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The chef Alton Brown has a handy name for kitchen gadgets that serve one function, which are then stowed away for interminable lengths of time: Unitaskers. They take up much-needed storage space and cause many headaches. These single-purpose tools often originate from the domain of infomercials, which are already of dubious purpose, quality and origins.
This term could be applied as an overarching phrase when describing many items stashed in drawers in our house. In effect, the ‘On the Shelf’ lists featured in issues of ‘Defining Desert Living’ are a way of cutting through the proverbial clutter and spotlighting designs for their clarity.
In a long year that benefited from the re-examination of many “so-called” necessities, we’re proud to spotlight the best of these products which give something to admire with their good design. Without further adieu, here’s a compilation of the best products featured in our last two issues of Defining Desert Living in 2020:
Stagg [XF] Pour-Over Set by Fellow — $99
What is it: Stagg will help you consistently brew the perfect cup. The double-wall, hand blown, borosilicate glass carafe allows for longer heat retention and no exterior condensation.
Why we like it: This is a remarkably pure design: Boiling water from a tea kettle is poured into the filter and produces hot coffee into the doubled-wall glass container at the bottom – which also doubles as a pitcher. No mess. No cords. And a very long shelf life. Easy to clean and store. You can’t say the same for a coffee machine.
Polaroid OneStep 2 Viewfinder I-Type Analogue Instant Camera — $72
What is it: Polaroid Originals’ ‘OneStep 2’ camera takes its cues from the 1977 model but with the addition of a few high-tech updates like a 60-day battery life, built-in strobe flash and a high-quality ‘2ft to infinity’ lens. It’s also fitted with a tripod mount on the base and a self-timer.
Why we like it: Everyone loves a polaroid! A print lends an instantaneous quality to it that somehow artificially ages it beyond the moment it was taken. This design takes everything right about this iconic product, like the design of the case assembly and style of print, and updates it to modern day with a few choice design and functionality choices not available a few decades before. Fun times at the party (whenever those happen again)!
Fez Wool Blanket by Sophie Probst — $250
What is it: Fez tributes the wonderful culture discovered on a recent voyager from designer Sophie Probst to the north and eastern part of Africa. These real New Zealand wool blankets will keep you warm at home or out.
Why we like it: Never discount a classic. Something like this draped over a couch gives a space texture and character to a room and keeps you warm if your house is also drafty. This is the type of blanket that goes a long way and will last too!
Anecdote Candles by Anecdote — $14 – $24
What is it: Candles are designed to remind us of stories worth sharing. Candles are hand-poured using natural ingredients with no additives, dyes, or preservatives
Why we like it: As humans, sometimes we consume without considering the effect it has on our bodies. These scented candles are the genuine articles without the baggage of artificial smells. And this brand is already after our own hearts with its Mid-Century Modern scent, which is described as “clean lines, and atomic sunbursts.”
Ceramic Cooling Carafe by Magisso — $70
What is it: If drinks by the pool or a sunny brunch are in order, this carafe is primed to be your new BFF. It’s made from black ceramic and it’s got a really handy trick: Simply soak it in cold water for 60 seconds and it’ll keep the contents cool for (wait for it) up to four hours.
Why we like it: What it says on the tin. We’ve all left cold bottles of water in our cars on a warm day and returned to find hot water in the container, in their place. This product posits that we can go for a dip in the pool, answers calls in the house and return to collect the pitcher and find still cold liquid inside. Sign us up!
Click & Grow Smart Garden — $99 – $199
What is it: Fresh herbs can truly elevate any dish. For those who don’t have a green thumb, Click & Grow can grow, water and nurture your herbs for you (all you have do is plug it in and fill the water tank once in a while).
Why we like it: Simple design with none of the bulk that typically define an aero garden. It’s a flexible design that can be stored when not in use and can be an excellent conversation piece when it grows a patch of rosemary! What’s more to love?