Ferm Living

Sometimes the universe whispers to you, and other times it screams. My choice of Ferm Living as today’s post topic is definitely evidence of the latter. I noticed an advertisement for the Danish homewares brand yesterday on Tottenham Court Road (my sister recently moved to a new flat, and we spent a day shopping for furniture and accessories together), only to return home and see that Decor8 was singing their praises, too.

It’s not hard to see why. Originally started as a graphic design company, Ferm Living creates bedding, wallpaper and a wide range of accessories in gorgeous colours and prints.

Clockwise from top left: Porcelain Chemistry Flasks; Tree Bomb Mug; Tower of Napkin Rings; Mushroom Soup Tea Towel; Stem Bowls; Candleholder; Glass Lab Bottles; Knitted Basket.

Check out Ferm’s blog for more imagery and news, too.

Posted in Products on August 25th, 2010 by Ele | 2 comments
Tags: Danish, design, Ferm Living

If you’re at all interested in design (and why would you be here if you weren’t), chances are you’re familiar with Finnish design company Iittala. I started hearing about their glassware a couple of years ago, and lately it seems that I can’t pick up a magazine or read a design blog without coming across something with the Iittala name on it.

The cast-iron Sarpaneva pot looks like something out of Harry Potter, which to be honest only fuels my love for it. A Finnish design classic, it’s as functional as it is beautiful:


Glassware is what Iittala is known for, and these Aino Aalto drinking glasses are a classic. Inspired by the rings made by a stone hitting water, they were designed in 1932 and are just as covetable today:


The storage Jars are a more recent design, and one that I’m crazy for. Imagine how lovely your pastas, grains and pulses would look in one of these:


Not strictly for the kitchen (though I suppose they could work for nibbles), I just adore the organic icecube shape of the Vitriini range of boxes. I’d use mine for jewelry and odds and ends:


Kastehelmi is a 60′s design that’s being re-released in 2010. The inspiration for these elegant pieces came from water droplets, but I think the result looks like lace:


Posted in Products on May 19th, 2010 by Ele | 2 comments
Tags: design, finland, glass, glassware, Iittala

I first discovered Danish ceramics company Kähler several months ago, when The Kitchn featured one of their products. In business since 1839, today Kähler works with the best young designers in Denmark, producing products exemplify that oh-so-Scandi mix of innovation, elegance and fun. These are some of my favourite picks from their online shop:


Clockwise from top left: Mano bowls, Spiro thermos cups, Cammeo containers, Lumina tealights, Mano teapot.

Posted in Products on April 29th, 2010 by Ele | 1 comment so far
Tags: bowl, ceramics, Danish, design, scandinavian, tea light, teapot

Review: Living etc April 2010
Do you read Living etc? I do, it’s one of my favourite magazines. After moving to the UK three years ago and having a brief affair with Elle Decoration (as well as a trans-Atlantic fling with Dwell), I settled on Living etc as my UK interior love. Issue after issue, the editors get it spot-on in terms of trend coverage, decor ideas and inspirational photographs.

I was particularly thrilled with the April 2010 issue, which I picked up last week. A feature titled Kitchens for Cooks – How to plan your perfect work space was clearly going to catch my eye, and I wasn’t disappointed on reading it. I thought it might appeal to some of you kitchen-lovers, so here’s a sneak preview for you…

Living etc April 2010

Living etc April 2010

The article focuses on 12 kitchen design ideas, interspersed with useful information on choosing countertops, floors and appliances. Gorgeous photos, product comparisons and random tips (did you know it takes 10 minutes for an extractor fan to reach optimum strength?) mean the whole thing is chock-full of information.

Almost equal consideration is given to aesthetics and function, with the scale even tipping slightly toward the latter. I must say, it was refreshing to read an article that advocates keeping certain utensils, pots and pans out in plain view – you know, so you so can use them – rather than hidden away behind cupboard doors.

Living etc April 2010

Living etc April 2010

Living etc April 2010

Of course, in typical design mag style, this article left me covetous. I’ve now added an induction range, a marble worktop section (for making pastry), and a hot water tap (to replace my space- and power-sucking kettle) to my “dream kitchen” list.

In addition to the kitchens feature, Living etc‘s April 2010 issue had some good articles. I liked all four of the house tours and a sweet editorial called Living with Heirlooms. It’s on the newstands now, so if you’re in the UK, go pick up a copy!

Posted in Review on March 11th, 2010 by Ele | 3 comments
Tags: design, Kitchens, Living etc, magazine, Review

The Coolest Fridges
Like many appliances, fridges can sometimes get overlooked in the design process. Too often they fall into “boring, big and white” territory, doing their job but acting as the proverbial (and sometimes physical) elephant in the room. But if you think of them as an opportunity to inject some style into your kitchen, it can be a whole other story. Check out some of my favourite picks for the coolest fridges around.

First up, my all-time favourite. Smeg is an Italian brand that pioneered the fun-look, serious-performance fridge. With different lines to choose from, you can go for a sleek and modern locker-style number or the trademark 50′s-look model. I’m a fan of the latter, in white or cream.


An industrial-style fridge is always going to be a classic, and with good reason. Stainless steel works with many different interior styles, and adds a professional touch to a kitchen. I like the styles offered by German brand Miele, particularly the Grand Froid style, which would work for a large family.


Futuristic styles can be fun, too. The new Samsung by Gro fridge can be used horizontally or vertically, and the space-age styling would complement a super-modern, minimalist kitchen.


Probably the gold standard for designer refrigerators, Italian brand Meneghini makes unique models inspired by vintage iceboxes. Nigella Lawson has the cream one shown below, though I’ve got a soft spot for the tall, slim red model. Available to purchase at Robeys, the price (over 36K for the deluxe model) may make you think twice.


Posted in Products on March 10th, 2010 by Ele | 2 comments
Tags: design, fridge, refrigerator, stylish

Kitchen Storage: Ten Cool Ideas
Storage is a perpetual problem for me, and I’m far from alone on this matter. It doesn’t matter how big or small our spaces are, there just never seems to be enough room for all our stuff, am I right? In the kitchen it can be particularly tricky, especially balancing practicality with design. Today I’ve put together ten ideas on stylish and space-saving kitchen storage.

1. Vintage charm. If you’ve got a spare wall or part thereof, don’t automatically jump to adding built-in units. A vintage dresser or armoire can store your plates just as well, and adds a bit of personality, too. I like this painted hutch from County Living.

Kitchen Storage: Vintage charm

2. Open it up. With that same wall, you could also try some open, industrial-style shelving. These blue-painted shelves, also from Country Living, look lovely, and the metal boxes keep things neat.

Kitchen Storage: Open it up

3. Pretty pegboard. Pegboard might not be a new idea, but it’s still a pretty good one. You can paint it any colour, and use as much or as little as you like. Go for a small square on the wall, a larger piece covering the back of a door, even a whole wall. This lovely teal board comes from Australian mag Inside Out, via Apartment Therapy.

Kitchen Storage: Pretty pegboard

4. Through the cupboard door. The slim space just inside a cupboard or pantry door can be a great find. Think of a magnetic strip for knives, a hook for spare tea towels, or a slim custom-built spice rack. In this image from Martha Stewart, pot lids are held up with towel racks.

Kitchen Storage: Through the cupboard door

5. Frame it. Got something pretty to show off? A storage frame, like this one I found via Living etc, is fantastic for showing off cups and smaller items. This is from Heal’s, but I bet an old frame, some plywood and a lick of paint would make a great DIY version, too.

Kitchen Storage: Frame it

6. Roll with it. A butcher block, trolly or other small unit on wheels can make a great occasional storage and work space. Choose something that fits in with your decor, and then simply roll it where and when you need it. Bonus points if there are shelves underneath, like in this example from Apartment Therapy.

Kitchen Storage: Roll with it

7. Hanging out. Simply looking up can reveal several unexplored storage options. The classic over-island pot rack is a good example, but even mounting a single hanging rail can keep utensils out of the way and free up your countertop. The space under cupboards works well, as does a patch of bare wall, like in this kitchen from Marie Claire Maison.

Kitchen Storage: Hanging out

8. Up, up and away. In some kitchens the cabinets go right up to the ceiling, but in others, there’s a bit of headspace. Make that work for you by tucking rarely-used but attractive (or simply decorative) items out of the way, as in this room from Domino (RIP) which I found at Little Green Notebook. Just make sure you’ve got a sturdy chair or stepladder at the ready, if and when you need to get them down again.

Kitchen Storage: Up, up and away

9. Under covers. We don’t often see tablecloths in a kitchen anymore, but consider this: a floor-sweeping fabric can hid a multitude of sins- er, stuff. Choose a beautiful colour or print, as in this photo from Canadian House & Home, and it’ll add a whiff of French country glamour, too.

Kitchen Storage: Under covers

10. Skirting the issue. Similar to the last tip, I’ve got a total weakness for skirted work tops and tables. It doesn’t matter how messy the junk behind is- if you can hide it with a pretty fabric, who cares?! I like the skirted corner in this room from Marie Claire Maison.

Kitchen Storage: Skirting the issue

Have you got any kitchen storage tips you’d like to share?

Posted in Ideas, Inspiration, Kitchens on February 11th, 2010 by Ele | 14 comments
Tags: decor, design, Ideas, Kitchens, practical, small space, storage

Of Type and Cookies
These Helvetica Cookie Cutters by designer Beverly Hsu were making the blog rounds a few weeks ago. I first saw them at Swiss Miss and then over at MadeByGirl, so resisted redundantly posting them here. I’m giving in now because really, who doesn’t like Helvetica? Design cliché though it might be, it’s the still the first typeface I (figuratively) reach for. If I had some of these cookie cutters (not available commercially yet, but here’s hoping!), I might be reaching for it literally, as well.

Helvetica cookie cutters

Helvetica cookie cutters

Helvetica cookie cutters

Posted in Ideas, Products on February 10th, 2010 by Ele | Be the first to comment!
Tags: cookie cutter, design, Helvetica, typeface

Home Inspiration: Blackboards
The blackboard wall trend has been going strong for the past couple of years, for nearly every room in the house. I think it makes particular sense in the kitchen, and I’ve featured the look on Kitchenisms before. It’s the perfect place for shopping lists, menus, recipes and notes. The matte finish of blackboard paint is contemporary and fun, but I think it works in a variety of kitchens.

The look needn’t be limited to the wall, however. There are lots of options for using this cheap DIY design idea- check out some of my favourites here.

The whole wall works well in a loft-style space, like in this image from the photostream of chutes and ladders:


From the photostream of ooh_food, I love this charming eating area. The section of blackboard wall behind the table adds the perfect touch of whimsy:


If painting the walls isn’t an option, how about a piece of furniture? No.8′s Vintage Blackboard Cabinet (found via Ohdeedoh) comes ready-painted, and has the added bonus of being movable to another room:


For just a touch of the trend, I like this blackboard-painted range hood from This Old House:


I like this idea from Living etc: use a section of wall as a calendar/organizer! Pretty and practical:


From the same source, the pantry door option might be my favourite. It keeps the trend limited to a small space, but still has impact:


Posted in Inspiration, Kitchens on November 12th, 2009 by Ele | Be the first to comment!
Tags: blackboard paint, blackboard wall, cheap, design, diy, idea

Home Inspiration: Gossip Girl
Firstly, a confession: I, Ele, watch and enjoy a shallow, melodramatic and at times ludicrous prime-time TV show aimed at the teenage set. So sue me.

Now that that’s out of the way, a second note: Please forgive the poor quality of the images in today’s post. It’s hell finding good screenshots, isn’t it?

Yes, Gossip Girl. The CW show about the lives of Manhattan’s young, wealthy elite, full of twisted love triangles, buried secrets, sexual tension and scandals-a-plenty. But please believe me, I don’t watch it for that stuff. Well maybe a tiny part of me does, but mainly I watch for the eye candy. Beautiful people, New York City, incredible fashion and inspiring interiors. It’s true; after the MCM gorgossity of Mad Men, this show has some of the best set design around (see this portfolio for some examples). While it’s all covetable, I’m going to stay somewhat on track here, and show you around the show’s kitchens.

The Bass/van der Woodsen penthouse is chic, modern and pure Upper East Side luxe. The kitchen in this apartment is a surprisingly modest size (I can’t imagine that anybody living here would do much cooking, after all), and has a clean, minimalist feel. I especially like the sliding blue panels and the open wood shelving (photos from this post at Apartment Therapy):

Gossip Girl

The dining area has a similar look, with a clean, mid-century feeling. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Upper East Side without a lush rug and an ornate chandelier:

Gossip Girl

The Waldorf home is more classic New York, all satin drapes and marble entrance halls. While that isn’t usually my style, I love the kitchen in this place. This image from Hooked on Houses shows off the white subway tile, marble countertops and industrial-looking appliances:

Gossip Girl

While no one can argue with the beauty of those spaces, it’s the trendy Brooklyn loft of the “underprivileged” Humphreys that gets the most love from me. Sure the exposed brick, random colours and retro paraphernalia might be cliché, but they’re good ones. I love the wall colour, open storage and cool pendant lamps in the kitchen:

Gossip Girl

The dining area is just as cool, relying on what looks like old diner booths for seating:

Gossip Girl

Until next time,


Posted in Inspiration, Kitchens on October 29th, 2009 by Ele | 2 comments
Tags: design, Gossip Girl, Inspiration, interiors, Kitchens, TV

Home Inspiration: Galley Kitchens
If you ask most people what their least favourite type of kitchen is, I’d wager that long, narrow galley styles would be the answer. Galleys abound where I live in the UK; they’re the norm in all the Victorian terrace houses around here. Personally I much prefer a large, open-plan room, but it’s not always possible to have that in every house. Luckily, it is possible to have a beautiful, modern galley-style kitchen, as the following spaces show.

I’ve always liked the floor in this kitchen, which I found at Brown Button. The horizontal stripes make the space feel wider, and are a nice take on the retro checkerboard look:

Home Inspiration: Galley Kitchens

Sleek design makes the most of the available space in this modern galley, from Living etc:

Home Inspiration: Galley Kitchens

You can’t see the other side of this kitchen, from Canadian House & Home, but I like what I do see. The quirky objects and bright touches bring character to the minimalist design:

Home Inspiration: Galley Kitchens

This shorter, mini-galley is modern and pristine. I found it on Apartment Therapy and loved the open shelving and calming colours:

Home Inspiration: Galley Kitchens

Also from Apartment Therapy, this kitchen is cheerful and traditional. I love the ceiling-height units, and all the bright touches:

Home Inspiration: Galley Kitchens

I think the pale, soothing colour of the units in this kitchen from house to home create more space, as do the curved countertops:

Home Inspiration: Galley Kitchens

Posted in Inspiration, Kitchens on September 24th, 2009 by Ele | 3 comments
Tags: decor, design, galley, interiors, Kitchens, long, narrow