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Starting Fresh: How To Choose Basic Home Essentials With Lots of Personality

Wanna hear something funny? If we were playing a game of “never have I ever” and someone said “never have I ever moved cross country twice in two months” I’d have to put a finger down! Yup – you heard that right!! I moved from LA to NYC and then immediately back to LA. Now if you’re wondering why, there are really only a few reasons that would cause someone to move over 3,000 miles away TWICE: 1. couldn’t deal with the cold, 2. had death in the family, or 3. went through a breakup. Luckily out of those awesome options mine was lucky number 3!!

I could get into all the drama but after all, this is a design blog which is a pretty weird place to dive into all of that. So instead, we’re gonna chat about DESIGN! I’m currently back on the West Coast and found a cute new apartment in Los Feliz (Emily’s old neighborhood!!) that I’m about to move into. I have a ton of items from my last place, but some of the crusty ones with weird memories are going bye bye, and I’m seeing this as a great opportunity to find personality pieces that really speak to me. I want to really hone in on buying cute, quality basics that I LOVE and will last for a long time versus just filling it up with ugly crap that will eventually get replaced.

That being said, I’m currently in the market for some elevated basics (ya know kitchen stuff, bathroom stuff, bedding, and whatnots) that aren’t boring. I also have a strange situation happening where a large chunk of my stuff is chillin in storage on the East Coast so it doesn’t totally make sense to ship back plates/whatevers that I don’t necessarily love, so long story short it’s time to purge the not so great items and upgrade them to be a bit better. If you’re also on the hunt for kitchen, bath, and bedding upgrades – you’ve come to the right place!! (sidenote: I’m gonna throw some pics of my last apartment throughout this post to give ya a sense of my style!!)

Kitchen

Starting out in the kitchen: I’ve had this set of grey target plates for years now but I’m planning on donating them in New York so I can get some new, special-feeling everyday plates. Yesterday, I went to at a restaurant called Mirate in my new neighborhood and they had the COOLEST plates ever. My whole family went “WOW THESE ARE SO CUTE AND COOL” when they put them on the table. In fact, we loved them so much that I took this photo because I knew I wanted to track them down and buy them for myself when I got home (spoiler alert that’s exactly what I did):

SO cute right?! I actually went to an Italian restaurant in NYC that had some plates from the same brand (they’re #2 linked below) and everyone freaked out about them as well. They’re gorgeous and hand-painted so they’re really special and I’ve been thinking about this brand for quite some time (which is how I know I’ll love them for a long time), so I ended up splurging on a set of 12 of these (I couldn’t find a smaller set and yes, I am planning on having LOTS of dinner parties so I justified it in my mind). These are 7.5-inch plates which in my opinion makes more sense to buy a larger amount of than a 10+ inch plate because these can be used as appetizer/dessert/share plates whereas a larger dinner plate can only be used for one thing (read: dinner lol). Anyway, since I splurged on these guys, I wanted to get a more affordable set of dinner plates that would be cute underneath these for a dinner party/will be easy to use on the day-to-day. I ended up finding these and thought they were perfect! Plus from my research, $49 for 6 seemed to be a pretty reasonable price (only $8 per plate). Again, I really don’t want to have to rebuy everyday plates for a veeerrry long time (well unless they chip or break and in that case, I’m very glad I don’t have vintage plates because this white, simple set will be very easy to buy more of if needed). Here are some more fun dishes if you want to upgrade your boring everyday plates 🙂

1. Cafe Dinner Plates (Set of 6) | 2. Puebla Stoneware Dinner Plates | 3. Pearl Dinner Plates (Set of 4) | 4. Talavera-Style Bread & Butter Plates (Set of 12) | 5. Beatriz Dinner Plates (Set of 4)| 6. Splatter Enamel Dinner Plates (Set of 4) | 7. Striped Dinner Plate | 8. “L’amore” Fil Rouge Plate | 9. Ceramic Plates with Lip (Set of 6)

I upgraded my water glasses a while ago to these incredibly beautiful glasses. So transparently, Yield Design co was my first-ever influencer partnership on my own personal channel and I was gifted a set of 2 of these, but then I loved them so much I bought 2 more sets. Whenever I have friends over they comment on how cool they are and then they go home and purchase them for themselves too. The reason I’m so passionate about these glasses is because they’re double-walled so you can actually put scalding hot tea or coffee in them and they won’t burn your hands – it’s VERY cool. I love the look and feel of them too (I have them in the amber color if you’re wondering, but I also LOVE the cobalt):

They’re certainly a splurge, but I’ve yet to break one (maybe because they’re double-walled?) But yes, I’m very passionate about the design of these. They also come in an espresso size, a 12 oz (which is what I have), and a 16 oz if you wanna go bigger. See the glass on the nightstand below for scale 🙂

BUUUUT these cool colorful glasses that I own are in storage on the East Coast, so for the meantime, I purchased a set of 4 of these glasses for $20 because A. they’re affordable and B. it’s nice to have a clear glass for pretty colored cocktails and such. Or maybe I’m the only person who thinks it’s weird to drink colorful drinks out of colorful glasses…comment below. Since I already splurged on the ones above I didn’t want to go too fancy, so the clean, these new simple clear ones are nice and have great lines. Here are some other cute and cool drinking glass options I considered:

1. Tall Highball Glasses (Set of 4) | 2. Hobnail Drinking Glasses (Set of 6) | 3. Tortoiseshell Old Fashioned Glass | 4. Organic Old-Fashioned Glasses (Set of 4) | 5. Handmade Drinking Glass | 6. Embossed Vintage-Style Glassware

Bathroom

Let’s move into the bathroom, shall we?? The first thing I gotta buy for my new bathroom is TOWELS. But WHAT towels do I purchase?? I’ve had these for years and am absolutely obsessed with them, but they’re getting a little gross and need to be DEEPLY cleaned, plus half of them are in storage I think? Needless to say, it’s time I buy some fresh towels. My bathroom is full of cute green vintage tile (I’ll show you sooooon!!) so I need to find something that goes with green and white or is green and white. I want something super plush and fluffy but isn’t just basic white (or if it’s white I want it to have a special/fun detail on it). Here are some of the fun & cute towels I had my eyes on:

Striped Bath Towel | 2. Cotton Bath Set | 3. Blue & Ivory Terry Bath Towel | 4. Scalloped Cotton Bath Towels | 5. Patterened Turkish Cotton Towels | 6. Heavyweight Turkish Cotton Towel Set

Bedroom

Lastly, I’m on the hunt for some cute, good-quality bedding. I typically really like a clean, white classic bed with some pops in the bed blanket/pillows, but similarly to the towels, I want sheets/a duvet that has something that makes it a bit more special. Also, I’m thinking about doing a pinstripe or subtle pattern on the sheets this time since all my EHD gals have convinced me how good they can look from many past makeovers, but TBD. Here’s some fun, design-forward bedding I’m looking at:

1. Belgian Linen Comforter Cover | 2. Ruched Wheat Comforter Set | 3. Micro-Print Organic Cotton Percale Sheet Set | 4. Washed Linen Hardcore Sheet Bundle | 5. Tufted Grid Duvet Cover | 6. Scallop Sateen Duvet Cover

And with that – my post comes to an end!! I can’t wait to show you all more of my apartment & stay tuned for some more fun design posts about it!! See ya in the comment section 🙂

xx,

Mal

*Design by Mallory Wackerman
**Styled by Emily Bowser
***Photos by Veronica Crawford

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Reanna
2 days ago

Break-ups: not fun. Wishing you the best. You have crazy cool style, tons of DIY talent, and an eye for fabulous housewares; I am on board for this refresh of everyday items that bring you joy. Carry on!

Mandy
2 days ago

Don’t sleep on East Fork for plates (and obviously coffee mugs). I have had the same side and dinner plates for 6 years. They hold up well. Make anything look elevated. And, can be put in the dishwasher.

Mary B.
2 days ago

Mal – wishing you the best of luck in this new phase of life and looking forward to seeing your newly designed spaces as you get settled in. Those plates are absolutely gorgeous and look like they would be such a great combo with the amber glasses on a dinner party ready table. Good luck with everything move related!

Mary Beth
2 days ago

Best wishes for this new chapter in your life Mallory!

Courtney
2 days ago

Hugs, Mallory! Moving can be so stressful, but two moves on top of a breakup is a LOT. I’m sure your place will be so cute. Have fun making it a place you love!

Bethany
2 days ago

Darlin, whatever happened, you are better off. Celebrate your sunny outlook and your talent, and enjoy buying some new stuff. Maybe a new MOTO on the horizon? I look forward to more of your distinctive style.

Roberta Davis
1 day ago

Geez! Sorry you had to move twice! I like those Annie Selke towels, too! Seems like they could fit into any color bathroom. I always buy Pottery Barn Basics sheets and have been very happy with them. They are plain white but I like white sheets. Then I add their waffle-weave blanket and it always feels luxurious. The blanket is cozy and not too hot or heavy. I’ve had lots of products from Crate and Barrel and they last for DECADES! Very sold on all their glasses and dishes, and furniture. But also bought a couple of sets of dinnerware from Sur la Table decades ago and they are still going strong, too. Never broke one yet. Happy shopping!

Cici Haus
1 day ago

I’m sorry to hear about your breakup, but grateful for you sharing the stage you’re in with us. It’s what makes EHD so special. Wishing you the best in this new phase!

Aus
1 day ago

So exciting!!! Thanks for sharing!! Love the plates!!

sg5785
1 day ago

You have the power to make everything around you so beautiful. Breakups are tough, but the beauty you create will hopefully make the hurt go away.

KL
1 day ago

I have a fancy Caskata dinnerware set in blue and white (no gold leaf so they can go into the dishwasher) that we use as everyday plates. Don’t save your good stuff, use it! I’ve broken 1 plate in 4 years and did have to shell out $30 to replace it, but still, it’s worth having beautiful things at the dinner table every night.

Fi
1 day ago

What a cute fresh start! The silver cloud of every break up is getting to curate your safe space free from compromise. Super excited to see what you do!

Juanita
1 day ago

Love these ideas, Mal! Always better to figure out sooner rather than later if something’s not working out. I’m on a similar journey for affordable-but-high-quality essentials. For towels—highly recommend Frontgate Resort Collection, not the most exciting design-wise, but they are the MOST luxurious in the lower price point (soo soft and thick) and hold up super well over time.

I second the earlier comment about dinnerware from East Fork Pottery, the pieces are beautiful and will last forever, plus you will always be able to purchase individual replacements if one piece breaks (unlike on Amazon or even retailers like West Elm or World Market, where dinnerware patterns come and go). Finally- my favorite drinking glasses of all time are the Marta glasses from CB2. Perfect weight and thickness / pleasant to sip from, very affordable, easy to wash in the dishwasher (they don’t take up much space). I have them in clear, but they come in lots of variations.

Sheila
1 day ago

Welcome back to SoCal! What you did with your last apartment here was so inspirational that I can’t wait to see what you do with your next space. It’s funny about “sets” of dishes and glassware. When I was in my first apartment, I had a bunch of mismatched stuff from garage sales and thrift stores and aspired to a matching set of … anything! Eventually, I got there and gave those mis-fits away but, years later, my cupboards are once again a jumble of random finds and I love it!

tina/mormormedstiletter
1 day ago

Sad to hear about your break up, but hey – life goes on, and when a door close, a new one opens:-)
I wish you all the best of luck:-)

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