As you are probably already aware, we are just at the very tail end of a rather large renovation project that has taken most of the year – knocking down walls, adding a small extension and creating a brand new open-plan kitchen-diner. It’s been a hell of a journey and we’re closing in on the very last weeks now – the worktops and backsplash are in place, the electrician and plumber have been and gone and at this point, the only things left are for the kitchen installer to come back one last time to fit a corner worktop pantry and some internal shelving, the electrician needs to hook up one last socket inside that pantry and we need to install a brass hanging rail across one wall. We’re close – very close.
And while I realise everyone is waiting quite patiently (okay, maybe not so patiently) for the big reveal, I am frantically trying to create some order and dress the space. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a dedicated larder (basically a large cupboard to house dry goods) nor have I ever had so much storage and as I’ve been moving things from our old kitchen into the new one*, I want things to run smoothly as we use the space and well, also look good!
*In case you’re new around here – we haven’t been without a kitchen for 6 months. The original old kitchen is located across the hall from the new one – we moved the location to get a better layout and the old one will eventually be turned into a downstairs bathroom and utility room. As much as I hate the old kitchen (looks bad, functions worse), I’m grateful we’ve had it all this time!
So I thought I’d share some of the purchases I’ve made for both practicality and function as well as aesthetics as I believe whole-heartedly that these things are not exclusive. I’ve referred to them before as ‘pretty utility’ – and I think this sums up quite well what I’m talking about today. Functional but aesthetically pleasing as well is a win-win combination in my books.
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First up are these gorgeous linen tea towels I bought from The Future Kept. Don’t get me wrong – I know the old, battered cotton towels you have in your drawers are the ones you can’t help reaching for again and again because they are already so soft and worn after being laundered 100 times that they wick away any moisture but my goodness, mine were stained and looking rather awful.
These beauties are a little pricey, yes, but their soft rumpled texture is so gorgeous tactile and they are incredibly absorbant from the first use – so they have all the great qualities of your old tea towels as soon as you start to use them. I bought three (one in rose, one in sage and one in ochre) but I think I may just need to purchase a few more and let go of the old stained ones forever.
Inside the pantry, these little spice jars caused quite a stir when I shared them on my Instagram Stories. The simple glass jars and cork tops make cooking even more of a pleasure and one standard supermarket-sized jar will fill these about 3/4 full so they are a good size. I purchased them all from Amazon (I bought 2 sets of 12 and one set of 6 – I still have a few to fill!) to round out all the many spices we use in various dishes we make weekly in a lovely, orderly fashion.
I used a white paint pen (this one) rather than use a lable to write what’s inside. So far, once it’s dry, the writing holds up pretty well and when you’re ready to change the jar’s contents, the writing washes away easily. Just remember to mark the expiration dates on the bottom! We had some old spices that had expiry dates of 2017 in our old cupboard – whoops! – so it was a timely exercise to make sure everything was up to date!
Inside the cupboard, I swapped out all my old kilner jars for bamboo-topped glass jars and I love how pretty all my dry goods look! I bought quite a few of these over the last month or so and I know have a pretty good collection going for all my dry goods. The seals are nice and tight too so I’m not worried about anything going too stale although once again, I wrote all the expiry dates on the bottom! Here are the sets I purchased: Set of 4 (various sizes) / Set of 2 (650ml) / Set of 2 (900ml) / Set of 6 (3 x 900ml and 3 x 1400ml)
I feel like I lost my love of cooking moving into this house and having to use a kitchen that was so ill-conceived with a terrible layout – it made me just want to get in, make something simple and get out again as quickly as possible! I’m so looking forward to getting back into trying new dishes again!
You can see a little sneak peek of the backsplash (it’s so pretty, can’t wait to show you the whole thing!) but you can also see the lovely brass cookbook holder (less than a tenner!) and a few new cookbooks that I purchased. Everything here is from Amazon once again: Cookbook holder / Simple by Diana Henry / Platters and Boards by Shelly Westerhausen / Get the Glow by Madeleine Shaw
I recently went to Medina Grillo’s book launch held at the MADE showroom in Birmingham and they gifted me this gorgeous gold watering can. It’s made a rather pretty and practical addition to the window sill where I have lots of plants enjoying the beautiful light we get in here. I talked about pretty indoor watering cans in a recent post – you can find even more there if you’re looking to add one to your own home.
I also received as a thank you from Medina for running a Q&A session, that beautiful little rose bush from Bloom & Wild and honestly, it’s the most perfect little present! I was so excited to receive it and it immediately found a home on my worktops! I also purchased that cute little trinket dish (great for throwing rings in when doing dishes) from Anthropologie (sadly no longer in stock) and the pink concrete candle was purchased from (the sadly now-closed) Sunday Home but you can buy it direct from Chickidee.
We’ll be installing a brass rail with hooks across the backsplash soon and of course, I wanted a few new mugs to add to my collection to display. I wanted something a bit more organic and I fell in love with these stoneware ones from Rose & Grey. The nude ones have a lovely matt plaster feel to them and the creamy white ones are huge – perfect for that large first cup of coffee I need to start my day!
Finally, these aren’t actually new and to be honest, I have been considering purchasing an Aesop hand soap for the side of the kitchen sink (because isn’t that what every stylist puts next to the sink?!) when I realised these are actually already serving me quite well. Plus, the packaging on LA Bruket’s bottles is so gorgeous and lovely to display next to the sink. The little brass dish is actually from a desk set from MADE (sadly no longer in stock) and of course, a cute copper scrubber just looks the part next to them!
There are still a few items on my wishlist for the kitchen but none of them is terribly urgent and I really need to curb my spending now! So I may end up purchasing them as time goes on and we grow into the kitchen a little more. I’m desperate for a large cast-iron casserole dish and admittedly, the Le Creuset ones are at the top of my lust list but it’s a hell of an investment even though I know we’d use it all the time. I’ve also been checking out Zara Home’s new line of kitchenware and they have some lovely pieces that I may not be able to resist. I’m also rather in love with this adorable meal planner from Rifle Paper Company.
Anyway, hopefully all the rest of the bits of the kitchen will be sorted over the next few weeks and I’m hoping to share the full reveal with you as soon as I’m able! So hang tight and hope you enjoyed the little sneak peek at the worktops today as well as some of the pretty bits you’ll see when I finally share the whole shebang. Any bits you’ve seen here today you are loving? Have you purchased any ‘pretty utility’ items lately for your home? Let me know in the comments!