Personal Space: Chris and Robin from Stepback
May 8, 2013
Image: Lucas Finlay
1. All in the Family
Art imitates life in Chris Switzer and Robin Muxlow's Kitsilano home, where this original stained-glass window perfectly captures the heritage charm of their restored 1912 Craftsman house. Past and present intertwine further: the couple met in high school, but later found out they'd been neighbours in Grade 2.
2. Spread the Wealth
The vintage German bacteria chart-"Like abstract art!" says Switzer-is a good example of the quirky items he finds on days off from touring the world as a guitar/drum technician for bands like Radiohead and Sarah McLachlan. The collectibles typically end up in Stepback, the couple's lifestyle/curiosity shop on West Broadway, but occasionally turn up in their house-like this curated collection of trophies. "I'm especially partial to old bowling trophies with hand engraving," he says.
3. Band on the Run
When he's not touring or jamming with his own band (Mystery Machine, which recently released Western Magnetics after a hiatus from its '90s Nettwerk Records days), Switzer doggedly tracks down vintage pieces like the chalkboard globe he and his brother rescued from a defunct Chilliwack high school. The whole extended family gets in the game to source Stepback's goodies at flea markets and auctions in the Fraser Valley.
4. Family Ties
Switzer's grandfather was a professional taxidermist, so the displayed duck and elk antlers are as typical in the couple's house as they are in the store. The '30s-era Kitsilano High School megaphone was a sentimental find (the eldest of their three kids attends Kits High), while the circa-1968 bus roll highlighting UBC destinations recalls Muxlow's years pursuing her Master of Architecture. Her keen eye scored her the authentic Eames chair she's seated on at a thrift store for $4.
5. Life Cycle
Since Stepback opened eight years ago, it's become a go-to for companies and estates dispersing goods. To wit: this vintage stack of 1940s suitcases, and an industrial lamp that was promptly cleaned up and given a new purpose.
Stepback is located at 3026 West Broadway.