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


Spanner in the Store

We all know and love Charles Eames and George Nelson, but how many of you out there know anything about mid century furniture from north of the border? And we're not talking about Karim Rashid. How many of you know about Russell Spanner?
Between 1950 and 1953, Russell Spanner reinvented how Canadians saw furniture. Taking his family run company, Spanner Products Limited into the modern era, he designed the Ruspan Originals, Catalina line and Pasadena line, all produced in a three year span. These furniture lines, available through Simpson’s and Eatons Department stores, are characteristic of 1950s styling, with splayed legs and boomerang arms, and some consider them to be Canada’s answer to Heywood Wakefield in the U.S. Rumor has it that Russell, a former amateur wrestler, would test the pieces out by hurling them across the shop floor to see if they stood up to the impact. Can you imagine any furniture manufacturer doing that today? Try doing that at Ikea next time!

Here we have a gorgeous set of vintage Spanner that we just got in last week. Pictured here is the Catalina table and chairs, priced at $1395.

Here's a peek at the Pasadena buffett with it's signature brass pulls. It's priced at $895.

This is a small glass door storage piece from the earlier Ruspan Originals line. Perfect for a small space. It's priced at $250.
All pieces in this set are in original condition, and are in the black and ivory paint finish. The construction is solid maple, not veneer, and is built to last. It should be, if it was hurled across a shop floor!
See you at the store!


Don't forget your parents!

Just a quick reminder for all you out there with Mommies and Daddies (or parental figures that mean the world to you). We just got in the Whigby Mother's Day and Father's Day cards, and if your parents have a sense of humor, and don't expect the usual sappy sweet card with flowers or pictures of golf clubs, then these are for you.

See you at the store!


Abstract 70's and kitschy 50's

One of the best things about Ethel, is she loves finding lots of interesting things for the store, and is not committed to the Herman Miller or Knoll catalogue. 20th Century design is so much more than that and you never know what we'll find for the store. Take this fabulous Frank Stella print, from the John Berggruen gallery in 1977.

Frank Stella is the American abstract painter and is often credited with bringing the supergraphic to it's height of popularity. His most influential period featured the use of polychromy in a series marked by intersecting geometric curvilinear shapes and plays of vivid and harmonious colours. He was given retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in 1970 and 1987, and for those of you familiar with David Mirvish books in Mirvish Villiage here in Toronto, you may remember one of his murals dominating the back wall. This print is $150 and would look smashing in a 70's inspired minimal interior.
UPDATE: Frank Stella print has sold

This Corbusier chaise lounge would also work well in a 70's interior. Originally designed in 1929 the LC4, it was dubbed "the ultimate relaxing machine" by Corbusier himself. This one is a Cassina licensed reissue and is priced at $750. For you purists out there, in 1964, while Le Corbusier was still alive, Cassina S.p.A. of Milan acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture his furniture designs. Today many copies exist, but Cassina is still the only manufacturer authorized by the Fondation Le Corbusier.
Lest you all think that we're taking ourselves too seriously with 70's abstracts and iconic loungers, we also have these barstools.

From far away, they look pretty standard, but get a load of this kitschy pattern on the vinyl!

This groovy brown and orange pattern would look perfect in your basement tiki bar or your Jetsons lounge.
Priced at $125 each or $500 for all five.
See you at the store!


Springtime at Ethel

Hello darlings,
Ethel here. Shauntelle has been working so hard getting the store ready for our upcoming renovations, as well as the books ready for tax season, that I gave her the night off and sent her off to bed with a stack of gossip magazines. While she's catching up on her Hollywood gossip, I thought I'd share my thoughts with you all on springtime and our upcoming renovations. It's so apropos that the renovations are happening in the spring, as spring is a time for new beginnings. We're getting our storefront sign refurbished to better reflect the revamped logo, and we're putting in a new feature wall behind the cash desk. We're also working with Todd Temporale of Viva & Co, (the company behind Whigby, our favourite card and paper line) on new window graphics to advertise our upcoming interior design services packages. As you all may know, Shauntelle is an interior designer and is available for interior design work, if she can fit it into her busy schedule!
Spring is also about flowers. And what girl doesn't love flowers!
This darling little painting has it all. Birds, flowers, and a colour palette worthy of the best Brady Bunch bedroom. Take it home for $40
UPDATE: painting has sold

These two sets of daisy canisters are $40 each and would look fabulous in your kitchen!

This ceramic dish features birds and flowers worthy of Sgt. Pepper, and would add that swingin' 60's vibe to your table. At $24, it's a steal, and we won't tell anyone if you don't actually use it for serving food!
UPDATE: ceramic dish has sold!

This set of two linen placemats with matching napkins would also set your table a swingin' and at $22 for the set, who can resist?

If you're looking for a springtime project, why not sew up a storm with this gorgeous piece of 70's linen, featuring a harvest gold, avocado green and burt orange floral pattern.

Priced at $95, it's big enough for a tablecloth, napkins and placemats, or a lounging by the pool caftan.
So when you're out there planting your garden and thinking of flowers, think of Ethel too!
See you at the store!


Ethel loves Wonderbread!

Most people don't know that Ethel rents out furniture to film shoots. So if you're ever watching a made in Canada blockbuster, or even just a CBC show, you may see a groovy lamp or sofa that you've seen before.
Recently we rented a whole whack of stuff out to a production company shooting a 50's era commercial for Wonderbread. Some of it was from our own private collection so you may not see it in the store, but those of you in Montreal will recognize the painting over the fireplace.
Anyway, look for the commercial. It's very cool, and who doesn't love Wonderbread?
See you at the store!


Ethel gets a makeover!

This is one of two groovy wall sconces we recently installed on our back wall here at the store. In a few weeks, the rest of the wall will be done, giving Ethel yet another facelift (it takes a lot of work to make her glamorous!). The wall will feature a black grid pattern similar to the logo, with turquoise and chartreuse blocking, along with some floating shelves to showcase more of the goodies Ethel is getting known for. We know that not everyone is in the market for a big sofa or dining table, but who can resist a gorgeous piece of art glass or a practical set of vintage canisters?

This lovely green fondue set features six matching forks and a groovy yellow and white crazy daisy pattern. Bring it home for $40 and have a fondue party in honour of spring!
UPDATE: Fondue set has sold
Also seen here are some sets of metal canisters, perfect for kitchen storage, or even to jazz up your messy office!

We also have a pair of these gorgeous vintage ceramic lamps with new black shades. The orange, yellow and maroon stripes give these lovely lamps a lot of class, and they match the purple sectional perfectly! They can be yours for $275 each or $500 for the pair.

This solid yellow birch buffet was designed by dutch designer Jan Kuypers for the Stratford, Ontario based Imperial Furniture Manufacturing Company back in the mid-fifties. Its new black lacquer finish makes it very au courant and looks stunning when matched with some sparkly art glass and a big orange lamp. The buffet is $695, and its small scale makes it perfect for most Toronto homes. The orange lamp is $195 and the art glass dishes are $20 each.

In other news, Ethel is losing her upstairs neighbor. Greg Perras, one of Ethel's original owners, is moving his store, named "Fred Upstairs" from the upstairs above Ethel to down the street. His new venture, called Highway 11, will focus on rustic modern design and feature reclaimed wood furniture by Sandro D'Ulisse's design studio, Loft 65, along with Greg's signature vintage collections of vintage boardgames, pulp fiction novels and lots of other fun stuff. He's aiming for a mid April opening, so drop by Ethel then take a stroll down the street to say "hi".
See you at the store!