Where form meets function and Two Fat Ladies

My ideal kitchen items combine form and function.

By form, I mean they are beautiful. Beautiful to look at, beautiful to touch. By function, I mean they are equally beautiful to use: Simple, fast, perfect.

And I've found two companies whose products do just that.

Can you improve the common dishrack?
A long, long time ago, in a newspaper far, far away, I wrote an article about a little company called Simple Human. They don't make anything special, just garbage cans and dishracks and the such. But they make them with wonderful form and functionality. Especially their dishracks.

Two-tier dishrack: More for less
I want to show you two of their dishracks, starting with the u-frame, pictured above.

Okay, let's agree here that it is gorgeous, a word not commonly associated with a dishrack. But what's amazing is how damn clever this is.

See, it is two-tiers. So you can dry twice as much. It has loops so you can hang your wine glasses by the stems for safe and thorough drying. And the drainage spout is adjustable, so you can position the dishrack however you like.

Now, the top tier is a bit high for me to comfortably use. But it is perfect for my tall husband proving, once again, the world is built for tall people. Otherwise, why would there be all those insanely high cupboards above my kitchen counter, I ask you? Sigh.

Adjustable for your pleasure
The single tier system dishrack comes with cup holders (enough to hold four cups), a plate holder, utensil holder, and knife block - all of which can be added or removed, whatever is your pleasure.

And, like the u-frame, this comes with an adjustable drainage spout, so you can position the dishrack anyway you like.

But what sold me on this dishrack is that knife block. This thing has a bunch of slots to hold knives of a variety of sizes, vertically. What this means is the knives aren't banging, loose, in the utensil holder. And that is safer (for you), safer (for you delicate dishes), and safer (for the other knives).

And you don't have to be tall to use it.

What's under your foot?
I want to introduce you to another company now, also with totally brilliant products: Carpet tiles.

Made by FLOR, these eco-friendly tiles not only recycle beautifully (in fact, some of the backing is made from recycled material) but they also have the lowest VOC, or volatile organic compounds, in the industry. (Don't know what a VOC is? Ever get a good whiff of new carpeting or fresh paint, for example? That is VOC. And they can be such wonderful things to inhale as methane and formaldehyde. So the less of this stuff that gets into your home, the better.)

FLOR function
This is how the tiles work. They are large squares you place in any pattern you like on the floor. Enough of the squares and you have a rug, more and you have a carpet. The tiles come in all sorts of patterns and colors and textures and thicknesses. You you want a checkerboard? You can do it. Want a solid? Easy. Want a pattern? They have a variety of choose from.

FLOR form
Now, pay attention, because this is the juicy part: These are really pretty tiles. Take, for example, the La Fonda Del Sol Collection. Inspired by textile designer and colorist Alexander Girard, the collection consists of four rugs, each made up of six tiles you can configure anyway you want, from runner to rug (Want a larger rug? Easy, simply order two or more rugs and lay them together).

The designs, which are bold sun patterns, are whimsical while the colors are vibrant. And, not only would they make a cheery addition to a kitchen, but because spills can be cleaned by simply pulling up the tiles and rinsing them under water (just try and do that with your wall to wall!), they are incredibly worry-free.

* * * * *

Two Fat Ladies on DVD
By the way, if you like classic cooking shows as much as I do, then I wanted to give you a heads up that all four seasons of the BBC's Two Fat Ladies cooking show is available on DVD today.

Now, these ladies sure liked their meat, so I don't really advocate their diet. But there is nothing these two accomplished chef's don't know about cooking, so they are well worth watching for their decidedly amusing attitude, their terribly clever humor, and most of all, to learn invaluable tips and techniques in the kitchen.