A perfect summer kitchen needs carefully selected objects, subtle fragrances, and space

In the summer kitchen of Jenna Kiuru’s dreams, what brings her most joy are uncluttered spaces and the little things that make for carefree living. And for a beautiful and practical summer kitchen, natural materials are a must. In this article in our Well Kept series, textile care expert Jenna Kiuru discusses carefully made choices, materials that suit one’s own lifestyle, and how to care for them.

Summer kitchen
Natural materials create a beautiful and practical summer setting in the kitchen.

IN THE SUMMERS, I FEEL THE NEED to rid my home of clutter. I put less-used things in storage and out of sight to give me additional precious space for carefree summer living. All that’s left are beautiful, functional, and multi-purpose things. With simplicity comes enjoyment.

I spend more time in the kitchen than in any other part of the home, and it’s here that I get a sense of comfort from everything having a purpose. Having a clear layout makes even a compact kitchen feel spacious and pleasant. I remove unnecessary appliances and cupboards from the shelves, leaving only a small collection of my favorite everyday objects and textiles. Individual, carefully chosen articles of everyday use stand out best in sparser settings, complemented with only a drink glass on the table or even just the sunlight. Fragrances and tactile sensations complete the mood. I use a small brush to keep the table neat and tidy, and breathe in the wonderful fragrance of cucumber and lemon.

The Organic Company Giant kitchen towel/apron, dark grey
The Organic Company’s cotton apron is tied to the waist. The handmade goat hair dust brush is from Iris Hantverk.
 Iris Hantverk Glass brush
Iris Hantverk’s glass brush is suitable for washing vases and narrow drinking glasses. Large linen napkins can also be used as coasters. The light green linen napkin is from Tekla, and the second-hand drinking glass is Timo Sarpaneva’s Senaattori.

It matters what materials our skin comes into contact with during the day. Just as with clothing, the fabrics we use in the kitchen should be pleasant to the touch. I recently replaced my old kitchen towels with new cotton ones that are more absorbent than linen or other materials. Cotton towels don’t get soaked through easily when doing the drying, and they dry off quickly afterwards. I cut up old towels to make shoe shine rags.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is how important textiles are for protecting your clothes and keeping things stylish in the kitchen. In the past, I used to change into more casual attire for cooking and eating, but it always seemed to dampen my mood a bit. Outside of the everyday, at dinner parties in particular a gorgeous apron can actually be part of the outfit, and cloth napkins are of course an elegant way to protect your clothes while eating. Little linen napkins make excellent coasters for a drink served before the meal, helping to create the feeling that my whole kitchen has been magically transformed into a southern European bistro.

The Organic Company Kitchen towel, black
Absorbent cotton makes a perfect material for kitchen and tea towels. The kitchen towels are from The Organic Company, and Tapio Wirkkala’s Ultima Thule glasses are from Iittala.

I love all kinds of well-designed brushes that combine a stylish finish with a function that solves a general problem. The best have a wooden handle and natural bristles that won’t scratch surfaces. The feel of wood is pleasant to the hand, and even when left lying on the table a beautiful brush adds an additional esthetic touch. For my own kitchen, I like to have a dust brush for walls and other large surfaces, a table brush for taking care of crumbs, a glass brush for vases, and of course a dish brush for washing the dishes.

Iris Hantverk brushes
Dust and breadcrumbs are easy to swipe from the kitchen tops using Iris Hantverk brushes.
Iris Hantverk Dish brush Vardag
Wood is the most pleasant and beautiful material for a dish brush in daily use. Both brushes are from Iris Hantverk, and the biodegradable cleaner is from Kinfill.
Kinfill cleaner
There’s no need to carry heavy plastic detergent bottles from the store anymore – you only need to mix the cleaner concentrate with water in Kinfill’s glass spray bottle.
Kinfill Multi Surface Cleaner starter kit, Pine Husk
Kinfill’s diluted multi-surface cleaner is great for washing kitchen walls and surfaces. Gentle natural sponges can also be used for washing dishes.

It’s only recently that I’ve realized that it’s a good idea to wash the walls now and again too. Washing the kitchen walls actually takes very little effort, and really brightens things up. Kinfill’s reimagined cleaning concept, in its ingenious simplicity, consists of a beautiful glass spray bottle and a detergent concentrate mixed with water. The glass bottle will last forever, and the concentrate is sold in handy refill packs. Kinfill’s delicately cucumber-scented kitchen cleaner is suitable for kitchen worktops, walls, and tiles.

Fragrances can evoke fond memories, and so their role in creating an atmosphere shouldn’t be overlooked. For summertime simplicity, choose delicious berries, vegetables, and herbs that add fragrance and intensity of flavor to your cooking. I add a dash of lemon to almost everything I eat and drink, but lemon juice is also an excellent, natural cleaning agent. To easily clean a wooden chopping board, just sprinkle salt on it, add a squeeze of juice from a halved lemon and rub the board all over with the lemon half in a circular motion. Then simply rinse it off and rub in some linseed oil once it’s fully dry.

Cleaning a wooden cutting board
You can use salt and lemon to clean a wooden cutting board.
Summer kitchen
Cheers! In the summer kitchen of your dreams there is always room for something spontaneous.

Get inspired

Linen napkin
Iris Hantverk
Dust brush
Multi Surface Cleaner starter kit
Ultima Thule on-the-rocks
Tub and Tile Cleaner starter kit
Iris Hantverk
Set of table brush
The Organic Company
Giant kitchen towel/apron
Iris Hantverk
Dish brush Vardag
Jenna Kiuru

Clothing and textile care expert, photographer and writer Jenna Kiuru takes delight in items that are an inspired blend of great design, quality materials and functionality. For her own home and wardrobe, Jenna favors items that have been well cared for by another owner in a previous life, and kept in good condition by brushing, steaming, polishing or mending.

See also:

Cleaning products and equipment >
Products for summer and outdoor kitchens >

Text: Jenna Kiuru Images: Jenna Kiuru and Tuomas Pajuniemi

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