Image by: Williams-Sonoma
Getting a homemade dinner on the table on a busy weeknight is easier said than done—but these seven tools and gadgets will help make prepping, cooking and cleaning up a breeze.
From time-saving electronic tools to simple products that cut down on messes, these must-have kitchen items will ensure your weeknight cooking sessions are as stress-free as possible.
Being organized and prepping your ingredients before you start cooking is half the battle. Start by having a variety of small bowls on-hand so you can easily chop and measure what you need for any recipe. This set of four microwave and dishwasher-safe bowls will help you do just that.
Mini latte bowls, Anthropologie, US$12.
Compact and easy to use, an immersion blender makes a myriad of kitchen tasks speedy. From puréeing soups and sauces to making homemade dressing and smoothies, you’ll use this hand blender on a regular basis.
Kitchen Aid Ice Blue 2-Speed Hand Blender, Crate & Barrel, $83, on sale for $55
Small tools can sometimes have a big impact, and this one sure fits the bill. A spoon rest will allow you to minimize mess while you’re cooking by giving you an easy (and pretty!) spot to place a saucy spoon in between stirs.
Gisela Spoon Rest, Anthropologie, US$12
Place silicone liners on your baking sheet in place of parchment paper. Its non-stick surface gives baked treats the perfect texture, without having to wrestle with cutting parchment paper to size. These made-in-France mats are easy to clean and roll up for fast storage.
Silpat Silicone Cookie Sheet Liners, Williams-Sonoma, $32–39
This pretty print makes a useful addition to any kitchen space. It will give you all the kitchen conversions you need at a glance so you don’t have to find all your answers via Google.
Kitchen Conversion Chart, WeJustLikePrints via Etsy $10
One of the handiest tools in the kitchen, this rasp will allow you to finely grate garlic, spices, chocolate and citrus zest in a matter of seconds.
Microplane Rasp Grater, Williams-Sonoma, $22
A cookie scoop simplifies baking by ensuring that all of your cookies, muffins and cupcakes are evenly portioned out, every time! Available in two different sizes, it helps make homemade treats that much more bakery-worthy.
OXO Cookie Scoops, Williams-Sonoma, $19–20
Industrial loft design with luxe details and an edgy appeal
Brimming with luxurious materials and industrial swagger, an edgy-meets-elegant makeover sees the union of two lofts.
In sitcoms, there’s always the jokester perpetually getting locked out of his apartment in the hallway wearing socks – or worse, far less. In real life, however, hallway humour is not so funny. Take this husband and wife who had to go out to the corridor every time they needed something from next door. They own (and inhabit) adjacent lofts in Toronto’s historic Merchandise Building. Commensurate with early 20th-century Chicago-style architecture, the building has hefty bones, high ceilings and factory windows – enthralling features that meant moving elsewhere to gain more space was out of the question. “Besides, the idea was always to merge the two units,” says the husband, joking, “but in the meantime, we had the best guest suite in the city.”
After owning the lofts for three years, the professional pair, who has a four-year-old daughter and six-year-old son, finally decided to fuse the 1,763- and 1,372-square-foot spaces. To bring the project from concept to fruition, they collaborated with Croma Design’s savvy Ryan Martin and Amy Kent. Building restrictions only allowed for a small opening between the suites, which was achieved by removing the kitchen and a small laundry closet from one unit, as well as reconfiguring the master bedroom. But it worked out perfectly. “It resulted in two separate zones: one for the family to relax in, the other for entertaining,” explains Amy. Toys are relegated to the family room in one unit, while in the other, the slick living room with its stand-out hot-rolled-steel fireplace is enjoyed when the adults are entertaining.
In the living room of this Toronto loft designed by Ryan Martin and Amy Kent of Croma Design, a standout fireplace surround made from 12 feet of hot-rolled steel creates architectural drama. Modern furnishings, hits of brass and pared-back artwork establish a look that’s at once livable and luxurious.
The dining room’s existing bar niche was updated with a Caesarstone-topped cabinet and upper shelves. An artistic take on utilitarian fluorescents over the dining table, the light fixture offers striking sculptural presence – but no harshness. “It uses LED bulbs, so it emits a warm glow,” says Amy.
The loft’s decor is all about sharp contrast and cohesion, exemplified in the long steel shelves that echo the steel-based dining table, as well as the doors of the nine-foot-long sideboard, which are the same as the ones used for the kitchen cabinetry.
The living room’s custom bookcases were so tall the contractor had to build them off-site and stack them here in components – but the extra effort was worth it. They’re a huge improvement from the cluttered stand-alones that once lived in the loft.
The weight of the kitchen’s darkness is balanced by the light and airy envelope around it, from the white surrounding walls and ceiling to the glass pendant lights. The island is equipped with open shelves to store cookbooks, which offer a hint of colour.
“We chose Caesarstone countertops because they’re durable and easy to maintain, which is great for this family, who is constantly trying out new recipes from their many cookbooks,” says Amy.
Purchase pre-made pizza dough to make this appetizer even easier!
Be the host with the most by making these delicious appetizers at your next party.
1 Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into a thin 12" circle.
3 Transfer the dough to a rimmed baking sheet, pulling and stretching with your hands to maintain the circular shape.
4 Top the dough with the squash slices. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the dough is crisp and lightly browned.
5 Meanwhile, heat the honey and chili slices in a small saucepan over medium heat until the honey is thickened and syrupy, about 2 minutes.
6 Slice the flatbread into squares. Drizzle each with a bit of the spiced honey; serve warm.
Prep & cook time: 45 minutes
Godmorgon/Braviken Two-Drawer Vanity in White
Transform your lacklustre lavatory into a restful retreat with these affordable (and stylish!) vanities.
This grey-finished cabinet is an updated take on a country classic. I love the shaker-style doors with the inlaid beadboard panels. The simple turned legs enhance its farmhouse style, while the gleaming chrome hardware adds a hint of modern flair. Ove Amber 30 Vanity, Costco, $499.99.
Sleek, stylish and small – that pretty much sums up all there is to love about this modern vanity. Its compact 19" x 10" size makes it an ideal addition for any compact bathroom, and with its clean lines and simple design, it’s especially fitting for a pretty powder room. Foremost Mackenzie Vanity, Lowe's, $254.
Appropriately named Lakewood, this whitewashed wall-hung vanity is not only a great space-saving solution, it’s also a stylish option that will lend a casual coastal look to your space. The whitewashed look is all the rage these days for flooring – so why not take that trend into the bathroom, too? Lakewood Wall-Hung Vanity in Fresca, Rona, $415.20 (sale price).
This unique vanity, with its two faucets and single elongated bowl, is just as sleek as it is functional. In other words: it’s a storage haven! With two extra-wide solid wood drawers, this unit maximizes space and makes it easy to organize and access all of your toiletries. Godmorgon/Braviken Two-Drawer Vanity in White, IKEA, $499.
Bring the outdoors in with this nature-inspired red oak vanity. Whether you’re looking to update your elegant country home or want to introduce a warm rustic vibe to your modern abode, this piece will adapt to any design aesthetic. Greenbank Vanity, The Home Depot, $319.
This miniature vanity (appropriately named “Bliss”) will let you mix-and-match colours with ease all thanks to its elegant black and white palette. If you’re drawn to softer hues, the piece is also available in white, grey and walnut. Its door also swings open so you conceal the essentials, from makeup products to toilet paper. The perfect solution when dealing with a small space. Bliss 18" Vanity in Black, The Vanity Store, $449.99.
Sometimes it makes sense to keep it classic. You can’t go wrong with this elegant white vanity, which offers an abundance of storage – not to mention the added bonus of extra counter space! Make the most of the additional room and style the counter with a cute glass soap pump and small vase of flowers. Lancaster 36-inch Vanity, The Home Depot, $395.
Calling all dark wood aficionados! If you’re tired of the all-white bathroom, make a bold statement with this two-drawer single faucet walnut vanity. This option would look even better if combined with trendy black hexagon floor tiles and a beautiful white soaker tub. Wall-Mounted Vanity, Bath Depot, $479.20 (sale price).