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Five pretty, practical products for the home

Nobody wants to have to choose between pretty and practical pieces for the home. And really, why should they? There’s no reason household gear can’t be both useful and attractive. Take a look at these beautiful examples:


Fresh and cheerful takes on retro designs make Vintage Vinyl Floorcloths one of the prettiest examples of an item for the home that’s as handsome as it is hardworking. Suitable for indoors or out and super-simple to clean (a microfibre cloth and diluted hand soap work fine), they look lovely for a long time.

A soft, non-slip surface protects both your personal safety and the floor, making them perfect for every room in the house, but most especially mud and laundry rooms, kitchens, and hallways.

From Wills & Prior, the Stratford, Ontario design shop that now sells online. Twenty by thirty-inch mats sell for $59, but other sizes are available. TIP: If you do happen to swing into Stratford, pop in and see the space – it’s one of Ontario’s best-looking home decor/design stores.

Lovelier laundry:  Even dirty linen can have a little design value if you choose a basket that’s got decorative appeal (easy to find at stores like HomeSense – see pic below left) over a humdrum plastic tub.

BONUS TIP: Make laundry day easier by having a hamper on a main floor for kitchen and powder room linen. If you have them in multiple bedrooms, use the same model in each: when stacked by the laundry room, they’ll look just a touch more tidy.

If you hate doing laundry, chances are ironing is also not your idea of a good time. Why make it worse by having to hide all your gear each and every time you get the wrinkles out? The finish on CHI’s Professional Electronic Iron combines trendy black with burnished gold and a strip of lacquer-shiny red, so it looks almost ornamental on the laundry room shelf.

The rest is all business: a titanium-infused ceramic soleplate heats quickly and is scratch-resistant. Steam levels are adjustable through 300 holes on the surface. And the steam function works when it’s held vertically, so it doubles  as a hand-held steamer. A ten-foot cord is another nice touch.  Available at Hudson’s Bay for about $90.

Cardea AuSet’s Sea Mineral Soak comes in attractive glass bottles that show off the pretty pink blend of Dead Sea and Himalayan salts (featured image). Soaking in it will be good for both emotional and physical well-being, given that mix can, according to its maker, give skin a mineral boost, stimulate circulation, relieve tired muscles, up hydration, and wash away the anxieties of the day. $40 for 16 ounces.

Putting pots and pans away — only to haul them out six hours later — does seem like a waste of time and energy. Why not do like the pros and hang them from an overhead pot rack or on a bit of wall going spare? TIP: Use decorative hooks for a more polished look. Display-worthy cookware is being made by PEI-based Meyer, part of a global manufacturer/distributors that makes a self-named line right on the Island. The stuff is good enough for the Culinary Institute of Canada, the Prime Minister’s residence and Chef Michael Smith, who has a cookware collection with the brand. Pieces are made from heavy-duty 18/10 stainless steel, durable handles that are promised never loosen or fall off, and a heat conducting base that works on all cook-tops, and is oven- and dishwasher- friendly.


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