian tables with a focus on the local

Credit: Mill + Commons

Mill + Commons sells sleek Scandinavian tables with a focus on the local

Andrew McKillop’s background is in finance, so when he moved from the U.K. to Vancouver five years ago, that was the industry he looked to enter. But a small shift to project management led to a big shift to more creative fields, as McKillop started working for local design firms (including Vancouver–based Plaidfox Studio). He saw what he calls “a gap in the market for beautiful and sustainable furniture”—especially pieces designed and manufactured within Canada’s borders. 

In 2019, McKillop founded Mill + Commons, a company that offers Scandinavian-inspired wood furniture designed by himself in collaboration with Willow & Stump Design Co. “The design took two-and-a-half years,” he says. “It took a long time because I value honesty, and I think many companies aren’t doing what they should be doing… you can use words like ‘sustainable’ or ‘ethical,’ but that doesn’t really mean anything without being able to back those statements up.”

So how is Mill + Commons walking the talk? Besides crafting classic designs (unlikely to go out of style and end up in a landfill), the company is hyper-focused on being as local as possible. The furniture is designed in Vancouver and made in North Vancouver by Lauten Woodworking, with wood milled from Ontario and shipped in boxes designed and manufactured by Instabox in Alberta. The materials are formaldehyde-free and organic, and fully biodegradable. 

McKillop’s design also keeps function and assembly in mind. “What we didn’t want to be is Ikea, where you are given 200 different pieces,” he says with a laugh. “We use really high-end fasteners, and there are only eight of them.” On the Mill + Commons website, construction time for the Elba coffee table is listed as three minutes. The flat-packed furniture was made for quick disassembly, too, so it can be packed up and moved as the consumer does. Plus, McKillop sells the different parts of each table separately (not online, but you can email), just in case one panel gets damaged or a young Picasso wannabe puts a permanent marker to it. 

Right now, Mill + Commons offers three tables: the aforementioned coffee table and a dining table in two sizes. Prices range from $550 to $1,550. McKillop says he’s tackling benches next. And because everything is local, it doesn’t take long to get designs from sketch to reality: he estimates the entire process can take as little as four months.