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Why We Talk About Home and Design on Food52

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“??? Decor on a food site?” the reader began, quite understandably, having found themselves on a website called Food52 reading an article about the benefits and drawbacks of various window treatments. Drapery, shades. Goblet pleats are actually mentioned (and are entirely unrelated to drinking or beverages, it turns out). A little disorientation is only natural for a new reader.

Maybe you've wondered the same: What are articles about home and design doing on a website dedicated to bettering your cooking life?

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One of Food52’s original taglines was, “How you eat is how you live.” Emphasis on the live.

Cooking happens in the home, so it’s not terribly far-fetched to guess that a reader who devours recipes might also like to know the best light bulbs to use in their kitchen (bright white!—if you value your fingertips). Perhaps they’d also like to know the best knives to use—enter the Food52 Shop, circa 2009—or see a video about how a piece of enameled cast iron cookware is made, or read a tutorial about making candles at home. Flower arranging? Yes, let’s talk about that.

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In the two years that we’ve been pointedly writing about florals, interiors, and product design, decorating and organizing, cleaning, crafting and DIY’s, stories about artists and makers, and more under the umbrella of home and design—you’ve been reading. And engaging: That bewildered reader went on to say, “OK, we'll go with the flow,” before launching into a lovely little commentary on the acoustic benefits of various window treatments.

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Your apartment is noisy, and it bugs you? Try curtains. (Oh, and welcome to Food52!)

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The step into home, from food, isn’t so absurd after all. And you, our readers, responded so well to our first intrepid articles about design in the kitchen that we confidently stepped right outside it: Three of our most widely-read home articles of the year (one, two, and three) were about bathroom design.

Of course, we got a few confused commenters wondering if this kind of information had a home on Food52—that’s why we’re laying it all out there today, because yes it does—but it was the sheer volume of readers that spoke loudest. You like bathroom design. Noted!

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A love of cooking, by simple extension of where and how you do it, can beget a love of all things home. We’re believers, and we’re so glad you are, too. Here are some of the ways home and design at Food52 is here for you—the renter, the homeowner, the first time dinner-party-thrower—and lots of what’s in store this year.

  • Easy, inexpensive, beautiful crafts—in the vein of dip-dyed place cards made from food coloring and doodle-able leather coasters. Because time is money and cute stuff can come cheap.
  • And slightly more ambitious home projects for your weekends, too. Yes, learning to make soap will require some time and dedication, but so does laminating dough! You’ve got this.
  • More imagery of real, inspiring interiors (from apartments and homes to hotels, restaurants, and shops) and the design tips we’ve gleaned from them spelled out loud and clear. A promise disguised as a catch: They’ll be farther flung this year, starting with a tiny Airbnb we’re dying to visit in Oaxaca, Mexico. (Did you hear? Most people don’t live in Brooklyn. Not everybody wants a farmhouse table!)
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  • We’re going to keep talking products, but not just those from our Shop: We’ll continue to round-up our favorite picks for all kinds of kitchen and home goods, like the smartest cleaning supplies we’ve ever seen.
  • We’ll get a little newsy, and tell you about interior design trends we’ve spotted, collaborations we’re bubbling over about, new style books and blogs we’re devouring, and the kitchen gadgets that everybody suddenly seems to be using. Get ready to weigh in.
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  • And we’ll even be dabbling in our version of renovations—“micro-renovations,” which will cover a single room or nook of a house (for the plain and simple reason that we find them way easier to apply to our own lives). Yes, that means more before-and-afters, and not just because you loved this bathroom makeover to the moon.
  • Creatives will be a focus, too: not just the wonderful olive growers who make our Italian olive oil, but also folks with design jobs we didn’t even realize existed.

I'm Amanda, our Design and Home editor, by the way. I like hardware stores and rooms with way too many lamps in them. And I'm all ears: What do you want to know about home design? What part of decorating your apartment has you totally stumped? What countries, histories, and people have inspired your personal style? Tell me in the comments section below or email me at [email protected] whenever you very well feel like it, and we'll do our best to deliver the answers to you on Food52.

What’s beautiful should also be accessible—and in our own small way, that’s what we’re here to do.

P.S. If you’re obsessed with nesting the way we are, let me know that, too: We’re recruiting new design writers! (Extra credit if you like different things than I do.)

What design conundrums do you want our help with? Tell us in the comments!

Tags: Home design, home, design