Cosco Step Stool Chair Reupholster

Easing back into projects after the holidays with this super simple upgrade to a surprisingly utilitarian piece: a Cosco step stool/chair in our kitchen. There are vintage versions of these chairs, but this model is a newer one that we got when kids were too big for high chairs but too small for regular chairs. They served their purpose so well, we ended up getting two. I had always planned to unload these when the time came, but turns out the flip up chair seat/step stool function is pretty useful. So useful that I’m permanently keeping them in their once temporary homes: one in the pantry and this one at the kitchen desk. We sit at the desk often and use the steps daily to reach high shelves or boost up little kitchen helpers.

The white vinyl chair cover had long ago been ripped to shreds so I was happy to get a little wild for this easy recovering. I’m not generally a pattern person, but I really liked this print (scrap piece on ebay was $4) and figured it was easy and cheap enough to change when it becomes too cutesy for me. I went all old lady on this things and covered the seat in fabric and clear vinyl. So first foam, then fabric, then 10mm vinyl. I’ve never worked with vinyl and it took a bit of pulling and manipulating to get it taut around the corners, but I got there in the end. So granny, so easy!
mid century kitchen built in desk pass throughcosco step stool chair recover reupholster birch farm lightening bugs fabric yellow door kitchen vinyl cosco step stool chair recover reupholster birch farm lightening bugs fabriccosco step stool chair recover reupholster birch farm lightening bugs fabric

  cosco step stool chair recover reupholster birch farm lightening bugs fabric yellow door kitchen

Sometimes, especially when unmotivated, I like to approach house projects like you are supposed to approach debt: pay off the smallest one first. And this was the least I owed my house! Second easiest even got tackled: thoroughly cleaning up the desk drop zone. Which means that yesterday I went through the literal bags of schoolwork that have been staring at me from the desk since last June

Hope your space is enjoying some January organizational tail kicking too!

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Switching From Nonstick Pots and Pans to Vintage Enameled Cast Iron

Cast Iron Enamel Pots Pans Le Creuset Dansk Kobenstyle Descoware vintage butter warmerI was going to title this one ‘Piss Off, Nonstick Pots and Pans’, but I thought that may come off a little aggressive. Earlier this year our house made a full switch from nonstick cookware to enameled cast iron pots and pans. Ousting the nonstick has been on the to-do list for years but there always seemed to be more urgent lifestyle changes to be made. The issue finally came to a head when our 12 year old nonstick pans started peeling, making them extra extra bad, so I finally got my crap together and found a solution. I settled on enameled cast iron, mostly for the easy of cleaning and its strong non-toxicity. Bonus: it’s P-R-E-T-T-Y!

Call me crazy – it wouldn’t be the first time – but why shouldn’t everything in our homes, even the stuff hidden behind closed white cupboard doors, be beautiful and colorful and fun? I haven’t read that book about de-cluttering and how each object in your home should elicit joy when you hold it in your hands (I almost used illicit there, ha!), but I’m sure I would fully be onboard. There is a beautiful and awesome version of most every functional object, so that’s the one I think I’d like. If I must have pots and pans, I want the pretty ones. Too shallow?
Cast Iron Enamel Pots Pans Le Creuset Dansk Kobenstyle Descoware vintage butter warmerI had a few vintage Dansk Kobenstyle and Descoware pots and pans already that I’ve been lugging around the country for years but never really using because sometimes I have a stupid urge to save things that I think are special instead of using them. One was even my Grandma’s old orange pot that she gave to me when I moved into my first apartment = especially special, even though I think she gave it to me mostly because it was more my style than hers and she never used it. But it’s lame to have stuff that you don’t use and I really try to not be that way, so the cast iron enamel conclusion was extraordinarily great because I’m finally putting these beauties to work. Vintage Le Creuset Orange dutch oven skillet ocean blue braiser white saucepanI filled in the missing pieces with vintage or used Le Creuset pots, which I’m loving. The Kobenstyles are lookers, but the quality of Le Creuset is incomparable, so much so that even 70’s Dansk design can’t compete. I bought pieces that were in good shape inside but cosmetically not perfect on the outside. These seriously last forever so, as far as I can tell, a 40 year old pot works just as well as a brand new one. I still catch myself throwing an enameled cast iron pan on the stove and cranking the heat to high like I used to do for other pans, which is a bad. But once you get the hang of it, they cook so well and they are deceptively easy to clean.

(Spoiler: I didn’t care well for that little orange skillet up there and destroyed it a few days ago, after I took these!!! I accidentally turned the wrong burner on high, came back 10 minutes later confused about why my kettle of water wasn’t boiling, but also why my normally orange skillet was bright fire red and the enamel inside was bubbling. A scary and expensive mistake. Lesson learned, hopefully, but habits are hard to break. So sad.)

MY FAVORITES:Cast Iron Enamel Pots Pans Vintage Le Creuset Dansk Kobenstyle Mid Century Cookware Flame Ocean Braiser Saute Pan Dutch Oven Saucepan ButterwarmerThere have definitely been stand outs that we use more than others, shown above. For reference, we are a family of 4, we reluctantly cook at home at least once a day, we rarely cook meat (I’m a vegan, husband is a sad carnivore living with a vegan cook), we don’t own a microwave, and we hate doing dishes. For our needs, we could get by daily with these 4 (5) pieces:

  • Le Creuset 4.25 qt Large Saute Pan/Braiser – Newer but bought used. We use this EVERYDAY for everything. Hands down the best pot we’ve got. It does it all and if I could only have one, this would be it.
  • Le Creuset 4.5 qt Dutch Oven – Vintage. I wish I could eat soup everyday but my family is not on board with that. Still, we use this a lot.
  • Le Creuset 2.75 qt Saucepan – Vintage. Maybe I just like to grab this wood handle so I c?
  • Le Creuset Small skillet, #23 – Bought used, don’t know how old it is. Love it for small jobs. ***This is the one I just destroyed, so we are now using a similar vintage Descoware one that does the job but maybe not as good
  • Dansk Kobenstyle Butter Warmer – Vintage but I think they are selling these new again at Crate and Barrel? Not a necessity but we LOVE this little guy and use it so surprisingly regularly.

 

Thank you to the industrial designers out there for making life better through design. I can’t lie and say that I now like cooking. Because it’s so lame. But it’s a better experience than it used to be because it looks like a party in my kitchen. Thanks for reading!
Cast Iron Enamel Pots Pans Le Creuset Dansk Kobenstyle Descoware vintage

P.S. I can’t seem to find a non-nonstick replacement for my nonstick electric griddle…any ideas? We used that thing a lot, probably because of my pancake addiction.

 

 

Repairing Rusted Dishwasher Trays

Speaking of pukey bisque colored appliances, the dishwasher just won’t break so I have no legitimate reason to buy a new one. I tried the “diswasher tray is rusty and ruining our dishes” approach, but my husband wasn’t going for it. He just ordered a toxic little product called ReRack from Amazon so I could repair the rusted tray instead. Actually, I don’t know how toxic it is, but I’m suspicious that way. I can confirm that it is smelly and you need to do it outside. (This goes without saying but somebody needed to say it to me: you can carry your tray outside and apply the stuff out there; no need to plan around when the kids will be out of the house so you can stink up your kitchen.)

ReRack Review Dishwasher Tray Repair Rust

Before, our racks looked like this. Rusty, pitted, destroyers of dishware edges.

Rusty Dishwasher Tray Repair

I followed the instructions which were something like remove any loose chunks of rust or epoxy from the tray, clean with alcohol, apply with the brush and let dry 24 hours. I forget if I did 2 coats or not. After it looked like this. So much better.

Dishwasher Tray Repair RustThat was in December. The repairs are, for the most part, holding up. As you can see, there are a few areas where I missed or didn’t give it enough coverage and rust is creeping back, but it is waaay better than it was to begin with. I say it was $8 well spent.

Rusty Dishwasher Tray Repair

Rusty Dishwasher Tray Repair