A contemporary food-plating trend in restaurants is to serve the meal right in the skillet. But beyond the Instagram aesthetic, chefs and home cooks alike know that there’s still nothing better than a cast-iron pan for cooking. “They last forever. I know people who have passed theirs down from generation to generation; you’re not replacing it every couple years like with a non-stick,” Heart of the Home’s owner Katryna Springer says. “They are resistant to high heat, which most non-sticks aren’t, so I use it to bake cakes, sear steaks, fry vegetables – everything.” Springer recommends a modern hybrid with an enamel coating to get the benefits of cast iron without as much work. While a traditional cast-iron pan needs to be seasoned regularly and rusts easily, enamel-coated ones are easy to clean, don’t need to be seasoned and act like a non-stick without the chemicals and wear-and-tear. -Breanna Mroczek
The tub is one of the focal points in a bathroom, and many manufacturers have been trying to up the ante over the past few decades. There are tubs with jets, tubs with lights and tubs that play music. However, there’s one low-tech style that has remained a staple – the clawfoot tub. Once a sign of wealth and luxury, the clawfoot tub remains a coveted addition to modern bathrooms. “There’s a great simplicity to a clawfoot tub,” says Jenna Pryor, owner and senior designer at Plum Design. “There’s nothing to maintain, you see all the elements. The shape is beautiful, it’s like a beautiful structural element in your home.” There’s one caveat – real cast-iron clawfoot tubs, while stunning, can weigh hundreds of pounds. If you’re looking to invest in the look without having to re-support your floor, a reproduction is a good compromise.
In the 1980s, compact discs hit the market and everyone everywhere chirped about the new digital age – that vinyl’s time had come and gone. Then came MP3s and file sharing. The iPod, introduced in 2001, was supposed to for-sure, for-sure kill vinyl once and for all. These days, with streaming, you can’t give a compact disc away. But, you can find racks of vinyl at record shops and even chain stores. At Audio Ark, one of Edmonton’s premier high-end audio shops, sales of turntables are booming. “It’s our leading source of media right now,” says Audio Ark consultant Andrew Gilbert. He said turntable sales are up 70 per cent this year, and are currently outselling digital components by a two-to-one ratio. Why? The warmth and fullness of the tone that comes from a vinyl record has yet to be matched by a compressed audio file. You can spend up to $50,000 for a turntable that weighs as much as a refrigerator, but you can also bring your home back to the analog generation with much less expensive choices, like the Pro-ject Debut Carbon (pictured). Pro-Ject sells over 1.3 million of these turntables a year worldwide; they’re made in former sewing machine factories in the Czech Republic and are widely credited for spurring the turntable renaissance. -Steven Sandor
Kitchen and Side Tables
Don’t cry over spilled milk: from family dinner to homework to late-night drinks, the kitchen table is a central hub, a bar, a desk and so much more. It’s a necessary piece of furniture, so durability is key over a fussy aesthetic. A good quality table that will last a long time, even with regular use, is a good investment; don’t be afraid of using and “ruining” it, or discarding it and buying a new one every few years. Pick one with a functional, minimalist aesthetic that won’t go out of style and can withhold years of daily use, like the designs from local woodworking company Oliver Apt. “We want [our tables] to be part of people’s everyday lives, not just for one or two big occasions that happen during the year,” says founder Landon Schedler. “People own things because they need to use them. Things should not just be for aesthetic, they should be incorporated into our lives. Our tables are meant to be used and enjoyed by everyone in the household.” -B.M.
Textiles have been around for centuries, from simple cloth hand-spun and woven in ancient Egypt to lush fabrics in the homes of aristocrats in the 18th century. While modern technology has changed the way many fabrics are produced, textiles remain a staple in home decor. “Fabrics have the option to transform a space unlike many other things do,” says Pryor. And, while there are plenty of inexpensive textile options on the market, Pryor compares custom drapery to a well-tailored suit – it just fits perfectly in your space and, if properly cared for, it can last for decades. While it’s best to opt for a neutral colour palette for an investment piece, the variety of fabrics and styles on the market still gives you plenty of room for personalization.-A.S.