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Kitchen Benches vs. Kitchen Chairs

A different kitchen seating option

When you have a small kitchen or even a wee dining room – maybe even a tiny little breakfast nook – huge dining chairs with arms and upholstery can really take away from the space you do have. If you can’t shove your dining chairs all the way under your table… if you want to use a tablecloth… if it’s difficult to move your dining chairs from under the table without shifting the table, you have a problem. (And don’t even get me started on high chairs!)

The solution? Kitchen benches instead of kitchen chairs. Benefits of kitchen benches over kitchen chairs include the ability to easily stash your seating under the table when not in use, the ability to use a longer tablecloth without it bunching everywhere because chairs are in the way, and more versatility when it comes to how many people will fit at your table. The main downside of using benches in the kitchen is the lack of the back, which may not work for people with physical issues like back problems.

Anyone out there using kitchen benches instead of kitchen chairs? I’m thinking about making the switch, but I work at my kitchen table so I need to be sure that I’ll be comfortable working on a bench instead of a chair.

Reflections In the Kitchen

The first time I saw a mirror above a sink in a kitchen my first thought was, ugh, that must get SO dirty. You can well imagine the first thought I had when I saw a mirror hanging on the wall right above the stove. But hey, I’m a grownup person and I know how to use a paper towel. (And I hope we’re all cleaning anyway.) Mirrors get dirty no matter where you hang them – especially when you have little hands in your household. So mirrors in the kitchen? I’m down with that. For example, a mirror can be a great window stand-in in a windowless kitchen, or open up a small kitchen. See how good a mirror in the kitchen can look?


William Abranowicz for House Beautiful


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More Mismatched Dining Room Chairs!

So as it turns out, I wasn’t quite finished with the subject when I posted about mismatched dining chairs a few weeks back. Problem was I had lots more images of great dining room “sets” featuring a varied selection of chairs. Sometimes it’s the color that’s different, sometimes it’s the pattern of the seat upholstery, and sometimes it’s just a great mix of chairs that have absolutely nothing in common. Anything goes when you’re picking out your dining room furniture – have fun with it!

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A Wise and Whimsical Way to Sweeten the Table

I love this pretty porcelain owl sugar shaker from West Elm. Owls are still a making an appearance on everything from pillows and tea towels to umbrella stands and mobiles, but I think this one is my favorite because it’s not super in-your-face.

While it’s listed as a sugar shaker, I don’t see why you couldn’t fill it with salt or cinnamon sugar or something else.

What do you think of owls – cute or super overrated?

Not Necessarily My Style, But I’m Still In Lust

I don’t know the story behind this table – I found it on my wanderings and a Tineye search yielded nothing – but I’m finding it really, really inspirational. Normally, I lean toward Saarinen’s beautiful Tulip table when I think of how I’d like to outfit my kitchen. But there’s something about invading my rather artificial and absurdly colorful cooking and eating space with natural, unfinished wood that makes me feel a little giddy.

Does anyone else get a kick out of doing that – of taking something ridiculously out of place and making it the focal point of a room that’s decorated in a completely different style?

Soup and a Sandwich? Yes, Please!

There’s not much that’s more comforting on a cold winter’s day than a bowl of piping hot tomato soup and a warm grilled cheese sandwich. But if you’re like me, figuring out how to serve it – or at least get it to a location that is strategically chosen for movie viewing – is a big pain. A plate and a bowl, and two trips? Or a small bowl on a big plate, where the bowl is sliding around everywhere, threatening to spill soup? I know, I know, I sound like one of those cheesy, inept people on an infomercial… “Opening jars, what a hassle! And it’s so hard!” Still, I do like this soup and sandwich plate from Uncommon Goods for its ability to keep my soup where it belongs.

My Very Favorite High Chair

The Stokke Tripp Trapp is, in my opinion, the best high chair out there. If you’re starved for space but still need to feed a baby or toddler, it simply takes the place of a normal dining chair right at the table. Add to that the fact that they’re easy to clean and come in amazing colors like red and purple and black aaand they’re just so much cooler than the plastic monstrosities covered in animal prints that can absolutely overtake a kitchen.

What else can I say? My daughter loves sitting in her red Stokke Tripp Trapp because it means she gets to sit at the table with mama and papa instead of off to the side, and that I think is my favorite thing about it.

The one caution I’d offer up is that some people have posted videos of their toddlers tipping the Tripp Trapp. Personally, we’ve never had that happen and I’ve heard that it’s only really an issue if the seat isn’t placed correctly for the height of the table. And every Tripp Trapp high chair comes with base extenders for anyone with a particularly leggy toddler.

Has anyone out there reading had a different experience – perhaps an instance of a tipping Tripp Trapp in your own household? I’d love to hear about it because it seems exceedingly rare.

Unusual Mugs, Two Ways

Mugs… if you like hot beverages, you probably have at least one, if not more. Mugs can be a lot of things, from functional and green to cutesiepoo to a little bit silly. I’d say there’s no wrong way to mug it, as long as your chosen mug holds enough coffee, tea, or chocolate for your tastes and isn’t cracked. You might think that mugs are pretty perfect – i.e., there’s not a lot of places a designer could take them – but you’d be wrong. Here are two mugs, one that’s trying to solve what may be a common problem and one that may be solving a problem of which I am unaware.

Unusual mugs, the first: Designed by Jonathan Aspinal for Thelermont Hupton, Link Mugs help solve the carrying of numerous mugs without the need of a tray. Each mug can be plugged into each other so they can be lined up, connected together and transported with two hands. They’re sold in sets of three, but I wonder if you could carry more.

Unusual mugs, the second: German Designer Lisa Grahner created modular mugs (along with other dishware) that have interchangeable magnetic handles. Clic ceramics were shown at Strijp-S Exhibition during Dutch Design Week. If they ever go into production, let’s all hope those magnets are strong.

What’s your favorite mug?

More Fun Than the Counter Tops You Probably Have

First came chalkboard paint, then came whiteboard (dry erase) paint. And I think both are super cool! We already put up an amazing magnetic chalkboard in my daughter’s room – and I’m almost all set to do the surface of our kitchen table in chalkboard. Next stop, whiteboard in the office!

But it never even occurred to me to use dry erase paint on surfaces! You can get a whiteboard table from Powells, for example. Or you do what someone did in the space pictured above and cover your boring kitchen counter tops with whiteboard paint. While I don’t know how the finish would, ahem, stick around, I can say for sure that it would be fun while it lasted!

Have to Have a High Chair? Make It a Good One

As someone with a toddler and a teeny tiny kitchen, I’m just a little obsessed with high chairs. We were originally using a bulky secondhand Graco (for which we were extremely grateful) and then a slightly smaller, but still overwhelming Fisher Price high chair (for which we were also very grateful), and someone in my family was kind enough to buy us an amazing red Stokke Tripp Trapp. Of course, we’re eternally grateful for that!

Naturally, because my Tripp Trapp is red, I love seeing other moms’ red high chairs, whether it’s a fancy pants Bloom or something homier, like the above high chair, painted by red by the gorgeous voice behind The New Domestic. I’m waiting to hear back re: what paint she used, because I’ve come into possession of a Jolly Kids high chair and want to paint it red to match the Tripp Trapp.

What should you walk away with after reading this post? Consider that whether it’s a high chair or a tallboy that you’re looking for, make it a good one. And if you can’t find exactly what you can see so clearly in your mind’s eye, there’s a good chance that you can take something similar and turn it into what you were looking for.

Image seen on Melissa’s Wild Parma Adventures

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