327 Queen St. East, between Parliament and Berkley streets, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA. 416.778.6608. email: info@ethel20thcenturyliving.com
Hours: Mondays by appointment, Tue - Thurs: 12pm - 6pm, Friday: 2pm - 7pm, Sat: 12 - 6, Sun: 12pm - 5pm


Coffee and Cigarettes

Hello darlings,
Ethel here. I thought I'd give Shauntelle a break and write this post myself, as coffee and cigarettes are something I know quite a bit about. In fact, my dear friend Julie London was thinking of me when she sang her version of Black Coffee. I like to start my day with a pot of freshly brewed Jamaican Blue Mountain, served in one of my many favourite coffee mugs (no dainty teacups for me in the morning, Ethel needs her caffeine!) In fact, we have a lovely vintage coffee & tea service from Oneida in the store right now. This stainless steel set can be yours for $65.

I used to also enjoy a cigarette with my morning coffee, but as we all know, smoking is no longer fashionable (or for that matter even socially acceptable!). It's a shame because smoking accessories are so gorgeous. I think a coffee table looks naked without a jaunty ashtray, don't you?
Anyway, just because smoking is passe, we can still dress up our tables with ashtrays, even if you use them to put candies in or to hold your car keys.

Here's a lovely kidney shaped ashtray with melted Bisazza glass tiles. This Italian beauty can be yours for $15.

For those who are sports minded, here's a bowling themed Beauceware ashtray, priced at $35.

Perfect for your mancave!

This pair of yellow and brown ceramic ashtrays are just too pretty to use. From Italy, they're $22 each, but you wouldn't want to split up the pair would you?

Priced at $45 for the harlequin shaped cigar ashtray and $55 for the large circle ashtray, these two lead crystal beauties are glamorous all on their own, and would add that perfect sparkle to your coffee table or cocktail bar.

This dainty piece of Sascha Brastoff pottery looks like a prettier version of the Architectural Pottery birdfeeder, but believe it or not, it is in fact an ashtray. Who would dare to tap out their cigarette in such a lovely piece of mid-century design? It can grace your table for $65, but only if you promise not to use it!

Pictured here with a fabulous chartreuse cocktail set and red mod ice bucket, this black beauty matches with accents of red, yellow and green and, like many others on this post, hails from Italy. Boy those Italians love to smoke! It can make you feel italian for $15.
Whew, all this talk of ashtrays has me yearning to light up again, but as we've said, it's just not done anymore. Maybe I'll have a cocktail in one of those lovely chartreuse glasses instead!
Ciao for now darlings


Ethel lights up your life

It's dark out there. I mean, really really dark. It's dark at 5pm, and you know what that means....TURN ON THE LIGHTS!!!
What's that? Did you say you'd rather be in the dark, than turn on your handmedown dusty rose ginger jar lamps you inherited from your parents? Well, we here at Ethel can help you with that.
We have lots of gorgeous lighting in stock right now, waiting to go home with you to light up your life.

This is one of two vintage tri-light floor lamps, each priced at $80. These chrome beauties would suit a modern industrial interior, or paired with some slick chrome deco furniture (like these chairs!)

This glass globe lamp with a new silver shade is very au courant and would work in a mid-mod space, or even with Hollywood Regency. It's priced at $250 and will glam up your space beautifully!

We have three of these acrylic dome pendants in stock right now. All three are vintage 70's with new wiring. We have one in smoked acrylic, priced at $45, one in sunshine yellow, priced at $65 and one in mod blue, priced at $85. Perfect for over your Saarinen tulip table.

These yellow ceramic lamps have new shades and are priced at $225 each. Sunshine yellow to brighten up your space!

We have two of these custom truck stack light fixtures. Originally designed for a Toronto homeowner, they are now here at Ethel, and can be either wall or ceiling mounted. The white enamel finish gives them a distinct 2001 meets Bauhaus vibe and are priced at $795 each.

This vintage 50's ceramic "bowling pin" style lamp has fuschia, coral and gold details and the original shade, trimmed in matching fuschia. Very rec room, and a steal, priced at $85.

This chrome table lamp is very 70's and looks great on our chrome etagere, but I bet it would look better in your home! Priced at $150, it's a great example of 70's art deco revival.
Come on into Ethel and get some light in your life!


Tea time and Play time

While we are all about the vintage here at Ethel, we do carry a few "new" things, with a mid century vibe, all made in Canada and all chosen by Ethel herself.
Here's a collection of pottery from Joy Eliuk, of JoyPottery.
Joy is a ceramic artist making functional mid-fire porcelain vessels, and is currently very inspired by the geometry and textures found in nature. All of her work is made by hand in her Toronto studio.

This Sputnik inspired Spike tea set is $275 for the teapot and two cups. While it looks abstract, this is a functional teapot and teacups and would look great on your teak sideboard.

For fun and games, we have the City Blocks and Country blocks from Jen Bulthuis, of Fidoodle. Fidoodle Inc. is a small design company that produces artful objects based on stories; some of them, adaptations of classic fairytales and myths, and others, made up. Everything is made in Toronto with natural materials. http://www.fidoodle.com/

These blocks have a great graphic style for your fashionable toddler (or even for you!) They'd look great on a teak sideboard too! They sell for $34 each.
See you at the store!


Beat the winter blues with some colour

As mentioned in an earlier post, we have a store cat. Her name is Edyth, and while she is cute as a button, she's a crabby little kitty. Whenever we get a new upholstered piece in the store, I have to keep my eye on her in case she "claims" it with her claws. So far we've been able to keep her off the purple people eater, but only with some help from our handy elephant squirt bottle.
Here she is, getting some lovin' from Paul Dowsett, our resident architect.

It's quite possible she's giving HIM some lovin, in the form of a cat scratch.
Here she is, posing for the camera.

Who can blame her for being so crabby? It's winter and cold out there. That's why Ethel loves colour, as nothing beats the winter blahs than a shot of orange, (and her favourite colour, turquoise).

Here's a lovely tablescape, featuring some orange linen placemats in a crazy daisy pattern, some fun geometric coffee cups from Japan, vintage ceramic fondue plates in blood orange, and the centerpiece, a fabulous vintage fondue pot in what we like to call "silly putty blue". Why not throw a retro dinner party filled with bright colours and fun food to fight the winter blues?
See you at the store!


Atomic Menorah

Now that the holidays are well and truly over, the aluminum Christmas tree, Whigby holiday cards and vintage decorations are all packed away until next year. Well, almost everything is packed away. We say almost all, because there's one item we just can't bear to put away just yet.

While Ethel isn't Jewish, she just couldn't resist this space age menorah, as she feels good design is non-denominational. Bring this brass beauty home and celebrate the Festival of Lights in style!
See you at the store!

UPDATE: menorah has sold


The Purple People Eater that ate Don Mills

Well, the big purple people eater made it into the store today, and thankfully my interior design instincts were correct and not only is it a gorgeous sectional, but it fits beautifully in the space I cleared for it. Unfortunately, my CF card was not behaving in the digital camera so I can't show you a picture of it in the store. Instead, here's a shot of it in the homeowner's house, whom I bought it from.
It's a four piece sectional, upholstered in a lovely maroon/eggplant colour wool, with the classic 50's tapered wood legs. The skirt obscures the legs, but one could pin that up underneath the sofa sections for a more "jetsons" look.
A little history behind this beauty. Its from the home of Angus McClaskey, the second president of Don Mills Developments Incorporated, the company that was in charge of building Don Mills, one of Canada's most modern neighborhoods. For the history of Don Mills, you can read the Wikipedia link, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Mills, or you can download the podcast walking tour from the Heritage Toronto website, http://www.heritagetoronto.org/, that my husband, Dave LeBlanc of the Globe and Mail, is working on. It should be uploaded to the Heritage Toronto site by the spring, just in time for a nice walking tour.
Anyway, this sectional is priced at $1500, and would be perfect for that California style ranch house in the suburbs, or that loft with ALOT of floorspace to fill.
See you at the store!

Ethel on TV!

I should've remembered the date, but I forgot. What kind of a store owner am I? Anyway, this morning on CityLine, (Toronto's longest running lifestyle show on City TV), the focus was "Retro Design". They filmed a segment for this episode back in October, with Eric McLelland from Fleur de Lis Design talking about how to incorporate retro design into your home. He featured a 42" diam Saarinen table, and a lovely chrome etagere that are still here at the store. The womb chair was brought in (by me) for the segment, and sadly is not for sale.
Here's the link to the episode, and for those of you at home, it's repeated again this afternoon (check your local listings)


Out with the old, in with the new

This Thursday, we are getting a new addition at Ethel. No, we haven't hired a new employee, or adopted another store pet (we're currently at one dog, Creemore, and one cat, Edyth). We are getting in a lovely 50's sectional sofa in on Thursday, and since the floorspace is limited (the sectional is a whopping 10' long on one side, 8' long on the other), we'd like to make some room for it.
Therefore, we are continuing our boxing day sale this week, in order to clear some space.

These red deco chairs are still on sale for $300 each (here's a better picture so you can fully appreciate their chrome snazziness). Don't these two look like they belong in a swank smoking room or model agency lobby? The legs alone would make any supermodel jealous!
UPDATE: One chair has sold, one is left

Also, this groovy 70's era daybed sofa has been marked down from $1200 to $900. We call this one the Movie Producer Casting Couch, and one can only imagine what kind of illegal substances were trapped in the seams of this sexy beast back in the day.

On a style note, it's been reported at Apartment Therapy (and other worthy design sources) that the big colour for 2010 is turquoise. This is not news to Ethel, as turquoise has always been her favourite colour. If you're not sure if you want to commit to a new paint scheme, why not pick up some vintage turquoise accessories, like one of these lovely ceramic vases?

You should all recognize the dark blue and turquoise of Canadian Blue Mountain pottery (the ginger jar at the back) and the other two pieces are West German. Don't they all look darling together?
See you at the store!


Confessions of a dish queen

We here at Ethel have always loved vintage dishes. In fact, Ethel will sometimes call herself a "dish queen", while sipping a cup of darjeeling from one of her many mid century tea sets, and I know she prefers the jaunty shapes and playful patterns of vintage dishes over the plain white ones on offer at most retailers today.
We're always on the lookout for dishes to bring into the store, as nothing looks better on a danish teak dining table than a set of colourful period dishes.
This week we have a set of Midwinter Stylecraft in the Cassandra pattern and Fashion shape. These are from Staffordshire England, and date from 1960. This set is incomplete, but has enough pieces to make it a great starter set, and we'll continue to add pieces to it as they come in.

The set consists of dinner plates, bread plates, side plates, soup bowls, cereal bowls, platters, serving dishes, a lovely covered vegetable tureen, gravy boat, creamer and three cups and more saucers. The set, as is, is $275, and the individual pieces are priced individually. What a way to dress up your table!
See you at the store!