29 October 2010

Boo! The Final Chapter

This indeed is a nightmare scenario! Some trickster has made off with a fridge-full of treats, leaving nary a crumb behind. No, that's not what's going on in this frankly eerie 1946 ad. The Philco, with its hypnotic 15w light, has cast a spell upon an innocent shopper, transforming her into an appliance zombie who must trudge the aisles of department stores for eternity, doomed to comparison shop unaided by the Internet.

Have a frightful Halloween.

28 October 2010

Boo! Part 4

This pull-out bathroom faucet could make quick work of washing off ersatz vampire blood or rinsing the Manic Panic product out of your hair. Of course, the Green Tea faucet's practicality extends beyond the demands of the pagan excesses of this coming weekend—such as shampooing the family Pekingese. americanstandard-us.com

27 October 2010

Boo! Part 3

The big day is fast approaching—and you're still undecided about what to wear? Perhaps dressing up as an appliance [small electric or major, your choice] will make you the belle of the masquerade ball. At the Los Angeles Electrical Age Exposition, held in 1936, these lovelies embodied modern domestic conveniences with, if not grace, certainly good humor. Love the balloon bubbles capping the washing machine in the top row. Oh, Miss Range—I think your hip is done.

26 October 2010

Boo! Part 2

Do you think this tub filler graces Keith Richards' master bath? On the 'cold' control, blue crystals are set into the eye sockets; red ones, naturally, indicate hot water. It may be a comfort to know that if a Swarovski-studded fitting is a bit too hoi polloi, it's also available set with sapphires and rubies—at a price that's more trick that treat. stepheneinhorn.co.uk

25 October 2010


I'll be doing a few posts this week in the spirit of the upcoming national scare-a-thon [no, not the midterm elections], Halloween. Spooky from inside or outside the tub, this shower curtain brings a haunting note to a room whose reputation was forever changed by that classic Hitchcock film, Psycho. urbanoutfitters.com

22 October 2010

Kitchen Helpers

Seven little ladies are giving this 1946 'Kookall' range quite the up-close inspection. I confess to some confusion, though, regarding some of their comments; the pair standing on the oven door exclaim about the convenience of the 'waist-high broiler', while the one kneeling on the floor is impressed by 'plenty of toe room.' Here's my question: If you're approximately 14 inches tall, how would such ergonomic advantages translate to these petite users?

I'm being rhetorical, of course. Have a fine weekend, dear readers.

21 October 2010

A New Wash [Re]Cycle

Eralp Akyol is a designer working in Istanbul, giving a second life to all kinds of items by combining them into furniture and fittings that have a new purpose. I'd call Rondo a pedestal sink. Its foundation is an immaculately refurbished 1950s washing machine; a mirror-chromed basin has been set into its top, and a faucet and mirror complete the transformation. The white legs gripping the red tank is the detail that catches my eye. eralpakyol.com

20 October 2010

Verdant Vignette

Looking out the window, I'd guess it's about a 50/50 split between fall and summer foliage, now. This kitchen, a sweet visual riff on green, is an appropriate echo of the season. A couple emerald accents pop out from the palette of faded tones, chromatic reminders of sunnier days. Bleached wood surfaces are an earthy, neutral element. I especially like how the brass screen cabinet doors add a sheer layer of gold to the composition, like the light of an autumn sunset.

19 October 2010

Tap Twice

Here's another spin on a dual faucet; this Ventura model is more transitional in style than the previously featured Twin design. The lower spigot delivers water for clean-up—via hands-free operation, no less. The tall, arcing outlet is controlled by levers; it supplies water for drinking and cooking. oras.com

18 October 2010

A Form of Flattery

The functioning form of the Stitch Stool, created by Adam Goodrum, demonstrates there's more than one way to fold a chair. The piece is a boon for spatially-challenged kitchens; when collapsed, it could tuck discreetly behind a door or into a broom closet [it's made of light-weight aluminum]. I'd venture the stool owes a small design debt to Gerrit Rietveld's Red Blue Chair, but its creative tectonics are quite completely its own. cappellini.it

15 October 2010

From the Top Down

In the decades following WW2, there seemed to be a fascination with—what to call it?—poking around the range. Sometimes this involved transformer-like burners; another highly interactive design literally turned the oven inside out. Monarch's contribution to this modern proclivity was the so-called surface oven, accessed through a door on the top of the stove. Obviously and thankfully, it didn't have a broiling element.

Producer of the Monarch brand, the Malleable Iron Range Company was established in 1902 and manufactured stoves that spanned the eras of coal, wood, gas and, eventually, electricity. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1985. Its vacant facilities in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin fell victim to arson [irony, here] in 1990.

14 October 2010

Chockablock Chopping Block

Flip open the top of this ye-olde-style kitchen island and you might be surprised at its modern, multi-tasking details. The lid is deep enough to hold a roll of paper towels; knives and assorted cook's tools have their own secured compartments. The pull-out cutting board is a serviceable annex to both the wooden work surface and the marble pastry slab in the interior. I think this is a great concept, and would be quite wonderful if rendered as a contemporary design. maggimassimo.it

13 October 2010

We Interrupt This Blog...

...to call your attention to the October issue of Architectural Record, where you'll find its annual portfolio of kitchen and bath designs. It was my pleasure to write about these most excellent locations and their creators.

12 October 2010


At the risk of sounding selfish, I find a project is often most appealing in the short period of time between its completion and its occupancy. After the chaos of construction and before the clutter of daily use, a space can freely express itself with light, volume and materials in their purest state. Here's a glimpse of a kitchen by Sabrina Bignami which is in that moment of repose. b-arch.it

11 October 2010

Disconnect the Dots

In my current veering away from all things matchy-matchy and ultra-coordinated, the separateness of these bathroom elements makes me smile. The more I see faucet knobs installed in this fashion, the more I like it—and I'm definitely seeing more of them. Can something be deemed a trend [or a even harbinger of one] without a name? Allow me to suggest 'edge-mounted controls'. If there already is a term for this, however, I will happily stand corrected. signweb.it

08 October 2010

Remember...and Imagine

This photo was snapped on 23 July, 1973 at Tittenhurst Park, where filming had commenced on the 'Imagine' video. JohnandYoko were taking a break in the kitchen; it looks like about four of the Liverpool-era kitchens could fit into this well-appointed [two cooktops sit under the circular hood] space.


07 October 2010

Blue Swoon

This cobalt cube of translucent resin is both lush and rigorous. For me, the saturated color has a hypnotic effect, but the crisp lines keep full reverie at bay. 'Drooling hyperbole,' you may say—'After all, it's just a sink.' But I will stand my ground on this, and call it sculpture. regia.it

06 October 2010

Now You See It

For a long time there's been chatter in appliance circles about refrigerators that automatically compile shopping lists by scanning bar codes on food packages. As far as I'm aware, this remains an idea ahead of its time. Until it's realized, I'm content continuing the no-tech approach of just looking inside the icebox before heading off to the grocery store.

A feature of the new Ice2O model enhances even that simple process: The bottom shelf of the main compartment of the French-door-style fridge is transparent, providing a clear view into the cooling drawer below. Being able to check the contents of your refrigerator without opening all its doors—that's both convenient and clever. maytag.com

05 October 2010

Close Calling

Perhaps I'm drawn to this space because it bears a partial resemblance to my own bathroom—stripped down to the studs, it's currently a work in progress—but it's not only the raw floorboards that captures my fancy. The modern mirror is more than a looking glass; if two people were standing at the sinks, they'd have to move ever so slightly towards each other to see their full reflections [or so it seems from my vantage point]. I appreciate design that gives one's comfort level a little nudge now and then. roseuniacke.com

04 October 2010

Water Ways

Pure in form and function, the Twin faucet dispenses both filtered and plain waters. I see it being a real asset at a small sink, which may not have enough deck space to accommodate a separate filtering faucet—although it certainly wouldn't be out of place installed at a full-size basin. deca.com.br

01 October 2010

Computer Cuisine

Life in 1969 was exhilarating, to say the least. Woodstock, Vietnam, and the Apollo 11 moon landing were among the year's events that shaped global culture immediately and permanently. Of course, there were more incidental impacts in the home—such as this Star Trekkian computer console that was especially designed to facilitate...menu planning. What was the tag for such futuristic convenience? Try $10,600—serious pocket change in those days, even for the N-M shopper. A two-week [!] programming course was included, although I have to wonder just how much someone who couldn't manage to put two vegetables and an entrĂ©e on a plate would benefit from it.

And if you're curious about the outfit: the catalogue describes it as a 'tabard apron'. It would set you back $28, but that seems like a small price to pay for being in the vanguard of hostess chic.