IKEA, Fakesgiving, and some stuff I like.

I was one of those kids who was really interested in the private lives of my teachers. In third grade, I still had trouble reading words over about 5 letters long, but I knew where my teacher was from (Louisiana), her daughter’s name and age (Alexa, age 14), where she lived (a townhouse not far from us), the breed, age, and weight of her dog (Beagle, Rocket, approx. 40 pounds—he was a sausage), his diet to help him slim down (mixing canned green beans into his dog food), among plenty of other stuff. All of the arbitrary details that my instructors would just sort of offhandedly mention somehow got filed into this creepy subconscious Catalogue of Important Facts in my young brain, which evidently didn’t leave a lot of room for stuff like multiplication and division. Those things took way longer for me to pick up.

I’m still basically like this. I often forget what some of our close friends even do for a living, but I remember exactly where they’re from, where they went to school, when, how, and where they met their longterm boyfriend (whose occupation I similarly cannot recall), the name of their childhood family dog. It’s a mild issue in my life.

In college, I had this amazing writing professor. I loved him. Everything on the syllabus was so good and stuff I’d never read before, and his critique was always spot on, and he was just the best. He was a Serious Writer—published many times over, awarded, that type of thing—and the other students seemed to split between about 10% total reverence and 90% complete fear. It was a seminar-style class so really that 10% represents 1 person. Maybe 2. But anyway. He was great.

Why was he great? Well, I can’t totally remember by most typical metrics. Writing. Awards. I told you more or less what I know already. But one thing I do know is that he lived in Red Hook in Brooklyn, which is where IKEA is. And one time after class I casually asked if he ever went to IKEA for lunch, or just to hang out, because I’d probably do that if I lived within walking distance. And that’s when it started.

“Oh my god, have you seen the new PS collection? So much good stuff.”

“I really need a new sofa, but I can’t decide between the KARLSTAD and the KIVIK.”

“The only thing I miss about my old apartment is my PAX wardrobe. That thing was magic.”

It turned into a weekly thing. 3 hour seminar, followed by hour-long conversation outside about the merits of various IKEA products and our general, genuine love for the place. We were kindred IKEA spirits, and it was beautiful. This one time, another student tried to join in and make the case that IKEA was not all we were cracking it up to be, and things did not end well for that student. Because here’s the thing: whether you like the IKEA shopping experience or assembling the products or the products themselves at all, these things don’t negate that IKEA, I think, is the only company that has actually fulfilled the promise of modern design. Mass produced, affordable, well-designed products for regular people. That’s pretty exceptional. In the world of IKEA, nearly anybody is entitled to live with good design. I don’t really think of myself as having a lot of fondness for multi-billion dollar corporations, but clearly I have a soft spot.

A few weeks ago, something happened: IKEA approached Max and me about putting together a little Thanksgiving story. Since obviously it would have to run before actual Thanksgiving, I have been referring to it as Fakesgiving. They wanted Max to do the photography and post about it on Design*Sponge (where he’s senior editor now—go Max!), but I guess they wanted me to be in a picture or two and help style and then tweet about it. At first I was like…”wait, I’m not even supposed to write my own post? But I have so much to say!” But then I was like…”screw it, I’m going to write a post anyway.” So we decided on kind of a simple, modest Scandinavia-meets-Hudson-Valley vibe, got to go pick up a few IKEA products I’ve had my eye on, cook a bunch of food, and set up Fakesgiving in our dining room at 2 in the afternoon. It was a good practice run for when we do it for real. Then we invited a couple of friends over that night, stuck everything back in the oven for a bit, and pretended it was all for them.

So there. The Thanksgiving story is posted over on Design*Sponge, featuring a couple of recipes I made and some nice pictures of our dining room all gussied up. Instead of rehashing that post here, I woke up this morning thinking it might be fun to throw together a few of my current favorite IKEA products—some new, some old standbys. Just, you know, because. For the love of it I guess.

ikea

1. RYSSBY 2014 Pitcher: How very adorable is this sweet enameled pitcher thing? It’s got that classic rustic kind of vibe I like for our house because it blends nicely with vintage/antique serving ware and whatnot. I don’t think I’ll ever get over my enamel phase.

2. RYSBBY 2014 Throw: We threw this on top of my DIY bench at Fakesgiving, and it’s so cute! We already have a couple of heavy-duty thick wool blankets around the house, so I actually like that this one is on the thinner side—easier to throw over the arm of a couch or a chair and just a nice, cozy throw. So classic and sweet.

3. FULLFÖLJA Scissors: I haven’t seen these in person, but that’s a cute set of scissors! I love IKEA for useful, pretty, simple items like this. Their stainless steel and wood spoons are almost all we have in our kitchen for cooking utensils, and the quality is excellent.

4. UTBUD Serving Bowl: For some reason I can’t seem to find this on the website, but this bowl is really nice! It’s very sizable—perfect for serving big salads and stuff like that. We have a lot of vintage/antique stoneware bowls I’ve collected here and there (Max has actually put a moratorium on bowl-buying…lame), but I generally only really use them for dry foods like breads and nuts and stuff. This one mixes in seamlessly with the collection, but without possibly hazardous lead in the glazing and wear from years of use. It’s delightfully heavy.

5. SENIOR Casserole + Lid: When I bought this pot about a year ago, I actually considered writing a whole post about it because it’s just that nice. The outside is enameled cast iron and the inside is cast iron, and the whole thing is appropriately thick and weighty. I’ve grown to really like cooking on cast iron—it retains and distributes heat so well, and a well-seasoned pot/pan is fairly non-stick by nature. This one leaves nothing to be desired, honestly—it’s the highest quality piece of cookware I own, and it’s good-looking. I don’t own the smaller casserole or the pan, but I always really want to buy them if only just to round out the set in case they get discontinued.

6. TEKLA Dish Towel: I love the simplicity of the TEKLA dish towel. I use them for tons of stuff, but I like for mine to go through a very specific cycle: when they’re new, they make really pretty, casual-fancy napkins (especially in the DIY copper napkin rings I made for Fakesgiving!). Once they get a couple stains that don’t come out in the wash, they turn into dish towels. Once those start to wear out or get a little ratty looking, they go into the cleaning/shop rag category. Not bad for a 79-cent item!

7. KASTRULL Pot: As soon as these came out (there’s a smaller saucepan, too), I really wanted an excuse to buy one or both. Fakesgiving was my excuse. They’re just very adorable. Since they’re enamel over fairly thin steel, these probably aren’t going to cut it as everyday cookware, but they’re great for things like sauces and soups (and gravy, Fakesgiving style). I learned this the hard way with my Dansk-Kobenstyle pot, which is similar—thinner enamel cookware just doesn’t hold up well to cooking where stuff is liable to get stuck. But anyway. Cute.

8. GUNNERN Lockable Cabinet, Red: I just bought one of these recently, and the quality is GREAT. It actually came all in one piece, too! I like that it locks, because I like secrets.

9. SANNOLIKT Curtain Rod: Woah, hold the phone. I’m really weirdly into this curtain rod, and this is coming from somebody who really struggles (insofar as one can really struggle) with curtains. A big part of my issue with curtains is that finding a good rod is tough. This one I could get down with, though, and I can see it working well in all kinds of spaces. I’ll have to check it out in person next time I’m there, but this picture has me intrigued.

10. RYSSBY 2014 Cushion Cover: I keep my eyes out for fun, graphic throw pillow covers (I feel like it’s surprisingly hard to find good ones) and these are cute! Printing it on the unbleached linen/cotton blend really makes it, I think. The two sides also have different designs, so it’s kind of like two pillows in one! I like a ton of the stuff from the RYSSBY linethe cake stand has this same pattern on it, and we used that to serve pie at Fakesgiving. In other news, I have a cake stand now! FANCY. PANTSY.

Remember to go check out Fakesgiving on Design*Sponge! Is IKEA part of your holiday tablescapes?

I can’t believe I just wrote “tablescapes.” LOL.

But seriously I want to know.

This post is kind-of-sort-of-but-not-really in partnership with IKEA USA? Thanks, Big Blue n’ Yellow!

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80 Comments

  1. Happy Thanksgiving, Daniel and Max! As a born and raised Swede I’m happy to see you defend IKEA’s honor. I’m writing this in my 17 year old IKEA kitchen in San Francisco, and it still looks and works just beautifully, so IKEA is indeed a large part of my daily life. Plus I used IKEA kitchen cabinets in the bathroom for a higher vanity counter. It’s lunchtime here and your mac and cheese looks very yummy. Thanks for the recipes, and thanks for all your wonderful writing.

  2. I LOVE IKEA (and most Scandinavian design). My boyfriend’s kitchen and closet/storage space is all IKEA, and I must admit I took photos the first time I was @ his place while he was in the bathroom. I’m in Toronto regularly, which fortunately has one. Another between Hamilton & Burlington.
    Everybody here in Buffalo has gotten excited over a Trader Joe’s moving in, and an impending Whole Foods as well. I have been maintaining that the arrival of an IKEA will really seal the deal on this town’s upswing….if ever….
    BTW, here in the north part of the city, less white than elsewhere. Happy Thanksgiving!!

  3. Who can resist the allure of Ikea?

    Have to add that I feel about a million years old b/c I could have sworn Ikea *just* opened here (so how could anyone look back on a college professor who lived near ikea) but nope, it was 6 years ago. Sheesh.

  4. how timely..since I’m taking tommorrow off and going to Ikea is part of the plan….red slipcovers and xmas decorations….oh my.

    love the pictures…not staged at all..LOL….but the house and both of you look great….

    • Some of their Christmas stuff is SO cute this year. And they have a really nice wrapping paper selection down near the storage boxes!

      • the christmas wrap is the best..you get so much for so little…..and nice patterns
        you would laugh if you saw how much Ikea I have in my house….ektorp sofas….tullsta chairs…it’s just too practical and reasonable and frankly nice…
        I’m going to check out that wool blanket..haven’t seen that in mine…maybe it’s newish
        love Ikea..there I’ve said it.
        happy thanksgiving to you and Max.

  5. Those brussels sprouts look so good! I love my SMARTA dishes and use them all the time.
    In one of the D*S photos it looked like you swapped out your cabinet hardware in the kitchen – the knobs don’t look like those dowel pulls that you made. Maybe I missed a post on this, but since I’m in the market for new cabinet knobs, I wondered if you had found some that you’d recommend. It’s frustratingly difficult to find hardware that looks nice but also feels nice to use.

    • Sorry for the slow reply, Caroline! Yes, we switched out the knobs (you can read a little more about that in my reply to SLG below, if you want!)—it just happened recently and seemed like such a small thing that it wasn’t really worth posting about. Good eyes! These are the new ones…they were pretty much just the plainest, cheapest thing I could find in a pinch! Absolutely nothing special, but we outfitted the whole kitchen for under $50 and the quality is nice and all that. :)

  6. I miss the Hudson Valley (it’s where I’m from). The red and brown throw is definitely a HV flair!

  7. “i like that it locks, because i like secrets”
    ^ you placed that thought so perfectly!
    :) smiles and a chuckle ensued!

  8. Huge congrats to Max! You two make me feel so old and unsuccessful sometimes. No hard feelings though!

  9. Is it wrong that on a trip to IKEA a month ago I bought half of the item you listed (along with much more), and then went back again and bought an extra pair of those scissors, two of the tape dispensers, and an extra Strala lantern (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/90287762/) just in case? The Ryssby line is fantastic, and I have gotten great everyday use out of the kustrull pots. Just make sure to wash them right away and you won’t have to worry too much about things sticking. I too am also seriously considering those curtain rods.
    But my favorite thing about your post is the comment about IKEA truly fulfilling the modernist vision. It makes me wish DWR would take a page out of the IKEA playbook, or change there name to Design Within Physical Reach, because that is all they are.
    Anyway, love your work, as always

    • LOVE the DWR comment. Get their catalogs; and would actually like to buy much of it if they could just move the decimal point on the prices. Within WHOSE reach?

  10. Nice choices for your dining room. I like the way Ikea always fits in when putting together a special get together. I have from over the years a few bowls, a few plates, a few glasses, a few key utensils and that cute little table lamp with the pull chain on my buffet.

  11. Loving the curtain rod and the throw. As usual you have picked out the best. But Daniel, you appear to have changed the knobs on your kitchen cabinets. What happened to the lovely dowel knobs??

    • Thanks, Pippa! I can’t believe so many people noticed the knobs, haha! My response to SLG below explains it. :)

  12. Of course I love IKEA (the best part about moving to a new city last year was that IKEA was only 20 minutes away from my new place!), but can I just say that the best part of your posts are the stories you tell to introduce whatever it is you’re talking about? Never change.

  13. I LOVE IKEA. I think all of the items you picked out are great, and look so darn cute together. I can’t resist a cute pair of scissors. It’s a problem. I think I have like 15 pairs in my 315 square foot apartment and I can never find any of them. I don’t even know how that’s possible.

    • Oh, I HEAR you! We have SO many scissors and I always, always have to hunt a pair down when I need them!

  14. When I first saw your post drop into my email box and saw the title, I thought, oh good, we get to see your dining room gussied up! Truth be told, you guys did a fantastic job with pulling it together.

    Love, love, love IKEA, and have been able to shop at one that is not far from my place for nearly 20 years as that’s when ours opened – and was, and is still housed in former airplane hangers. However, today it’s twice, or 3 times it’s original size when it opened in 1995.

    It’s getting time to head down again and see what’s new, and yeah, brave the holiday shopping crowds…

    BTW, I think your PH5 lamp looks great in the dining room.

  15. I really enjoyed the post on DesignSponge. I hate to be the weirdo who notes a possible error, and it’s probably something on my end with my browser, but the word IKEA doesn’t appear in the text of the post where it should be appearing. Anyway, just in case it can be fixed… if it’s a problem on my end, my apologies for bringing it up.

    “With a little bit of help from our pals at , we have …”
    “This post was created in collaboration with . Their selection …”

    I hope your actual Thanksgiving is wonderful!

    • I had that issue too – until I turned off my ad-blocker! Then IKEA appeared and a bunch of product links.

      ps. great post Daniel!! I love your story telling :)

  16. Where are those plates from?
    They remind me of Vignelli plates and I am looking for a non plastic version of those! Thanks! xoxo

  17. I want to know about the knobs too, especially since I’m about to duplicate your dowel-DIY for my own kitchen. I was all excited n’stuff. Did they not work out? Should I call it off before it’s too late?

    • Sorry for the slow reply!! So the knobs…there ended up being two issues, which I think are both solvable but Max was getting fed up and we decided to just buy something cheap rather than mess around with me trying to redo the project. First, they weren’t aging super well—originally I just used a spray clear-coat varnish stuff, but a couple coats of polyurethane would have probably been better. The higher-traffic knobs and ones exposed to moister near the sink started to look sort of dingy and yucky after a bit but wouldn’t really clean up. The other issue was that some of them started to spin on their screws and a few just came loose entirely after some use—I think using larger (and coarse-threaded) wood screws would have helped with that, but I’m not sure! I never blogged about it because I didn’t want to recommend them preemptively if they didn’t last—not saying they couldn’t, but mine needed some tweaking. I miss them a little bit!

      • You’re alive! I was starting to get a little worried there. Hope the mono is staying away. (I know it’s weird to be worried about an internet stranger’s health but I hope it’s encouraging to know there are lots of folks cheering you on and wishing you a speedy and permanent recovery.)

        And thanks for the intel on the knobs! Super helpful. I may still try it. I have this crazy idea to sand out a bit on the bottom with a circular sander (dremel?) to make them this shape: http://www.thehardwarehut.com/catalog-product.php?p_ref=790

        But I don’t know why I’m even thinking about that when I still have to paint all my cabinet doors. Maybe I need to start making sane life choices and just buy something cheap and sturdy from Home Depot.

  18. One time I called the decorative setting of a table for blogging/photography purposes, a “potemkin table.” I thought this was very clever of me, but no one else seemed to appreciate it. Fakesgiving is also clever, but a lot more accessible. I read the Design Sponge post and got really excited for a second because I thought maybe the gold flatware was from Ikea and that I could also buy gold flatware from Ikea and that that would mean I could justify the cost of having my very own gold flatware. But, no. I like Ikea anyway, though.

    • Don’t dismay, the gold flatware is not nice! Unfortunately the plating is really thin and the gold color began to wash off (with normal use, following the care instructions) after only a few weeks. Argh. We only use it when we have company over and stuff now since we don’t want it to get even worse. It was a real let-down.

  19. IKEA is reissuing some designs from the 1950’s. There’s a hanging pendant light with your name on it.
    http://gizmodo.com/ikea-is-reissuing-amazing-old-designs-from-the-1950s-an-1661287987

    • So cool! I’ve seen some of that stuff in real life and had no idea the designs were reissued. Fascinating!

  20. First time commenting, woot!

    My 30 something year old sister, to this day, cannot pronounce the “th” sound. While reading your post, I couldn’t help but hear her say, “what are you doing for Fanksgiving”, every time you wrote Fakesgiving. Ha!

    Love IKEA!!

  21. I have mixed feelings about IKEA — when it’s good it’s awesome, when it’s not, it kinda… sucks! Never the less, I’ll swear by their kitchenware: I got a StartBox from them a bzillion years ago (back when they had one with kitchen stuff and not just table ware) and the pots (maybe old FAVORIT? maybe old 365+?) still look like new and haven’t warped at all in spite of taking a licking from my other half (he’s an ex-chef :-D) They’re used daily and you’d never know it.

    I tell everyone about them ’cause I’m so impressed!

  22. I love IKEA. The closest is an hour drive away, but whenever I have A free couple of hours, I’m there. Also got a chuckle because my family has celebrated Fakesgiving together for the past fifteen years. We had always gone to my husband’s family. I decided I needed leftovers so started hosting my side of the family a few weeks earlier!. Thus, Fakesgiving was born! First time I’ve heard anyone else use the term.

  23. My love affair with IKEA, and with the Scandinavian design aesthetic began in 2010. I am an IKEA addict. This very moment, I am typing this from a desk I hacked from two Lack end tables and resurfaced with contact paper. All of my linens are from IKEA, except for the quilt my stepmother made me – and it looks pretty Scandinavian anyway and goes with everything else I have. IKEA rocks.

  24. I loved reading this post ! Sum’s up everything I always thought about Ikea, soft spot and all ;-)
    And thank you for sharing your favourite items. Most of them I hadn’t seen yet… due to self-imposed moratorium on Ikea website stalking… But OMG, I need/want every single one of these objects !

  25. So happy to have rediscovered your site! I clicked over last spring at some point from D*S and loved scrolling back through your archives. At that time, our good friends were planning their move from Maine to nearby, Hudson, and I was excited to tell them about your blog. But! I forgot to add your site to my reader… until yesterday when I saw the Thanksgiving photos on D*S. It’s been fun going back through your posts, so much has happened. I’m looking forward to keeping up with the cottage renovation (such an amazing backstory!) and following along with your adventures. And hopefully I’ll make it back down to Kingston at some point. I popped by the fantastic Kingston Wine Co. this summer on my way up to Hudson to visit our friends at their new shop (if you’re ever in the area) on Warren Street, 2 Note.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you both!

    • Thanks, Meredith! I finally met the folks from Kingston Wine Co the other day—such nice people!

  26. love it! Great pix on design sponge. I love IKEA. Growing up in SanFran my danish parents had all our bedroom furniture shipped from ikea sweden, back in the 60s! Those beds are still going strong with my nieces.

    • No way!? This is so interesting I’d love to see pictures. Someone just mentioned about whether ikea furniture was good enough to pass on.

      • If you can pass on Ikea depends. F.i. we bought one of the first Billy bookcases many years ago, it was very well made, the front of the shelves had a 5cm wide piece of wood to reinforce it and stop it from sagging, now Billy’s shelves are 100% fiberboard. Some things (like the Beckvam steps) start out very sturdy but they evolve through time, while Ikea optimises between quality and price.

    • That’s so cool, Jannike!

      Annie (and Simone!), I think the same rules apply to IKEA as apply to pretty much any company, you know? There’s a range of quality and materials across the products, and some are inevitably nicer or longer lasting than others. I’ve bought several IKEA products secondhand, including the NORDEN dining table in the photos on Design Sponge! It’s about 15 years old at this point, had its previously life in an office, has been disassembled and reassembled and transported multiple times, and it’s still in GREAT shape. I’m sure it’ll outlive me!

  27. Welp – now I gotta make an IKEA run. No one really has understood how I feel about IKEA. In fact, I posted so much about it on my FB page that my brother said to me at Christmas a few years ago “no one really cares that you went to IKEA”. Well, guess what – deleted his ass from my FB THAT DAY and we have never really gotten along since.

    • Anne- This comment made me laugh so hard I’m crying. Thanks for the fun on a rainy afternoon.

  28. Just did an Ikea run on Wednesday, another planned with Mom on Monday to get holiday stuff (left it too late last year and MISSED OUT). The one near here is doing a big re-arrange getting ready for the new kitchen system to be introduced in February (so curious about that!).
    Glad you posted those curtain rods – I need to replace my Ikea roman blinds in the porch room and those will look smashing! Also will be getting the Kivik sleep sofa soon…love that it has a slat base instead of metal bars and springs.
    Ikea has been part of my life since I lived in Toronto in 1980 or so! (yeah, prehistoric times)

  29. Daniel,
    As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your post and loved Max’s post and the photographs on Design Sponge. Every time I see you have a new post, I can’t wait to read it. I am grateful that you seem to be feeling better; you look healthy (and hot!) chopping the brussel sprouts for Fakesgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Max, Mekko and Linus! You and your sweet little family make the world a better place.

  30. Great first sentence. My sentiments exactly.

  31. Happy Thanksgiving to you both! I enjoyed both posts. It was nice to see how your home is coming together. Can you believe your dining room with walls and ceiling? From last spring it’s quite a difference. At least now you have a few rooms done and can see your vision come to pass. Your posts made me think about how many ikea items I actually have. All the furniture in my home is vintage except for the ikea pieces. Interesting. Kitchen, bathroom, most all my outdoor furniture, couple of bookcases. But my most favorite and used everyday are my napkins. They are indestructible. About 3 1/2 yrs ago I threw a bbq for my daughter’s engagement party. I bought 40 of their then blue white dish towels cut them in half, sewed up the side and voila! 80 napkins. I have used those napkins 3 meals a day for these last yrs and your right the dead ones become rags. (I had 80 after all). Oh and one time years ago, even sewed them together to make a table cloth that I use outside. So yeah, Ikea rocks. Thanks again guys, keep up the good work.

  32. ” IKEA, I think, is the only company that has actually fulfilled the promise of modern design. Mass produced, affordable, well-designed products for regular people.”
    While I agree with you wholeheartedly, I do feel that in the long run it’s not really sustainable. In the end Ikea needs us to consume, consume, consume, a couch that lasts 30 years does not really really work for their concept. Sadly.
    Also if you like secondhand things, Ikea stuff generally speaking (we have a 15 year old Moment sofa) Ikea does not produce a lot of products that trickle down to that market. So while I love it I am critical as well. Their linnen duvetcovers are great!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • I absolutely hear what you’re saying, but I also think it’s much more complex than that! I don’t think the quality issue is nearly as broad as people like to characterize it—I can think of lots of products that are designed and built to last with high-quality materials. More than that, though, I think IKEA tends to take the hit for what’s really a much more widespread problem with manufacturing and design in general. I’m struggling to think of a single mainstream company where I’d expect the quality standards to be higher, and that’s including places like Design Within Reach, where obviously the prices are astronomically higher. A veneered particleboard table is pretty much the same whether it’s from IKEA and costs $400 or from DWR and costs $5,000, except many more people can afford the first one. I see the same thing across the board—fancy, expensive kitchen cabinets that are built EXACTLY like an IKEA AKURUM one, or expensive, “custom” closet systems that are almost indistinguishable from PAX. So anyway—I’m in no way saying that our culture of consumption and disposability is OK, but I also don’t think that shopping at IKEA necessarily means participating in it to any larger degree than shopping anywhere else does.

      • I hear what you are saying and agree with you for the most part.
        However I inherited an Expedit from my mother and just that one move, hasn’t made it any prettier. I think it is a dilemma we face as inhabitants of this earth in a way and maybe a change in culture over the coming years. My step-father-in-law had an Eames lounge chair that was irretrievably broken (and he was really sad about that) he had had it for 40+ years, he could not (or didn’t want to) spend 4000 euro’s on a new one and complained about the price. I told him that if you buy one chair every 40 years, the company needs to make a nice amount of money on it in order to stay afloat in the 39 years inbetween you know?

  33. Oh Ikea. I do love thee! We used to beg our parents to take us there so we could play in the ball room (read: incubator of disease). I’m sad they discontinued most of their popular couches including the sofa-bed version of the timeless Ektorp – the rationale was that everything must now come in a box to be assembled… sad.

  34. Love your gold flatware! Guessing its not ikea but a girl can dream… But really where is it from?

    • It’s from West Elm! Unfortunately the quality is a huge let-down…we bought it in April because we didn’t have enough place settings to host Passover, and it only took a few weeks for the gold finish to start wearing off with normal use. We followed the care instructions (they’re supposed to be hand-washed, btw, which is fine for us since we don’t have a dishwasher, but probably annoying for everyday use if you did!)—I think the quality just isn’t good. We’ve reverted to just using them just when we have company over and stuff, which is SO not my style and just generally irritating, but they don’t hold up to everyday use. It’s too bad, because it is pretty!

  35. The thing about curtain rods is it’s nearly impossible to attach them to the window frame! (Or wall!) All of my curtain rods are attached with two and a half screws, one of them slanty, and maybe one desperate nail.

  36. Love the little blurb about you and your writing professor! I studied English Literature in undergrad, so I had a few like that. Terrifying at first, but once you’ve shown what you know, you just end up chatting it up during office hours!

  37. Ooooooh – that golden cutlery!

    I really like how that dining room turned out. Lovely calm colours, somehow austere without being cold. To me it looks so very colonial, I love it. Also, I like the Naked Man very much, but he seems to be hung a little low. Doesn’t he need to scoot up maybe 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 in)?

    Personally, I have this weird love/hate relationship with IKEA. It’s just a five minute drive away and it’s always fun going there. But we’ve bought so much stuff from them, now I’m actively trying to reduce the amount of IKEA furniture in the flat. Anyhow, before Christmas I will definitely need to go there to pick up some serviettes and candles and maybe some tree decorations, possibly some candlesticks… oh well.

  38. I love Ikea (especially their as-is room)! Although I am really upset at them for brutally forcing the website to close down. Really, what insane exec thought it was a great idea to close a website full of people living your products and providing resources and conversation about how to use them everywhere?! Ikeafans’ kitchen planning was awesome. At least they seem to have given ikeahackers website a stay of execution…

    • I didn’t hear about that—that sounds sad indeed! I did hear about IKEAhackers and I guess they backtracked and apologized and are working toward a resolution that’s more in keeping with the company’s ethos. Hope everything works out!

  39. I love IKEA too! Though in my part of the world, it is a fairly majority view that IKEA furniture are cheap products which don’t last. Love the pretty set up in the dining room.

    Also, you changed the knobs in the kitchen??

  40. Hello Daniel, I still check your blog every now and then and find it as entertaining and inspiring as ever! I just have to chime in about the towels. I have a stack of towels that look just like those. I inherited them from my mother and, as you can imagine, they are quite old and thin by now. Made in Denmark of 100% linen, they are the only towels I have had that are truly absorbent. Seems funny to write about my old towels, but I think you will understand. The Fakesgiving post was fun – it never occurred to me to leave my carrots whole!

  41. I think I’m the fourth or fifth person to mention the NEW KNOBS! Love them! I always thought your DIY knobs were clever, but they struck me as being not that easily grasp-able? The new ones look lovely, and I’m guessing maybe a wee bit easier to grab and pull. Also easier to keep clean?

    They look quite spiffy.

    • Thank you, Lori! I’m a little sad that the old ones didn’t last, but I like these, too. And yes, easier on both fronts!

  42. Happy Thanksgiving!

    I feel you on the IKEA love. We’ve moved around a bunch and this is the first place we’ve lived that doesn’t have an IKEA near us. The closest one is a 3 hour drive (sob). I miss it!

  43. So after living with no curtains in the kitchen or florida room we finally found the SANNOLIKT Curtain Rod thanks to you! We bought 3 and are loving them!

  44. Hi Daniel; love the new background.
    Though the line with the amount of comments is difficult to read.
    The site becomes less “flat”.
    Have a wonderful day!

    • I’m not sure what you’re referring to, I’m sorry! My site design is the same as it’s been for a long time now! Maybe the page is just loading funny or something? I’m glad you like it though, haha! :)

      • Yes, its back to it’s old self again. Maybe it was hacked? It was a picture of a corner of a house (the cottage?) with wood siding repeated. It looked really nice I must say.

  45. PS O yeah, forget to mention, what they say about beagles over here: “A beagle never has enough food.” That’s probably why a lot of them tend to be fat.

  46. That curtain rod is GENIUS. I am running out to buy six of them this weekend.

  47. I just spent three weeks in Florida, with my in-laws, without the hubster. I love them dearly (obviously) and we get along famously (obviously) and when they moved to a fabulous new condo on the water I went down with drills and tools to help with the move and settling-in. Guess what? The closest Ikea is 200 miles away and everything their designer bought was mega expensive and… not that much better. And everybody scoffed at Ikea! Until I spoke to the designer in the elevator who quickly and quietly disclosed that more than half his house is from Ikea. You go, designer dude! Nothing like spending 100K in furniture to feel good about yourself, prodded on by Mr. Expensive Decorator! I am from Europe and love Ikea but am happy to see that it’s no longer just an “European thing.”

  48. I’m ready for another update!!! I’m addicted to your renovations and I can’t get off the shit.

  49. We miss you.

  50. I miss you, too! I love your vision, your good humor and your writing. I talk about your blog all the time and refer to you and your partner as “my guys upstate.” Can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to.

  51. Miss you, too.

  52. Miss you…

  53. Ditto to wanting an update… on Thanksgiving, your house and the new reno. I miss you.

  54. May I just say I completely and totally enjoyed this post! I may be a few weeks late but it was so fun and amusing to read about the way your brain remembers the most random things and how this lead you to an IKEA friendship with your professor (as I find this non-sensical memory to be something I have as well!). And it was also so refreshing to read your about your genuine love of IKEA and the fakesgiving you had for them. Finally, I say the actual post on Design Sponge and it looked like a success :)

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