Upgraded Utilitarian: Really Beautiful Everyday Things for Your Kitchen
About twice a year, I turn into the person that I want to be: someone who cares about how the inside of my cabinets and drawers look. I go on a massive organizing spree and replace gross things with new ones. The other day, I had new friends come over who had never been here and I found myself really hoping they wouldn’t open my silverware drawer because it’s just disgusting. It’s not only messy, but there is some flatware that is rusty and likely has some dried, crusted food on random forks and whatnot that didn’t get fully clean. I do have pretty things on my counters like the requisite boards and oil decanters and small dishes for artisanal salt from a tiny valley in Norway, but then my stupid bottle dryer full of bright plastic sippy cups ruins it all (WHICH I DIDN’T REALIZE UNTIL THIS EXACT MOMENT THAT I ACTUALLY DON’T NEED ANYMORE). Insert one of those really annoying dancing emojis that makes you uncomfortable.
Lucky for all of us A. the retail world is answering our prayers with more affordable, pretty options for the kitchen and B. the EHD team has rounded them up for you (and I)…along with some more splurge-worthy ones. Oh boy, I do hope they put a pretty dish drying rack that is easy to store when not needed under the counter somewhere on the below roundups. If not, Arlyn will be let go for not reading my mind and knowing the interior content needs of my under-sink cabinet. Wish her luck.
That’s my kitchen above and admittedly those cloves of garlic, no, literally the exact same ones, are still on that pretty board with the oil (that we do use). That decanter was a splurge for the shoot, but it’s an incredible housewarming gift because it truly makes me happy and it’s not something I would have bought for myself if we weren’t shooting the kitchen for media. But if what makes you happy is to buy a $100 oil decanter that is made in the States by an artisan, then please do because supporting makers and sites that promote makers is just as important as supporting large retailers that support our economy with jobs and provide more budget-friendly versions for the average family. Woah…big statement for a post about oven mitts.
So below is the first roundup of both budget and splurges in the “kitchen and storage tool” department. Oh, and if you’re wondering where all the pretty decanters are, don’t worry, we’re working on an almost-too-pretty-to-cook-with-but-YOLO-so-use-it-anyway kitchen decor and food prep roundup, so hang tight. This post is more about those things you use every day in your kitchen that are normally just…ugly and boring, but don’t have to be.
1. Milk Paint Maple and Brass Knife Grabber | 2. Oven Mitt | 3. Copper And Gold Sponge Holders Set Of 2 | 4. Can Opener | 5. Felted Pan Handle Covers | 6. Natural Wood Nesting Measuring Cup Set | 7. Black Measuring Spoons | 8. Norr Paper Towel Holder | 9. Hand-Turned Mason Jar and Lid | 10. All-Purpose Kitchen Storage Bowl | 11. Denim Apron | 12. Gold Measuring Cups | 13. Round Glass Spice Jar with Copper Metal Lid | 14. Large White Retro Bread Bin | 15. Beech Wood Turner | 16. Linen & Cotton Bowl Covers (Set of 6) | 17. Plastic Food Storage Container Collection | 18. Onyx & Wood Measuring Cups | 19. Beech Wood and Silicone Spatula Mini | 20. Dutch Leather Oven Mitt | 21. Copper Wire Kitchen Paper Towel Rack | 22. Double Oven Mitt | 23. Slotted Wooden Spoon | 24. Brass Spoon Rest | 25. Plastic 2pk Food Storage Container Small Grid Pattern | 26. Lovely Baking Rolling Pin Set | 27. Marble Flatware Tray | 28. Gold Whisk | 29. Gold-plated Paper Towel Holder | 30. Araucana Egg Board | 31. Ice Crusher Kit | 32. Steel & Wood Magnetic Refrigerator Rack | 33. Tower Double Sponge Holder
Out of all of those above, here is what I have or have used personally: #17—the Made By Design plasticware (I used these while I was staying at the Portland house and I have a bunch here at home that I haven’t yet unwrapped); #2—those black measuring spoons and the brass measuring cups (#12), although technically those should match if you are going to be let into the lifestyle mafia. It’s a crime, up there with letting your laundry detergent just sit on top of your washer in the plastic, labeled container it came in from the store (how dare you).
I want to buy #27 (the marble flatware organizer) and here’s why—we just had to throw away our gross plastic one because it had collected some sort of mold. Cool. It’s not because of the plastic but because our house is porous so sometimes when the wall is wet, that drawer gets moist. It was all over our flatware, too. It’s time. Right now, everything is just floating around and wood one somehow feels like it won’t help the situation, so maybe I’ll splurge on this marble one. #33…seems smart and simple to hold your sponges on the inside of your cabinet and I need one of those. Ditto with #32. If I have room for that, I’d grab it for myself.
#20 is a GREAT GIFT FOR ME if you’ve been wracking your brain about what to get me for a birthday present (39 in 10 days, folks).
#16 is part of a great new trend of “shower caps” for your glass storage containers which we might actually use when we shoot the inside of the Portland fridge. These cut down on the need for additional Tupperware (or wasteful plastic wrap or aluminum foil)…you just throw that shower cap thing on whatever your food is already in (as long as it fits in the fridge) and boom…no moving anything other or washing two different containers.
Wait. #30…I think this is an egg board for inside the fridge (which I personally think would take up a lot of real estate in there). I don’t know. Maybe it’s for deviled eggs for parties? Brian could get behind that. I love reading my own blog while writing it. The editorial team plugs in all of these roundups and if/when I have time to art direct or write, I do, but in this case it goes up tomorrow so I didn’t want anyone to have to work on a Sunday, so here I am seeing it for the first time and writing it (and commenting within the post). It’s so fun.
I would accept #18 as a gift (the measuring cup set) but I don’t need it and I have almost all of the collection with #19 (which is $2 and great). I think that #1 and #8 are smart splurges because you see them every day and #6 is strangely good for only $20. Good job, guys. I love this roundup.
Brady’s kitchen is DEFINITELY lifestyle mafia. I love that space so much (and he DIYed a lot of it…check it out here). I mean, does YOUR sink area look like that, with a pretty wood brush and dish soap? Oh wait, it can (if you want it to), which leads me to…
Next up is cleaning tools, because if you are using a basic bitch sponge to wash the pasta remnants from your kids’ plastic plate then you are likely missing out on the joys of being a perfect person. To help you reach perfection, the EHD team presents to you beautiful kitchen cleaning tools:
1. Lurex Sponge in Gold | 2. Linen Patchwork Napkin | 3. Vintage-Inspired French Glass Brush Set | 4. Brush For Washing Up Bowl | 5. Compact Modular Dish Rack | 6. Footed Black Trash Can | 7. Reusable Paper Towel Roll (set of 3) | 8. Kitchen Cloth (set of 2) | 9. French Pebble Sponge (set of 6) | 10. White Waste Bin | 11. Vegetable Brush | 12. Bamboo Dish Rack | 13. Striped Towel | 14. Reusable Pot Scrubbers (set of 5) | 15. Bamboo Compost Bin | 16. Copper Sponges (set of 2) | 17. Rose Gold Trash Can | 18. 32 oz. Heirloom Dishwashing Liquid | 19. Charcoal Waffled Tea Towel | 20. Flow Drainer Tray | 21. Scouring Pad | 22. White Dish Rack with Wood Handles | 23. Full Circle Ring Vegetable Brush | 24. Plaid Towel (set of 2) | 25. Washing Up Whisk | 26. Striped Waffle Tea Towel | 27. Waste Separation And Recycling Unit | 28. Matte White Retro Metal Trash Can | 29. Saucepan Brush | 30. Big Block Kitchen Soap | 31. Drying Dish Pad | 32. Towel Rack & Infinity Linen | 33. Three Layer Sponge
I see so many things that I’m intrigued by.
#7—Reusable paper towels. Has anyone used something like this? Is it like cloth diapers where you really want to be a good person and conserve but not a good enough person to maintain the lifestyle? Do you wash these in the washer? And will I actually do it? We go through SO many paper towels here and it feels awful. Growing up, we didn’t have them but we ended up just washing so many rags a day which is wasteful in its own right (I know there are solutions to both of these, but please factor in working mom lifestyle).
#15…We’ve been meaning to get a compost bin; I can look at this one and isn’t a fortune. Our kids compost at school and Charlie asked me why we don’t have one and I felt, well, ashamed. A child that composts gets you into the lifestyle mafia REAL FAST, by the way. Any thoughts on whether we should try this indoor one or do the whole worm thing outside, please let us know.
All those garbage bins are great, although I fear that unless your kitchen is designed to work perfectly with it, the copper-toned one might grab too much attention for, you know, garbage (it also comes in some other colors, though). I would get #27 because I like the recycle bin.
Also, I’m excited to know what people are doing with what seems to be hay, #25 in the kitchen. **(Editor’s Note from Arlyn: Hahaha, yes, this looks like hay, but it’s actually a water-resistant, super durable, taut-yet-elastic brush made from rice root to scrub pans and pots…no word though on whether it makes things all scratchy, but…if you’ve ever used something like this, let us know how it is and if it’s any better/different than a normal kitchen brush or scrubber).
The good news is that Arlyn gets to keep her job because she did indeed read my messy mind and there are some great dish drainers here. **(Another Editor’s Note from Arlyn: Thank goodness, because there’s nothing worse than updating a resume). Our counter space is pretty small and since ours is mostly for sippy cups, their metal lunch tins and knives, I think we’ll grab that one from West Elm and hopefully it meets our needs. I’ll let you know. THANK YOU EHD EDITORIAL TEAM. 🙂 The only thing that I can’t seem to find are glass dish and handsoap decanters for next to the sink that are pretty and don’t look cheap. I ordered these cheap ones from Amazon that look hideous next to our raw brass faucet.
So what next? We’ve done Upgraded Utilitarian garden and tools and laundry and organization, and have some bathroom stuff and more kitchen decor in the works, but…where should we take this series next (for anyone who has given suggestions in other posts, we’re listening and taking note, we promise)?
Also, this is really making me want to organize my pantries and cupboards, like right now. Should I shoot a big “inside of my cabinets/drawers/soul reveal” at my house? Boring or fun? We are doing it in Portland because the pantries are so big and pretty, but now I need this in my life…thanks for the inspiration, Arlyn and Jess. xx