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


Big Boxes that are "Made in China"

Look, we're not here to preach to you at Ethel, but a thought did cross our minds the other day while shopping at an aircraft-hangar-sized big box store.  While we don't normally shop at such places, this was a rare occasion where the convenience of their store hours won out over philosophy; in other words, we needed to buy a gift for someone (that wasn't something vintage!) and it was after all other stores had closed.

So we went in...and while it was a little scary not being able to see the other end of the store, what was scarier was just how many people were there.  Buying EVERYTHING.  Shopping carts full of shoes, milk, lamps, electronics.  Some buggies were parked outside of the internal fast food restaurant because the shoppers had gotten so hungry from trekking from one end of the store to the other, they had to stop for lunch!

Anyhow, the thought is this.  To each their own.  A family on a budget has to do what it has to do.  But  there are similar places, owned by Canadians, that would do the trick.  Keep the money in Canada, you know?  And if you want a different experience, where the furniture and lighting wasn't made in China, why not come to Ethel?  We can't possibly match the big box prices, but the things you buy here have a sort of 'built-in guarantee'.  What's that?  Well, we purchase most of our inventory from the original owners from the houses they've sat in their whole life: So we like to say "If it's lasted them 50 years, it'll last YOU 50 years."  And your money is going to a small business owner who has a passion for what they sell...and a mortgage...and a lease.

You don't even need to shop at Ethel, either.  If you find something at our neighbour, Upside Dive or AMA, or in Leslieville, our old stomping grounds, that's cool too.  Come in and tell us about your experience, and maybe we can talk you into a nice vase for that table you bought elsewhere ;-)


New Modernism Magazine is here!

We just got in the summer 2012 issue of Modernism Magazine and it's chock full of vintage goodness, as usual.
This issue features stories on the John Lautner Elrod House and the photographer who captured it's beauty 40 years ago, a gorgeous glassy experimental house designed by Allyn Morris, a post war development in Sheffield, England that is experiencing a rebirth of cool, and an absolute eye candy feast of mid-century Italian sports cars...vroom vroom!
Also included is Modernisms quarterly run down of modern design museum exhibits and art shows.
We also have a few Atomic Ranches left, as well as a couple of the Spring 2012 issue of Modernism.
So come pick up some beach reading before we're all sold out.
See you at the store!


Mod walls on a budget!

A few years ago I was in New York on a buying trip, and during some downtime, I took a walk in the Village. It was there that I saw an old refrigerator out for the garbage. Now this isn’t an uncommon sight but since I wasn’t expecting it, I saw it instead as an abstract piece of industrial design and got excited about the potential in all those vacuum formed shelves and pockets. It reminded me of the Uten.silo, designed by Dorothee Maurer-Becker for Ingo Maurer, Germany, and currently manufactured by Vitra. 
(While I love the Uten.silo, it’s ticket price of over $300 wouldn’t make it practical for store merchandising.) 
Instead, I thought, wouldn’t a bunch of these fridge doors look cool mounted on a wall with nifty vintage merchandise on them instead of jam jars, soy sauce and pickles? I filed that idea away to use when I finally got my own store.
Well, here it is, years later, and we finally got the fridge doors on the wall!

We originally were looking for groovy 50‘s or 60‘s fridge doors, with the individual egg pockets but they are so hard to find, so we went with newer ones, bought used from Queen St. East Appliances in Leslieville. Reggie, who owns the place, is a real character and thought my idea for using just the door liners was hilarious. We went with two refrigerator doors and one freezer door, all with the same zigzag pattern. He gave me a good deal, only $75 for all three doors, AND they all fit in our tiny car! 

After a really good cleaning (these were used fridge doors, after all!), removing the rubber seal and unscrewing the liners from the door, they were ready for mounting to the wall. After some tricky maneuvering with my husband’s iPhone level app and realizing we didn’t have enough drywall anchors, we finally got them up with the help of a New Zealander customer named Jeff, who was visiting Toronto on vacation and who was all too happy to help while his wife shopped (I gave them a discount on their purchase for their help!). Once they were all mounted, we filled them up with vintage cookbooks, deadstock wrapping paper and all kinds of other goodies.

We’re so happy with them, and we think they look very mod. And if you’re adventurous enough to take on the challenge, you can steal the idea for your own home. High design  using found materials is always a good thing.

See you at the store! 


New Atomic Ranch is here!

The summer 2012 issue of Atomic Ranch has just arrived, and as usual, it's chock full of vintage loveliness!
This issue features stories on a Lustron house (if you don't know what a Lustron house is, check out this link,...Lustron Houses, then buy the magazine!), a groovy addition to an already groovy house in Austin, Texas, a vintage style painted wall mural (think your best friend's basement growing up!) and information on lots of new stuff, like mid-mod style birdhouses, clocks and mobiles.
Come by the store and get your copy before they sell out.
We also have a few copies of the Spring 2012 Modernism Magazine left too.
See you at the store!


Ethel joins Shopcastr

You already know that Ethel has joined twitter, and we hope you're following us!
We've also joined Shopcastr, a local web company that helps get the word out about local stores and helps them showcase their products. They focus on small businesses, vintage, refurbished and handmade, so we're already fans!
We'll be uploading new and interesting things to our shopcastr site (http://shopcastr.com/ethel20thcenturyliving), as well as continuing to blog about the store, as well as posting on facebook and tweeting. Whew!
It's all part of Ethel's plan for world domination! (or at least, Corktown!)
See you at the store!


A Queen of many colours

We always knew Queen Elizabeth was Ethel's kind of gal!
Colourful Queen Elizabeth
While she could resort to being sedate and serious, the Queen chooses instead to be colourful and happy.

With only one outfit in beige in the last year, she truly lives by Ethel's motto.

See you at the store!