Objects of Design #344: Kitchen Essentials Part II

raw wood chopping boards from westelm
raw wood chopping boards from westelm

Every time I go into Westelm, I pick up these gorgeous plank chopping boards. I love the style, the weight and the splash of colour at one end. It’s the perfect piece to kick off part two of the kitchen essentials started yesterday. Now I’m not claiming to make a complete list, I just wanted to show you a few things that will a) be part of a list of must-haves and b) go for a little stroll around Westelm as they’re online now so you don’t even have to get out of bed to shop there.

schmidt brother knife set
schmidt brother knife set

Obviously in addition to a good chopping board, which doubles up as a serving platter too, you will need some knives. This really is a matter of personal preference as everyone has a different idea of what is crucial. For me it’s all about the handle. I assume it will chop as that’s its job. I’m actually scared if it’s too sharp and I just want it to be comfortable to hold.

schmidt brother stock knives from westelm
these schmidt brothers knives have a shaped handle to rest your finger for comfort

I had to show you this chopping board although I think it’s only available in the US stores, and I imagine the postage would be punitive, but I have asked the store if it will be coming here any time soon (and if not why not) because it’s such a great idea.

storage chopping board from westelm
storage cutting board from westelm

I once saw this idea in a kitchen worktop which had a hole that just opened into the bin underneath. It was closed by means of a simple round, matching disk of wood with a finger hole in it so you could lift it out. I still think it’s a brilliant idea. And before you comment, I don’t think it would smell if you changed your bin often enough. We chose to have a small bin under the kitchen sink for just that reason; it is emptied every day and it doesn’t smell. Unlike those large, freestanding ones that perhaps only need emptying once or twice a week.

heirloom scissors from westelm
every kitchen needs a good pair of scissors

Every kitchen needs a good pair of scissors. Sometimes cutting bacon or shredding cabbage is much easier with shears than knives. These are based on dressmaking scissors and will work for all sorts of household tasks.

weck storage jars
weck storage jars

Finally, storage jars. I’m a big fan of clear ones so that you can see exactly what you have and how much is left. A few years ago I was given a, frankly, revolting scented candle in a Weck jar. I can’t bear to burn it (it’s huge and will probably last for six months) and various attempts to dig the candle out so the jar remains have, thus far, failed. These are only £4, I should just go and buy them.

set of four linen napkins from westelm
set of four linen napkins
Tags : chopping boardskitchen essentialsknives
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. My new kitchen is just being dusted down and finally finished, going to have to jump on a bus up to West Elm. That chopping board is brilliant!

  2. Lovely things – I’m about to exchange contracts on my first home and first place I’ve lived with a proper separate kitchen so lists like these are like catnip to me at the moment! Even though it’ll probably be a year before I can afford anything nice again!

  3. Love the blog. Have you been to Alastair Hendy’s Homestore in Hastings (where I live…)? He sells the most amazing range of steel scissors and shears made in Sheffield. The quality is amazing and it feels great to support a traditional British industry. My kitchen scissors joint a chicken in a few snips.

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