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The kitchen | Manolo for the Home - Part 3
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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

Four to a Fork, But Why?

Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History Of Private Life just hit the shelves, so I’ve been reading and hearing interviews with him for days now. One of the questions that comes up most frequently is ‘why are there four tines on a fork?’ Or on most forks, anyway. Go ahead, have a look in your silverware drawer. You’re probably going to see four tines.

Early forks had two tines – the modernish European table fork came into being in the 10th Century, and was viewed as something of an unmanly Italian affectation for many, many years. But forks of many forms have been in use since the period of the Ancient Greeks, at least as serving implements. Early forks had two tines and were entirely straight (so no scooping), but forks with more tines quickly caught on because it’s easy to spear yourself instead of your food when you’re using a two-tined fork. Before four tines became the hottest tine number, there were three-tined forks and five-tined forks, and I even found one with six tines (for serving sardines)!

Pretty printed forks by Vintage Garden

Reflections On a Coffee Cup

Looking for something fun to buy the coffee, tea, or hot chocolate lover in your life? How about these Anamorphic Cups? The text on the porcelain saucer can only be viewed correctly though the shiny, curved, reflective surface of the cup, so the (rather pedestrian) message thereon is only for you or your dining companion. It’s indeed a cool idea, but don’t you think it would be a bit more clever with either insults or swears?

Tasty Trivets of Toast

Is there a toast lover in your life? Toast lovers are an interesting breed – if you think there’s not much one can say about what is essentially re-heated bread, I am here to tell you that thousands of people would love to prove you wrong. There are blogs devoted to toast (Dr. Toast loves two things: music and toast)… lists of ways to enjoy it… and heated debates concerned with how to properly toast bread and which toasters will rock your socks off.

Now that you know about toast lovers, here’s a little something that they might just love:

Namely, these Toast It trivets designed by Patricia Naves for Design Studio OITI. Cute, no? It just kind of works out so perfectly that the cork most trivets are made from happens to be a nice toasty brown!

Ceiling Height: The Highs and Lows

Growing up, I saw mainly your standard 8-foot ceilings. Then I lived in a flat in Germany where the ceilings (and the beautiful windows) absolutely soared. But I was only in Berlin for a year, so the culture shock I felt upon returning to the States did not involve ceiling height oppression. Now in new construction, ceilings seem to have shot up to a respectable 10 feet or so, but here I sit, writing this in a classic revival Cape with its 8 footers. Which frankly, never even caught my eye until I started looking into ceiling heights, and now I keep looking up, wondering if I ought to feel oppressed by my low ceilings.

According to an Apartment Therapy survey, the majority of people prefer a ceiling height in the 8-10 foot range, with ceilings that are ‘at least 10 feet’ a close second and very few people preferring 8-foot ceilings or something even shorter. Me? I loved the high ceilings I had in Germany and then again in Brooklyn, but I wasn’t the one paying the heating bills. And really, I love the coziness of my Cape – a quality that is in part due to the low ceilings. Also, I pay for heat now, so low ceilings are def a plus. In other words, I’d say there are benefits and drawbacks to every ceiling height, standard and taller. (I can’t think of any benefits of anything lower than 8, though.)

Since I’ve experienced plenty of both, I thought I’d talk today about some pros and cons of high ceilings and low ceilings.

HIGH CEILINGS

The Pros: They look awesome, and some people find that they feel freer in a space with high ceilings. You’ll never have trouble decorating a space with high ceilings because you’re not limited by furniture height or the size of wall art. And you can toy with the idea of a painted ceiling, if you like.

The Cons: Supposedly, a room with a high ceiling can make inhabitants feel small and insignificant, though I never noticed this myself. In a room with high ceilings, the eye is drawn to the height of the room, making the horizontal dimensions of the room seem narrower. Spaces with high ceilings can be more difficult to heat and cool, depending on the design of the home.

LOW CEILINGS

The Pros: A lower ceiling can make a small room appear wider. Easier to heat and cool, if only by virtue of there being less airspace needing temp control. Some people find low ceilings cozier and homier than high ceilings.

The Cons: Decorative ceilings and thick crown molding and things like chair rails are right out, and tall people can feel decidedly cramped even if you don’t draw attention to the lowness of the ceilings. That feeling might be even more acute in a wide room. It’s tough to find the right ceiling fans and also to jump on the bed, boo.

I told you, now you tell me: How tall are the ceilings where you live? And what ceiling height would you actually prefer?

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