Considered items for elevating and inspiring everything you do, from washing the dishes to feeding your pet.
Maybe I’m just artsy-fartsy a year into my life as a creative, or maybe it’s the two+ years of a global pandemic we’re all trying to survive, but I’ve been paying a lot more attention to alllll the life that happens in-between the big stuff. We wash dishes probably 20x more than we go out to dinner, so why not try to make the dishwashing pretty? Or prettier, I guess. And the fun thing about design, or at least the kind of design I like to practice, is that it is all about those little moments! I want every house I work on to be just as good for folding laundry and taking out the trash as it is for Friday night cocktail parties.
Good design and carefully-considered details really can enhance everyday life.
I am certainly not advocating for going out and buying a bunch of stuff in case your friend stops by for a glass of wine and you want to “elevate your experience” (lol) but I do think we mindlessly buy a lot of UGLY stuff that doesn’t have to be so bad. I am really conscious of everything I bring into my home, and as a general rule I try to only buy things that I would proudly display. Our homes are full of utilitarian items, so why do we ignore them when we decorate? Why not, whenever possible, involve these everyday items in the designs of our homes? Ironically, the art on our walls and the decorative vases on our shelves are so inconsequential in our everyday lives, and the things we really interact with are often just plain ugly.
I’ve rounded up the objects, brands, and ideas that I’ve used to elevate my mundane, everyday life. I 100% (emphasis on the 100%) own ugly, practical items. Of course I do, we all do. But I also try hard to add a little joy and a little pretty wherever I can, and I think you should too! (PS. I think your mom and brother and teacher should too, so, consider this an ASI gift guide.)
Candles, Incense, and Lighters
I think having fire around, even just a small candle, makes such a difference in any experience. Every morning I walk into my office and light an Alder and Loam candle with my pretty brass lighter. These are the small details I am talking about. Maybe it’s just me (in that case, awkward that I wrote this whole thing) but just lighting a candle with a match or a cool vintage lighter makes me happy. Pro tip: good looking lighters are GREAT, but kind of expensive and disposable. I buy vintage lighter covers instead and pop them over any Bic. Way better than a bright pink plastic lighter, in my opinion.
Alder and Loam candles
Anybody else hate ugly scissors? No, just me? Well, if you’re with me, look no further. June Home Supply is my go-to for pretty home and office wares. I am not new to beautiful, artisanal homeware stores, but have never found one with reasonable prices. Yeah I don’t love ugly scissors, but am I going to spend $40 on good-looking ones? Heck no. $10? Totally.
Shampoo and Conditioner Bottles
I have often been tempted (and more often than I’d like to admit, conned) by beauty products with good branding. I am EXACTLY who they spend their millions of dollars of marketing money for—an innocent young lady who just wants her shampoo bottle to look pretty. Almost always, these brands are extremely overpriced and actually don’t produce a great product, so I’m over that. My solution? Decanting my soaps. Obviously.
SO much of our life is spent in the kitchen and if you’re like me some of those kitchen hours are really lovely--cooking with your family, groovin’ to some music and drinking wine-- and some are really unfortunate (I’m looking at you, pile of dirty dishes in my sink). I try to make the lovely times even better with pretty kitchen wares, and make the ugly ones just a little happier with good looking (and smelling!) supplies.
Cleaning & Laundry Supplies
Ah, the unanimous least-favorite task. My favorite way to make cleaning a little more enjoyable is some good jams and a cup of strong coffee, but that is closely followed by some good looking cleaning supplies. I think this is a good place to reiterate that I think spending tons of money on chic home supplies (especially cleaning products) is silly, and I really don’t mean to advocate for abandoning your old stuff and replacing them all with new, pretty things. But, if you just moved and need some cleaning supplies anyway, maybe it’s worth it to spend a little more on some things? Or, maybe your broom is old and dirty and needs to be replaced anyway. If so, here ya go! My favorite brooms! (Wow, is this so dull? What am I even saying!?)
Ever think about how much time you spend in your car? I only recently started diligently tracking my driving time for work and WOW, it’s a lot. There are a few things I do to try and make my driving experience slightly more enjoyable, especially in the winter.
Sheepskin (lol yeah, I keep a sheepskin on my driver’s seat. So cozy! PS. These are all sustainably farmed!)
Now THIS is a good one. Aren’t standard countertop appliances SO ugly? And they take up a huge part of our kitchen and, by extension, home. I actually didn’t have a microwave for literally years mostly because they’re so ugly. That’s a little embarrassing to say out loud, but I did finally find some good-looking, affordable options so...you’re welcome. (PS. These would make some especially awesome & practical gifts!)
And last but very much not least, the often hideous but potentially very cute pet supplies! I have to admit we have not invested a lot into chic pet supplies but I am READY to. We have a dog bed in our living room and one in our bedroom, so they honestly take up a lot of real estate in our apartment. Our dog is only two but is done growing, so I feel like a chic and comfortable bed is a good investment for him…. and me :)
Toys (Ok, not the best looking thing I’ve posted about but it’s SO GOOD. We’ve had ours for at least a year and it’s still our dog’s favorite toy.)
My hope-- for my clients, myself, my family, and all of you-- is that we can all learn to appreciate the little moments in our lives and use considered, conscious products to enhance them. Whether it's a glass of wine by the fire or laundry on a Sunday, enjoy it loves...it's all we got!