Sunday 25th October 2020
You know who you are.
Follow Me

Taking requests: Not-unattractive items for the kitchen

This challenge comes from my sister-in-law Shirim, who is redoing her kitchen and wonders why most standard items for that room are so ugly. She is not wrong; this was a challenging post to put together. But because I love Shirim, I forged ahead, and bring you, for starters, this very chic bread bin.

I like this utensil holder so much I might have to order it.

Nothing like a classic Wesco trash can.

Shirim specifically asked for me to find a good-looking toaster oven, but I am not convinced such a thing exists. Also, toaster ovens never toast to my satisfaction, so I’m going old school on this one.

I mostly like this paper towel holder because it pretty much disappears.

Shirim is having a vexing time finding a dish rack that isn’t too awful to look at, and I have to say, this was the single toughest item to find. This one from Williams-Sonoma wins, mostly because it is less ugly than most, and is compact, which is good for your average New York apartment.

It wasn’t that easy to find a good-looking coffee maker either, but I did like the look of this one.

Shirim wanted an automatic coffee maker, but my choice for most stylish coffee maker of all time is this timeless drip version from Chemex.


Posted on September 29th, 2017 38 Comments

38 Responses

    • Debra says:

      This trash can is more than I can bear! I have a stainless Simplehuman can that I’ve had forever and love. But I’m thinking about throwing it over for this one!

  1. Marisa Koten says:

    Using my toaster oven for dinner keeps the kitchen cooler than using my standard oven. Salmon dinner, roasted veggies, etc. And, I’ve occasionally baked a banana bread in there, too 🙂

  2. Sam says:

    I have that coffee maker and I love it. Looks great and makes yummy coffee.

  3. Nessy says:

    In Italy we never have dish racks visible, we hide them in an upper cabinet, using one insert like this
    to avodid ruining the wood.

    I have had one in my standard Ikea upper cabinet for the last 10 years wuthout any issues!

  4. Dana D says:

    Start my day with Chemex coffee and Kim…

    I love my A Detacher wooden dish rack. Coolest design.

    My mom gave me a Viking toaster years ago (to match the Viking standing mixer) and both of those kitchen appliances are sturdy and beautiful.

    But, I have to say, I do like Smeg in the right room.

    • Dana D says:


      Viking no longer makes toasters and the one I have has been recalled…

      The Wolf toasters are also handsome, but there are many opinions about Wolf…

  5. y.k. says:

    i had that Wesco trash can in my kitchen for a while but i had to get rid of it – way too impractical.

    it’s sure hard not to think of that word SMEGMA when i see their beautiful refrigerators & toasters.😆

    • DeDe says:

      I always think that, too! Thank you for making me feel a wee bit less like a 12-year-old! 😝

    • Linda Kerr says:


    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      Lol! Learned the meaning in college. (Late bloomer) But still, that SMEG toaster!!! I have got the shittiest toaster in the world. Really. It was slightly defective when I purchased it, but I needed to replace my old faithful, and of course I didn’t discover shitty toaster’s many faults until I got it home after a 45 minute drive. So, laziness rules.

  6. Susanna says:

    I’d use that bread bin for countertop composting. It would be perfect. Most of the ones I’ve seen are ugly plastic either issued by the city sanitation department for from IKEA.

  7. kimberly says:

    Simplehuman always makes really nice, well designed stuff for the kitchen. I believe they have a super fancy drainboard I saw at the Container Store

  8. joannawnyc says:

    I just have one of those countertop pads for drying dishes/pots and pans, like this:
    for anything that can’t/won’t go in the dishwasher.

  9. ritu says:

    Food52 has a nice dishrack in 2 versions, over-sink and countertop.

    At one time, there was a Jasper Morrison-designed autodrip coffee maker, but I’m pretty sure it is no longer in production. Good-looking, though. Chemex is hard to beat for simplicity and beauty.

  10. c.w. says:

    Once upon a time I rented a house in Taos which had a cabinet on the counter which housed ALL the countertop appliances. One of the smartest designs I’ve ever lived with, BUT in order to make it work you need a big kitchen with loads of counter space.

  11. Kim says:

    The Technivorm Moccamaster drip coffeemaker isn’t as sleek as the one you posted but it makes amazing coffee:

    We had our first one for over 10 years and it never made a bad pot.

    • DeDe says:

      A big fat YES to this! We have one too and it is hands-down the best coffee maker we’ve ever used (and we’re super, super picky). If you don’t have the time for pour-overs or just don’t wanna, this is the next best thing. Worth every penny.

    • Susan G says:

      Yup, I have the one with the glass carafe and it is nice looking and works beautifully!

    • AT says:

      Another shout out for Technivorm. I think it looks great, is well made and makes hot good coffee. Using it for about 6 years.

  12. kath says:

    I love this dish rack – it’s simple and pretty and looks so nice on my counter

  13. Kristie says:

    We love our all-stainless dish rack so much that it was one of the items that made it to storage when we shed most to move onto our sailboat:

    • mlinky says:

      Ooooh love this!

    • SoSuSam says:

      I second this one! It’s simple and striking. Weirdly, I regularly get compliments on it. (Compliments on a disk rack? Yup.) Very easy to keep clean and has lasted for 3+ years so far without any problems. After literally decades of hating the dish racks on my counter, I really like this one. No connection to the company, btw; I was just so happy to find this that I want to share the love! I actually intended to provide the link myself but was delighted to see someone had beaten me to it.

  14. Colleen says:

    I am too puerile to have the word SMEG on display in my kitchen. Too close to smegma.

  15. Stacey says:

    Does anyone have a recommendation for countertop composting? I’m not finding anything that is simple, clean, looks fantastic and something that doesn’t scream compost bucket!

  16. Angela says:

    Tell your SIL to splurge on a Jura for coffee – will do espresso & coffee (both taste amazing, and I am very much a coffee snob) you can get smaller models refurbished for a reasonable price and if you are a daily drinker/addict the cost per use is beyond reasonable! Long lasting, easy to use & clean super-automatic. I am a die-hard fan. Plus they are pretty sleek and unobtrusive.

    The simple human slim wire frame dish drying rack is great. And the toaster ovens on the william & sonoma website don’t look terrible (although some are crazy expensive!)

  17. Viajera says:

    Your round waste can is lovely… however, I find step cans easier to use, and this one can blend into the background if you have a white kitchen – it goes at the end of a counter and Bob’s your uncle.

    There are at least two kinds of people – people who care more about how things look than how they work, and the opposite. Some people hate to look at trash cans, and they should just hide it in the lower cabinet, I think. Plus if it’s small you have to empty it more, which means less smell. It really depends what your SiL’s priorities are.

    And thanks you-all for making me look up “smegma.” It sounds cool, or volcano-related.