As the old saying goes, it’s the little things in life that can bring us the most joy. From the comfy kitchen stools we perch on for social meals, to the heated towel rail in the bathroom that keeps our towels toasty, it’s items such as these that can tie an entire room together, and turn a house into a home.
Here, Melbourne Home Design + Living brings some of the home’s most under-appreciated products to the foreground, and unearths how these pieces can turn a neglected area into a meticulously curated space that will be enjoyed for many years to come.
Undoubtedly one of the most used kitchen items, and yet one that often goes largely unnoticed by those who use it, the stool has been a household staple since medieval times. Originally designed to seat more patrons at commercial watering holes, stools back then were much less costly to produce or purchase than chairs.
In the early days, stools were generally supported by three splayed legs, however as time went by a more developed design emerged with two solid sides connected by a substantial stretcher. The sides and stretchers of well-made stools of the medieval era were frequently pierced and given elegant curved profiles, and were often adorned with ornate carvings. X-shaped stools, which can be likened to the Roman curule seat, were known to showcase detailed upholstery and lavish fabrics. As our needs changed, so too did the stool’s design, eventually sporting a sturdy four-legged joint. The distinguishing features of most joint stools are their turned legs, which are generally splayed for greater stability and connected by low stretchers.
Though used in many areas of the home today, stools are most commonly found in the kitchen, which is now considered the heart of the home. More homeowners are opting for open-plan kitchen designs featuring islands and breakfast bars because of their ability to gather everyone together – whether for a quick family meal, a well-deserved drink or a soothing cup of tea – with stools as the preferred seating option. Whether your home is mid-century inspired, industrially styled or a Scandi sanctuary, the stool has come a long way from its humble beginnings, and is now available in a wide range of styles to suit any space.
1. Geometric Bar Stool – Warm Oiled, RRP $260, www.thedesignedit.com.au 2. Mimi Bar Stool, POA, www.bykoket.com 3. Ariston Kitchen Stool in Natural, RRP $1000, www.satara.com.au 4. Bicycle Bar Stool, RRP $439.10, www.smithersofstamford.com 5. Rattan Bar Stool in Black, RRP $349, www.kiraandkira.bigcartel.com 6. Replica Tolix Wooden Seat Bar Stool – 66cm in Blue, RRP $57.95, www.zanui.com.au
Perhaps viewed as one of the less important fixtures in the bathroom, the towel rack is another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it item within the home. While its physical structure hasn’t evolved much over the years, the styles and colour options available to homeowners are endless. From sleek stainless steel racks to beautifully honed oak railings, the towel rack is now deservedly a centrepiece in bathrooms across the nation. Serving a primarily functional purpose, this seemingly underwhelming staple product can add character and charm in equal measures.
Perfectly blending with any style of bathroom, the towel rack, as with most items in our abodes, has undergone a technological transformation. Popularised by some of Europe’s most revered hotels, the heated towel rail is the epitome of luxury, and is slowly making its way into residential homes. Designed to heat towels before using them, this nifty little item is warming both the hearts and the bodies of homeowners around the world. Available in a range of colours and configurations, the heated towel rail is a prime example of how our homes are becoming more than just a place to hang your hat.
No room in the modern home is built for purely utilitarian purposes; instead our abodes have come to comprise multiple places in which to indulge, revamp and experiment. When it comes to building a house from scratch or renovating an existing one, small fixtures or knick-knacks may seem insignificant, however in reality, it’s the finishing touches that often help us create a home that is functional, stylish and inimitably us.
1. Kromo Portable Heated Towel Rail, RRP $159, www.kogan.com 2. Diamond Towel Rack, POA, www.maisonvalentina.net 3. 5-Rung Towel Rack in American Oak, RRP from $399, www.thedesignhunter. com.au 4. Square Matte Black Multi Towel Rack Rail, RRP $249, www.meir.com.au 5. Hlude Towel Rack in Antique Silver, RRP $495, www.schots.com.au 6. VOLA T39 Towel Warmer, POA, en.vola.com