I spend a lot of time in my kitchen. The kitchen table is my official workspace. I have a tiny desk in an “office nook” in the living room, but it’s above a heat vent so it’s officially covered in sleeping cat 90% of the time. I’m a notoriously messy worker so my trail of chaos usually leads from my be-catted desk, though the bedroom and into the kitchen, over the table, chairs, cabinet and counter-tops. And I have to say that the kitchen, even though it’s by far the most used room in the house, is the only one that I haven’t got quite figured out.

I’m not exactly sure when I started caring about kitchenware. It was definitely after I stopped living with roommates and moved in with the guy who’s now my husband. I’ve always been into clothes, accessories and fashion in general, but not having my own domestic terrain until recently kept my aesthetic cravings largely out of that zone. Perhaps it was just adulthood and necessity that began to stir those cravings — we needed things to cook in, eat off of and sit on, and the harvested dregs of parents’ cupboards and old roomies’ leavings slowly deteriorated or became otherwise inadequate. And thus, another excuse to consume was born.

Though I’m possibly the least immune person in the world to beautiful kitchen things, my desire has not yet fully blossomed, mostly because I know that owning nice things will involve more attention and care than I’m willing to give. (I did get one of my wishes, a Chemex coffee maker, as a wedding present, and it caused nothing but contention between me and the Mr. because it doesn’t have an “on” button.) I think this natural avoidance of the responsibility inherent in owning things is important (though admittedly much stronger in my husband). It serves as an essential check against my equally natural inclination towards collecting beautiful things and against the advertising blitzkrieg I’ve grown up within. Futhermore, the combined income of two sporadically employed twentysomethings doesn’t exactly accommodate the fine furnishings, decor and kitchenware I drool over — which is a resonating reminder that what I want isn’t necessarily what I should get.

All the same, in recent years I’ve spent many an hour ogling MUJI (no MUJI stores in Canada yet!) and Ikea (no Ikea in Atlantic Canada yet!) catalogues, the house porn of Dwell and blogs like KITKA Design, by the proprietors of the fantastic Toronto boutique Mjölk (seriously, I dare you to look here and not feel like you got socked in the gut with aesthetic bliss and overwhelming, almost infantile desire).

So to make peace with the warring factions inside my head, my relationship and my bank account, I look for houseware and kitchenware satisfaction the only place I know will deliver a surprising bang for my stingy buck: the thrift store. Mixed and matched dishes, vintage European cookware and awesome kitschy glassware aren’t exactly handcrafted Japanese cups or pristine midcentury teak furniture, but they’re cool and cheap and fun to use and don’t completely break your heart when your cat destroys them. And I can take plenty of aesthetic and financial satisfaction in that.

All the fun vintage kitchenware that appear in the photos are listed on the Forest Friend Etsy shop. But if you’re around Halifax and you’re interested in any of the pieces, you can pick them up directly from me! You’ll save us both a fortune in shipping and I’ll even give you a discount. Email me at forestfrienddesign@gmail.com.