For a multiseason mat that can handle whatever winter throws at it, try a lobster-rope mat, says Lisa Myers, owner of home-goods store Capers in Seattle. “They work to shed the water and they have a little bit of coarseness to the rope that takes the dirt off,” Myers says. She highlights the Rope Co.’s doormats, handmade in Maine by fifth-generation lobstermen ($65-$129, theropeco.com). “They’re super durable. I had a similar one for many years and I just hosed it down and it keeps looking great.”
When people really like their toothbrush, they’re more likely to brush regularly, says Mountain View, Calif., periodontist Daniel Nelson. An expert on the buildup of bacteria and plaque, Nelson uses a manual brush called the Nimbus ($11.99 for five, nimbusdental.com). It’s also the one he recommends to his patients. “It has soft bristles that clean under the gum line,” he says.
At True Value, the top-performing space heaters meet consumers’ three most-important requests, says Tory Tesdal, senior product merchant: They have tip-over switches, overheat protection and a dial to easily adjust temperature. “Ease of use” is what matters, Tesdal says. True Value sells products to more than 4,000 of its individually owned stores across the country, and the top seller is the 81/2-inch-tall Pelonis Compact Ceramic Heater ($33.99, truevalue.com). “It’s also energy-efficient, because everyone cares about saving money.”
Kelly Smith Trimble, editorial director of HGTV.com and author of “Vegetable Gardening Wisdom: Daily Advice and Inspiration for Getting the Most from Your Garden,” has found both basic hoses that kink and special “kinkless” hoses maddening, she says. Last year, she finally settled on her hose of choice: the Dramm ColorStorm Premium Rubber Hose ($50.99 to $60.35, walmart.com). It resists kinking and coils up nicely, she says, plus it comes in “really bright, fun colors like purple, yellow and red” that match the colors of Dramm’s watering wands, hose adapters and sprayers. “Quality watering tools can make the difference between watering feeling like a chore and watering feeling a bit like meditation,” she says.
Poppin’s 3-Drawer File Cabinet comes in several colors, so you can choose a neutral to blend in or a colorful one that stands out ($249, poppin.com). “I don’t think anyone could go wrong with this gray-and-white combo, but I also love the beautiful aqua color it comes in,” says Rachel Rosenthal, owner of organizing firm Rachel and Co. in the District. “We’ve put these in tons of different spaces.”
Moen’s Magnetix has “the appeal of a fixed shower head, but it rests there on a magnet,” says Melissa Haas, project designer at Case Design Remodeling in Charlotte ($69.99, bedbathandbeyond.com). “You can pull off the shower head and use it as a hand shower, whether you’re cleaning the tile, rinsing your feet off or cleaning the dog.” She adds that “it’s really popular in a hall bathroom or a kids’ bath setup, where you don’t need this luxury-spa setup — you just need an all-in-one sort of thing.” It comes in chrome and brushed nickel.
If you think you can’t bring ice cream camping, think again. Tyler Malek, head ice cream maker and co-founder of scoop shop Salt & Straw in Portland, Ore., and author of an ice cream cookbook, likes to pack it up in the Coleman Steel-Belted Portable Cooler ($79.30-$166.66 for 54-quart cooler, amazon.com). The retro-looking steel is rust-resistant and the handles have comfort grips.
Frequent road-tripper and author of the book “The Best Coast: A Road Trip Atlas: Illustrated Adventures Along the West Coast’s Historic Highways,” Chandler O’Leary of Tacoma, Wash., is often sketching at the beach. She keeps her sketchbooks in a Matador Droplet Wet Bag ($14.99, matadorup.com). “It’s super handy and stuffs down into a teeny tiny case that can hang on my key ring when I’m not using it,” she says. She also keeps her phone, camera and anything else she wants dry in the bag.
Sascha Segan, the lead analyst for mobile at PCMag.com in New York, believes the Sonim XP3 flip phone ($189.99, att.com) “is the best choice for kids who aren’t ready for a smartphone yet: It has a loud speaker, is super tough and has a three-year warranty.”
“People have this romantic idea of hosting a 12-person dinner,” says Kaitlyn Payne, founding principal of Basicspace in Brooklyn. But her clients in New York City, especially those without a dining room, generally end up with a table that seats “six to eight people, max.” A fan of Ikea, Payne likes the Ekedalen extendable table for seating six ($299, ikea.com). Storing the leaf inside the table means it doesn’t have to be squeezed into a coat closet.
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