Sweet Victory, at Last.

One of life’s biggest hardships and greatest injustices over the last three years or so is that I’ve been stuck with the above setup for dispensing salt and pepper onto my food. I’m not a terribly fabulous chef, so I rely heavily on these two basic seasonings to render my meals edible, and I have long dreamt of a pairing that could do the job with a bit more panache. That salt shaker has a matching pepper shaker, and while they’re cute and vintage and cost me all of a couple dollars at Salvation Army, what am I supposed to do with pre-ground pepper? What do you take me for, some kind of goddamn animal? The little plastic “temporary” pepper grinder is way too small and has to be refilled constantly and just makes me generally sad with its apathy and mediocrity.

Walking through IKEA with my pal, Anna, we both totally plotzed over these new salt and pepper mills from the new Ã„DELSTEN line of kitchen products. Made from black and white marble, the texture in real life is kind of super amazing (the lighter looking parts of the pepper mill will darken with use over time), and at 7 inches high and about 3 pounds each, they just feel nice to use. Like things that fancy people with fancy pepper would own. People who buy kosher organically-produced cage-free fair-traded artisanal salt and exotic gourmet free-range peppercorns raised on a diet of human breast milk and diamond dust. From Fiji.

The bottoms even double as cute little salt and pepper cellars, which is just all-around smart and adorable. I LOVE THEM. The whole line is beautiful, by the way, and includes probably the most amazing rolling pin I’ve ever seen that I was SO tempted to buy before realizing I’m about as likely to roll out some dough as I am to eat my own toes. Read: I’d have to be very hungry and out of hummus.

Of course, they were also $15 a pop, making them super cheap for the materials, design, and quality of construction. People talk smack about the quality of IKEA products all the time, but here’s the thing: their best stuff is really nice, and usually cheaper that their competitors’ worst stuff. They definitely make some crap that falls apart, too, but nobody’s forcing anyone to buy that. IKEA4LIFE.

Naturally, it just so happens that the very next day, Chandler was in town for the weekend and we took a little jaunt out to the Design Within Reach Annex store in Secaucus, where damaged goods and floor models go to die before people like me come along to buy them (my very damaged but mostly-fixable bubble lamp came from there, negotiated down to $65!). I know what you’re thinking: Daniel is the greatest host ever! “Here, come to Brooklyn for the weekend! We’ll spend an hour and a half driving to New Jersey and you can watch me shop!” I really know how to show people a good time.

I’ve been pining after these Muuto “Plus” salt and pepper mills designed by Norway Says for a couple years, but the $70 price tag for each one always stopped me from buying them. It always went like this:

Beautiful? Yes. Am I in a place in my life where I can justify spending $150 on salt and pepper mills? Fuck you, stupid.

But the price on this lone pepper mill was slashed in half and had no visible damage, so it kind of had to be. So what if I found perfect salt and pepper mills just the day before? I can use those for cooking, and this for eating? Like it can sit on the table and make me happy while the others sit five feet away on the counter? Sure. Why not. Let’s do this. You see my lack of options, here.

Also in the category of things I’ve wanted to happen finally happening, we found a shower curtain! Max had an idea that he wanted a black ticking stripe shower curtain to bring a sort of vintage old-school barbershop vibe to our bathroom. It wouldn’t have necessarily been my first choice (being a super-boring-white-linens-only type of asshole), but he had my support with the caveat that it be extra-long. “Go forth, my child,” I said. “Make your dreams come true. While you’re at it, work on mine too.” And it was so.

The problem was that our old shower curtain (plain white waffle, like $10 from Target) seemed awfully short once the bathroom was “done” and made the huge medicine cabinet look even more huge, towering above the curtain rod like it was. That the shower head spout is abnormally high in this bathroom wasn’t really helping matters since it was so visible above the shower curtain.

The new curtain was custom-made by Alison Daniel at the Modern Folk Shop on Etsy. The fabric is really nice and heavy, and the whole thing is really well constructed. It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to just DIY an extra-long shower curtain, but it would need to be wider than a standard roll of fabric, meaning that a seam has to be sewn down the entire thing. And sewing a really neat 8-foot seam into a patterned fabric was just way more than my sewing skills are up for. I’m only human. This Alison Daniel lady is apparently more than human though, since her seam is perfect.

Of course, we still (still!) need to find a bathmat and I still (still!) need to finish re-caulking and I still (still!) need to fix up the super painty, inoperable bathroom window. The window thing feels the most pressing, since now it’s summer and the lack of bathroom ventilation will quickly go from being kind of irritating to kind of disgusting. That’s one of those projects that sounds easy and fun in my mind but I know will leave me crying and possibly regretful and shaken to my very core. Sounds like my kind of summer activity.



My prizes.

All my sweet prizes.

Apple Store Gift Cards. Big Money. It’s not everyday this happens. In fact, this has only happened once. And it was yesterday.

Oh yeah. Now I have no excuses to pull my shit together with this kitchen thing.**

**I might still have some excuses. Like fear.

About Daniel Kanter

Hi, I'm Daniel, and I love houses! I'm a serial renovator, DIY-er, and dog-cuddler based in Kingston, New York. Follow along as I bring my 1865 Greek Revival back to life and tackle my 30s to varying degrees of success. Welcome!

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Leave a Comment


  1. 6.6.12

    Would you mind if I just copied and pasted this entire post onto my blog (minus the part where someone gives you a bunch of money, of course)? It would save me some time.

    • 6.6.12
      Daniel said:

      For you, anything.

    • 6.7.12
      Jill said:

      A small favor on my part. Can you two please produce a webisode series called “Anna + Daniel go to IKEA”? It would be the greatest thing ever. In my mind, it definitely is.

  2. 6.6.12
    Anna said:

    That new curtain is SPIFFY. Very nice.

    I have a bathroom question: I noticed from the original before photos that you had a nasty, NYC-standard flush mount medicine cabinet. How did you manage to hang the new Ikea one? Is it just over the hole or did you have to patch anything?

    • 6.6.12
      Daniel said:

      Thanks! The original medicine cabinet actually wasn’t flush-mount, just hung right on the drywall, so I just took it down and hung the new one over a couple of screw holes that were left behind. If it HAD actually been installed into the wall, though…yeah, I probably would have just hung the new one right over the hole. Maybe I would have duct-taped over the whole or something shoddy, but doing a nice patch job on something that’ll be covered anyway is just more effort than I’d be likely to put in. Hope that helps!

      (depending on how flush with the wall it is, it’s also possibly you could just hang a new cabinet right over it without even removing it! The back of the IKEA one is actually inset a bit from the back of the outer frame, so that might have been an option, maybe?)

    • 6.6.12
      Anna said:

      Thanks for the tip. I’m getting the urge to rip the nasty old thing out of the wall and then I have no problem covering the bare hole with the new cabinet.

    • 6.7.12
      Gaidig said:

      Maybe you could take the door off the old one so there would be less sticking out, but leave the cabinet to fill the hole. Then you’d have a hidden compartment behind your new medicine cabinet…

  3. 6.6.12
    Kirk said:

    Congratulations on your winnings – you totally deserve it. How much in gift cards? Love the blog.

    • 6.6.12
      Daniel said:

      Thank you! $499!

  4. 6.6.12
    Jaimie said:

    Now I need those IKEA salt and pepper grinders, but of course they aren’t in stock at the IKEA near me. Boo.

    That new shower curtain looks really good. I’m normally a white linens person too (I also have a white Target waffle shower curtain), but I like that a lot.

  5. 6.6.12
    Mom said:

    Please don’t eat your cute toes. That would make me sad. Always have enough Hummus in your life. Congratulations on your winnings. Proud mama.

    • 6.26.12
      Troy said:

      Your mother is as witty and sharp a writer as you are!

  6. 6.6.12
    Jenn said:

    God that shower curtain is so ADORABLE. I love me some classic ticking. Bravo to Max on that one. S&P thingies are rad too. I may have to brave the marketplace section for those babies. That of course will lead to the frames section, then the rugs, then the as-is area and before I know it? I’ve spent my food money for the week. Aside from stylish bargains and decadent cinnamon rolls, no good really ever comes from an IKEA trip. It’s a slippery slope. Carry on with your fabulous prizes!!

  7. 6.6.12
    Brismod said:

    I understand your love for a good salt and pepper mill. I covet the iittala citterio grinders. One day. Well done on your win too!! xx

  8. 6.6.12
    Lena said:

    Nice spice mills. I think I need to buy the mortar from that line. How did I not know about that line anyway? How did they introduce a new line at ikea without telling me:-(
    Congrats on the money & gift cards!
    PS: did you buy kitchen cabinet doors ect. while being at Ikea? Can we hope for a kitchen update soon?

    • 6.6.12
      Daniel said:

      I bought the mortar too! I couldn’t stop myself. I swear I’ll use it…for something…sometime.

      I didn’t buy that stuff for the kitchen yet…quick trip, no time. Soon though!

    • 6.7.12
      kmkat said:

      At some point in your life your dog will need some kind of medication in the form of a pill and will point-blank refuse to take it, so you will use the mortar to grind it up to mix into some canned dog food. That’s mostly what ours is used for. (Except for that time someone bought whole cumin seeds instead of ground, and I had to grind them up every stinkin’ time I wanted to make enchiladas.)

      Love the extra long shower curtain and the ticking fabric!

    • 6.8.12
      Lena said:

      Its embarassing how much I enjoy the thought that in the future I might own the same Ikea mortar as you! But how lucky are you that you got to buy it with Anna! Soo jealous.

  9. 6.6.12

    love love love the mills, and the shower curtain. Congrats! on the small cool aaaand please please share how you fix that painted closed window, I’ve got two of those beauties I’d love to fix.

    • 6.6.12
      Daniel said:

      Oh, don’t worry, you’ll get all the dirty details!!

  10. 6.6.12
    Renee said:

    I didn’t even know pepper grinder envy was a thing until today. It is though. And I am envious of your shaker and grinder. (Doesn’t that sound like a dance?)

  11. 6.6.12

    Yayayayay! I’m still (still!) so happy for you for winning the AT contest. You know what? You gave really inspired to do shit to my apartment and pull up the nasty-ass stained shag carpet in my hallway closet after eyeing it for nearly a year. The whole place has hardwood floors that was at one time covered with carpet. They left carpet in the hall closet. Who does that?

  12. 6.6.12
    megan said:

    i feel better knowing I’m not the only crazy out there justifying my purchase of two pepper mills in one week.
    This might look like some sort of fabulously designed sex toy, but it’s even better. salt/pepper grinder all in one.

  13. 6.6.12
    runswithscissors said:

    errrggg argggh. Yet another MUST have item (along with grey Enje shades) that are so far unobtainable because they’re not offered online! I would need to stay overnight to trek to Ikea when factoring the drive time plus the at least 8:37:23 hours I’d need to see everything (yes I’ve done the math)…and I don’t forsee 2 days off in a row anytime soon. Drat
    I’ve actually put off buying a perfect pepper mill for probably 10 years because they’re all made with those ridiculous plastic gears.
    And I have a COUPON. This is torture.
    That personal note from Maxwell looks positively frameworthy, big congrats on your loot!!!

  14. 6.6.12
    su said:

    Yay! Your Small Cool prize money arrived! NOW GET TO FUCKING WORK!!
    Please? 0=)

  15. 6.7.12

    Your winnings are so well deserved. Also, Max did great with that shower curtain. I don’t know why it’s so hard to find shower curtains, but it really is.

  16. 6.7.12
    Wes said:

    I love your writing style, thanks for giving me something good to read!

  17. 6.7.12
    Monica said:

    A total swoon on the new pepper mills! I missed (not so much missed, more couldn’t make up my mind) the IKEA PS SPRAKA pepper mills a few years ago and I will regret it foreverrrrr. I will not miss these.
    Love the new shower curtain. Looks so grown up. Congrats on the cash and stuff!

  18. 6.7.12
    Furpants said:

    Hey Mister, that’s a pretty nice pepper mill you got there…

  19. 6.7.12
    Gaidig said:

    I love those salt and pepper mills, especially the fact that they have bottoms to sit in. For some reason, my salt mill likes to leak on the counter after I’ve used it, and it makes my kitchen look grungy and it makes me look like a slob.

    Also, I’m really looking forward to seeing what you’ll do with your winnings.

  20. 6.7.12
    Laura said:

    I have a super bomb cinnamon roll recipe that requires use of a rolling pin. I pretty much always resort to using some bottle of alcohol or a giant water bottle. Rolling pins are over rated

  21. 6.10.12

    Never would have thought that one single person can write so much about salt and pepper mills, but this is why I love to read it: “People who buy kosher organically-produced cage-free fair-traded artisanal salt and exotic gourmet free-range peppercorns raised on a diet of human breast milk and diamond dust. From Fiji.”

  22. 6.15.12
    jy said:

    let us know if the muuto pepper shaker works. i got 2 for my wedding, but neither of them work after a few grinds. i really have to shake the peppercorns really hard and loosen them up, then try to grind, but it becomes a workout. i love the way they look, but they don’t seem to work well :(

    • 6.16.12
      Daniel said:

      Hmmm, that’s strange! I’ve only used it a few times now, but it seems great! Sorry to hear that!

  23. 6.24.12
    Laura said:


    Love your entire home and congratulations on your winnings! If you’d be so kind to share, where did you find the bathroom lights with porcelain sockets and fabric cords?
    Thanks so much!


    • 6.25.12
      Daniel said:

      I made them!

  24. 6.25.12
    Rachel said:

    I went to IKEA this weekend looking for the salt and pepper mills and they have been temporarily discontinued. I don’t think there is an official recall, but the nice salesman said they had some problems with the quaility and have pulled them from the shelves until a new shipment comes in. He wasn’t specific on the issue and they still have the rolling pin and the mortar, so I don’t think it is too serious, but the next time you are in IKEA you might want to ask if you can/should exchange yours. I’d hate for you to season your food with bits of marble.

    • 6.28.12
      Daniel said:

      That’s interesting! Wonder what’s going on!

  25. 1.23.13
    Ryan said:

    Hi Daniel. Did you find that the black walls in the bathroom made it difficult to see in the mirror?