Intimidation factor: Zero. This is a delicious combo of home and accessories shop and amusement park.
Number of salespeople on floor: Two, owner Kirill Zaretsky and Jody, my facilitator.
Response time: Immediate if not sooner. I am hideously lost taking the TTC and when I call the store for directions, Jody picks me up.
Vibe:Marty Millionaire meets Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium.
Price range: From $12 for candle holders to $4,000 for an antique table.
Rating: Four pedestal tables festooned with pennies out of four.
My friend Janine recently emailed me a photo of a “Chanel desk”: black and white with “CHANEL” in huge block letters on the black top. I had to have it. Moreover, I actually needed a desk.
“Do you want to come and see it?” asked Jody, the staffer on the phone.
I didn’t need to. The measurements were perfect. I arranged to have it delivered; I would make it work. And it totally does.
Now I really needed to visit the source. Once at Elle & Eve — after many wrong turns via TTC — owner Kirill Zaretsky gives me a guided tour of his 10,000-square-foot emporium. Open since January, the shop, named after his daughters, stocks everything from jewelry (costume starts at $52) to contemporary couches to Spanish wooden doors dating back to 1780. The prices are reasonable and go down the longer the merchandise languishes on the floor.
He uses pickers from all over Canada and the U.S., and some of the stock is recycled. My desk was a junk-shop refugee repurposed by interior designer/stylist Nicholas Rosaci, the DIY guy on Cityline.
There are more car parts than a mechanics shop. The grill from a 1964 Ford Mustang complete with headlights is $225 and would make a great headboard. A BMW dashboard has been refashioned into a clock; a radio from a gasoline pump. How brilliant is a towel rack made from a ’70s car steering wheel?
And then there’s the menorah constructed from car parts. It has to be seen to be believed.
In fact, the whole place runs the gamut from traditional to wacky. Where else would you find a teapot with a facsimile of Burt Reynolds soaking in a tub? The head comes off, the spout is the muzzle of a gun and its handle is the gun handle. Fully loaded for $45.
Not only is Elle & Eve the ultimate home accessories/nostalgia shop, it is the most innovative gift shop ever. For the bride who has everything: a set of soup bowls with a house fly and the words “Waiter, Waiter” imprinted on them.
For Father’s Day: How about a barbecue made from a truck transformer and two rims for $225?
Or a chair made from golf clubs for $175?
I haven’t had so much fun shopping since I was at a beachside bar in Yelapa, Mexico, checking out jewelry with margarita in hand.
Take the kids. They will love the games room, complete with Popeye paraphernalia. There’s an original and functioning nut-roasting machine from the CNE; an amazing curtained French armoire that is 150 years old and will take them to Narnia; and the showpiece — Big Al, a fortune teller in his stall, priced at $1,200.
Janine just emailed me a picture of a leopard-print steamer trunk with hot pink interior, another awesome Rosaci repurpose. Oh, oh.