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West Elm Salutes the Utilitarian

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West Elm Salutes the Utilitarian

November 26, 2012

For nearly 10 years, West Elm has addressed the household big picture: sofas, throw rugs, pendant lights. Now it’s also burrowing deeply into the daily details, from scissors and twine to coffee pots and Dutch ovens. And it’s inviting people to come in and hang out: eat a bacon-maple donut, drink a La Colombe latte, and even take a class in canning or mending skills.

We spent a recent afternoon at the just-unveiled first West Elm Market, as these companion stores are called. Located at 50 Washington Street, around the corner from the original West Elm, in Dumbo, Brooklyn, it’s housed in a former paper box factory with a pleasingly industrial vibe. On offer is a well-curated collection of everyday things, many of them small-batch and locally made, divided into four categories: kitchen wares, garden gear, household tools, and toiletries. Modeled after what West Elm calls “the common-sense shopkeeping of the classic general store,” the shop has an in-house café with a long communal table made of white-washed oak. West Elm Markets are opening up as stores within stores at many West Elms across the country; much of the collection is also available in the company’s own digital dry goods store. Here’s what especially caught our eye.

Photography by Belathée for Remodelista.

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Above: The front of the store is devoted to a large Julia Child-style pegboard display of kitchen basics, including silicone-coated, Wood Handled Whisks (which can withstand higher temperatures than metal; $8 each) and Dipped Wood Rolling Pins ($19 each) made in Japan from acacia wood. West Elm Market offers a full range of pleasingly plain and simple White Enamelware, starting with measuring cups.

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Above: The search for a good-looking ironing board is over, thanks to this Bamboo Ironing Board for $79.95. West Elm Market’s cleaning section runs wide and deep. Among the offerings: sage-scented, 100 percent biodegradable and plant-based cleaning supplies from Brooklyn-based Common Good, Izola cotton laundry bags, Wool Shop Ostrich-Feather Dusters ($12) and Wooden Toilet Brushes ($9) made by New York City Industries for the Blind. The Modular Display Shelving, by Design Workshop, is one of the store’s best finds. A combination of blackened steel and limed oak, it’s customizable and ideal for a home office or tricked-out laundry room.

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Above: The powder-coated iron Dust Bin ($149) is, in the words of its designer Brendan Ravenhill, “the love child of a trash can and a dust pan.”

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Above: It has a detachable top that doubles as a dust pan and a birch and coconut-bristle brush that attaches to the side of the can via strong magnets.

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Above: Made by the Schmidt Brothers of New York, the 14-Piece Milled Steel Set of Knives comes in an acacia wood block with magnetic slots for $349.

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Above: The coffee-and-pastries café is run in collaboration with Philadephia-based La Colombe, known for its farm-direct, single origin beans.

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Above: The community hub; at least twice a month, it will be the setting for tutorials offered by Skillshare, such as basic knife skills and a beginner’s guide to clothing quick fixes. A demonstration kitchen is also in the works.

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Above: The café’s structural supports are clad in a combination of reclaimed wood and hexagonal marble tile.

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Above: Pantry goods are sourced from small workshops, such as Noble Tonics of Seattle, makers of nuanced vinegars that look like artisanal whiskey.

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Above: Big Spoon Roasters’ nut butters are hand made in Durham, NC.

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Above: The store’s tools section zeroes in on the best of the basics, from Stanley Thermoses to leather-handled hammers (and companion tool belts of moccasin leather).

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Above: “Highly refined” cutting board oil, $35, also seasons wooden bowls and spoons, as well as stone surfaces like slate and soapstone. We’d love a bottle in our Christmas stocking.

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Above: Sam’s Natural is a line of small-batch toiletries from New Hampshire “built for men” and priced from $4.95 to $24.95. It was developed by a mechanic named Sam who wanted a gentle way to get his greasy hands clean.

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Above: One of our favorite everyday items is a sturdy apron; this $24 herringbone design has deep but subtle pockets and comes in a stain-forgiving gray.

Enter the West Elm Market Giveaway to win $250 of clever, hard-working, time-saving, clutter-busting solutions for everyday living.

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