Category Archives: Kitchen

Falcon enamelware – back (but never really gone)

It’s always interesting when older British brands reinvent themselves for a new generation (or perhaps more accurately, a nostalgic older generation). Now it’s the turn of Falcon enamelware, which is rebranding/relaunching itself at this year’s London Design Festival. The product is pretty much the same – Falcon’s near-indestructable blue and white kitchenware has been around since the 1920s and has seen off millions of happy campers, students and lovers of simple design – although with some new products (tumblers in grey and red) that won’t detract from the original functional feel. If you’re at all interested in branding, take a look at their website to see how the company now presents itself – the minimal cardboard packaging and site design fit the current vogue for utilitarian homewares (see Baileys or Labour and Wait, for example), with natural-looking food photography that taps into that whole Brits-know-best, pies-and-crumble school of cuisine. It’s all very sensitively done, and I’m sure that it will win the company lots of new fans. Read a bit more about the teams behind the rebranding on Creative Review‘s blog. Falcon is officially relaunching at this year’s London Design Festival, at the Tramshed on Rivington Street, a venue that should provide just the right mix of nostalgia and functional design as the products themselves.



Perfect harmony: how to zone your living space

This Sydney house, recently posted by Contemporist, is such a good example of how to zone and integrate an open-plan space. It’s a decorating conundrum that’s becoming more and more relevant – we may not have a vast room to play with, but nonetheless most of us are doubling up on our room’s uses (living/dining room, living room/kitchen, or, as here, a combination of all three) and want to make them feel distinct but unified. Designed by Carter Williamson Architects, it creates a harmony between living room and kitchen by mimicking the shape and finish of the kitchen cabinetry and the living-room sideboard; meanwhile, further cabinetry at the rear of the room is floor to ceiling, handle-free and white, so it just melts into the wall – it barely feels like a kitchen at all, which is just what you want if it’s occupying the same space as your living room. Other colours and finishes are also picked up and linked together, while the uniform flooring and walls (not so sure about the naked breezeblock wall) also help to hang it all together.

Trends: the art of understatement

Shops, of course, want you to but things, but they’ve got to tread carefully when it comes to looking all sensitive about our new age of austerity. So they’re tapping in to our desire to go back to basics, and reconnect with things that are natural, handmade, and, so the argument goes, somehow more authentic and resonant. John Lewis has named this trend ‘Puritan’ and it’s about right – a bit austere, simple shapes, free of too much decorative fuss, lots of natural materials (stone, wood, linen, rope), in muted colours such as taupe and washed-out blue. Brands such as Toast have been doing this kind of thing for ages (and Conran for much longer, since all that stripped-pine-French-farmhouse-rustic-chic came in in the ’60s), but now there’s slouchy linen bedlinen, drippily glazed earthenware and rough-hewn wood all over. It’s all very soothing and gentle. Of course, you could go the other way in times of austerity and embrace the trend for eyeball-screaming neon, as I will be. It’s up to you. I can’t deny that these things are very easy on the eye though, and thanks to the subtle colours, really easy to mix together as well:

Clockwise from top left: Zena rattan shade, £24,98, B&Q; Lazy Linen bedlinen, £205 for a set (2xpillowcases, duvet cover, sheet), The Sleep Room; Eve cup and Saucer, £22.50, Toast; Puritan stoneware jug, £30, John Lewis; horn salad servers, £38, Summerill & Bishop; Baltic cushion, £20, Casa Couture by House of Fraser (coming soon!); Leroy stool, £49.99, Zara Home; Carved dish, £29, and salt bowl/spoon, £15, Plümo


Comedy oven mitt

Those novelty aprons with underwear printed on them are so over. Replace with these equally novelty oven mitts from Berry Red, found via very good kitchenware blog kitchencritic. Heh heh. I think it’s the hairy wrists that get me.

Lego homewares

Lego can do no wrong. Unless I step on it with bare feet, in which case in can get back in its box and not come out again until it’s thought about what it has done. Here are some homewares from its online shop – a perfect match for French designers Muchausen’s Lego kitchen island (as spotted on The Cool Hunter). Or James May’s lego house, RIP.

Minifigure kitchen scales

Pro-builder toolbox (really? A professional builder would have one of these?)

Salt and pepper shakers

Jelly mould

Munchausen's lego kitchen

1950s classic: a new old English Rose kitchen

I’m all for salvaging in favour of splashing out, but sometimes there’s just nothing left to salvage. I’ve been idly checking out the wonderful Salvoweb for a while to see if there are any English Rose kitchens going begging, hoping to snag a bargain. But there are very few of them about, what’s left always looks a bit knackered, and what are the odds of it actually fitting your existing kitchen? So I was very pleased to find out that John Lewis of Hungerford are doing a very passable looky-likey, its Creme de la Creme range. You won’t get that thrill of discovering a modern classic at a knockdown price (far from it, unfortunately) but you will get the same scrumptious curves, ice-cream colours, metallic handle indents and, most importantly, that vibe of post-war, never-had-it-so-good optimism.


Autumn/winter Argos catalogue picks

I flippin’ love it when the new Argos catalogue comes out. Not ‘cos it’s packed with amazing things to buy; more, it’s really not at all packed with lovely things to buy, but I like finding the nuggets of goodness that might sit well in a stylish house and you’d never know. I used to get the same buzz going round Woolies but that dream is over. Slim pickings this time, but here are some good inexpensive bits.


Clockwise from top left: Bentwood white chair; red Doughnut chair; Karlsson rainbow wall clock; Warsaw walnut melamine table and benches; See See Sanctuary tea towels; white metal six double hook rail; cowhide rug; cuckoo clock; aluminium cylinder shade; candy spot and stripe duvet covers (also available as a double); Pi desk