30 December 2011

The Possible Dream

Ladies and gents in formal finery, strolling about colossally-scaled architecture with the endless heavens glittering above: that's quite an image to commemorate even a landmark achievement [three million and counting] in the production of Frigidaire refrigerators. The text of this ad is no less operatic; click the image to read it.

While this 1935 vision of the future might seem overblown by today's standards, it does serve to remind me of how very important innovative, optimistic thinking is during challenging times. Maybe as we head into a new year, we could all do with a bit of hopeful star-gazing.

Cheers, dear readers, and thank you for your companionship—past, present and future.

29 December 2011

Breathing Room

Celebrating at least two holidays in the space of a single week can exact a [ahem] toll on one's system. My antidote of choice is a warming sauna session. This simple cabin offers some nifty features beyond the usual mood-setting sound-and-light show; given a chance, I'd opt for the SanO2 accessory, which lets bathers inhale pure oxygen via a flexible tube. klafs.com

28 December 2011

Out of Sight

If a more organized kitchen happens to be on your list of resolutions for the new year, here's a design that might inspire you. Mounted along the backsplash, stainless steel boxes split open to reveal all manner of conveniences: ceramic storage bins, hooks for hanging utensils, a roll of paper towels, even electrical outlets. The system is called 'Next Cube'. next125.de

27 December 2011

Take—or Bake—It Easy

Right about now, those who hosted multiple end-of-year holiday dinners and parties might be excused for seeking a shortcut for getting yet another meal on the table. Here's a little multi-tasking microwave that might appeal to that overworked crew. When using the pizza drawer, cooking time for fresh or [shhhh!] frozen pies is automatically adjusted. lg.com

26 December 2011

Old + New

This week, when many folks wind down from the old year while gearing up for the new one, I find that a winter sojourn is much on my mind—but unfortunately not on my calendar. Designer Nils Holger Moormann created berge, a guest house in the alpine town of Aschau. Each apartment has its own kitchen; this one, which references traditional design in a modern way, is my favorite. moormann-berge.de

23 December 2011

Checking It Twice

Poor Santa. In 1935, not only did everybody apparently have a GE fridge on their wish lists, but the choice of models had expanded from the original monitor-top to include new flat-top and lift-top designs. Chimney delivery was optional, I assume.

A peaceful holiday to you all, dear readers.

22 December 2011

Icy Interpretation


As there's a snowball's chance in Hades that we'll have a white Christmas—and after last year, I'm definitely not complaining about that—here's a look at a stone treatment that might bring to mind some childhood attempts at constructing an igloo. Little blocks of marble, with loads of tactility: I like. frederickielemoes.be

21 December 2011

A Present for the Present

After a marathon session of holiday cookie baking, this tub looks mighty appealing to me right about now. And look—it's in one of those seasonal colors, holly green. If that hue doesn't please you, the glass surround of the Naked tub comes in 25 other shades. Calgon, take me away. glassidromassaggio.it

20 December 2011

Deck the Bath

With its adjustable shelves that slide in and out of the cabinet, and the bauble-like, add-on accessories, there's something Tannenbaum-ish about the Kali. Hmmm: Named for a Hindu deity, having design aspects that link it to both a Christmas tree and a Menorah [Work with me here, people!]—perhaps, in the spirit of the holidays, this medicine cabinet offers a cross-cultural tonic for the times. authentics.de

19 December 2011

'Tis the Season

This French kitchen displays a funky variation on the traditional colors du Noel. Call me an escapist, but during these too-busy weeks of the holiday season, such a retro vibe—even with its blazing rouge cabinets—can provide a restful antidote to the rush. Let's raise a cup of tea to simpler times.

16 December 2011

Peace Without Victory

Well, what a fine idea, little lady. Dirty dishes—now that's the real scourge of the world. Once the military-industrial complex wrapped up its WW2 operations, it promised to retool those 1943 assembly lines to make electric sinks instead of Sherman tanks. I wonder how such a scenario would play out today, with microprocessors as vital to our treasured personal entertainment devices as they are to drone aircraft.

15 December 2011

Halo Effective

Isn't it nice to come across a use of LEDs that's muted rather than klieg-bright? Some might argue that the Aimes showerhead should cast a stronger light for safety's sake, but I think its soft glow is more for mood than any other purpose. There's an eco-benefit to the fitting, too: the bulbs are hydropowered. totousa.com

14 December 2011

Design Detour

The unexpected grace of this wholly contemporary faucet is so appealing. While I do wonder about the efficacy of the spray function—the head and hose look a mite undersized—it's such a bold and fun departure from the norm that all is forgiven. The fitting is part of the manufacturer's collaboration with Espirit. kludi.com

13 December 2011

All Access

The life of a touring rock star isn't all presidential suites and Escalades. There's the laundry—and that's a subject of interest to KBCULTURE, of course. No less than U2, Tina Turner and the sartorially splendiferous Sir Elton John have engaged the services of Rock 'n' Roll Laundry to keep their wardrobes [and those of the crew, too] fresh while on the road. Here's a backstage peek at the equipment [Miele's rugged Little Giant model] and its travel cases that are trucked from venue to venue. mieleusa.com

12 December 2011

Nobody's Perfect

We're going to ease into the week with what could be called an example of slow design: a highly personal space whose creator [who is unknown to me] isn't afraid to swim against the currents of convention. I especially like the frankness of the marble backsplash, and how ladles and photos are just wedged into the gap at the top of the slab. My one misgiving is the unfinished floor, sure to be a dust and dirt magnet.

09 December 2011

Soft Sell

Particularly by today's standards, where nearly everything that walks is faced with 'curating' their 'personal brand', this ad for General Electric is heroically understated. No heralding new features or hawking improved performance; in the 1930s, modesty prevailed. But this appliance doesn't completely lurk in the shadows: A red-carpet-worthy spotlight shines on the monitor top, and the fridge itself towers—a bit technocratically, I'd say—over the city.

08 December 2011

A Different Light

There's something about this light fixture—I think it's the angles at which the shades are set. Or could it be how the cables are bent? The fact that I can't really pin it down testifies to the subtle design of the TYS Suspension model. christophedelcourt.com

07 December 2011

Fluid Thinking

While the faucet is usually a focal point in the kitchen, on occasion, existing conditions can send it into hiding. Here, scant counter space forced a creative solution: push buttons control the water flowing from a spout that's concealed beneath a shelf in an Arclinea kitchen. novastudio.com

06 December 2011

Bathing Beauty

Tweak a traditional slipper tub by swapping the claw feet for a skirted treatment, and you have the Greenwich, a soaker that is as at home in an Edwardian boudoir as it is in a ultra-modern bathroom. The broad, flattened roll is a nice bit of tailoring for an acrylic design. A variety of colors is offered; I'm partial to this dusky blue. bcsanitan.co.uk

05 December 2011

Kitchen for Winter

These cabinets have a combination of solidity and softness that I find quite compelling. The cool, pale wood has a barely noticeable grain; maybe that's why designer Piet Boon grooved the door and drawer fronts. Flush-mount, handcrafted hardware in a pewter tone is more somber than sparkly—and spot-on in its matte finish. The collection is available in ebony, too. warendorf.eu

02 December 2011

Back in the Space Race

About a week ago, the rover Curiosity lifted off, bound for Mars. Who better to wish the mission well than our favorite space cadets, the bubble-hatted Frigidaire babes? They have time-traveled from 1966, in full Carnaby Street style, ostensibly to call attention to some sort of now out-moded refrigerator improvement, but judging from the way they are increasing in number, I suspect they have a secret plan to take over the Earth. We'll check back with them in 247 days—the scheduled date for Curiosity to touch down on the Red Planet.

01 December 2011

Vertical Vino

What a simple and sensible idea—keeping a couple serving trays close to a few bottles of wine, along with a small drawer for corkscrews and coasters. This clever, compact storage configuration seems made for the holiday season, with its parties, both impromptu and planned. howdens.com

30 November 2011

Warm Atmosphere

What's so special about this shower installation, you might well ask? The answer: One of the glass walls radiates heat, making the enclosure comfortably toasty. An electric current invisibly warms the fixed, front panel; look carefully at the right side of the towel bar and you'll see the control module. The surface temperature runs from about 115ºF to 130ºF—that will certainly take the chill off a winter morning. vismaravetro.it

29 November 2011

Blues Power

To counter today's dark and drizzly skies, I flipped through [and, as always, over] the current catalogue from Dominic Crinson. A visionary patternist and a relentless colorist, he produces wallpaper and tiles that some may consider optically overwhelming, but I find quite soothing. This collection of ceramic squares is called Blue Glitz. crinson.com

28 November 2011

Back to the Box

Open shelves in kitchens are a fine idea, but if the proportions are off, you've got a very public mistake on your hands [or, more exactly, on your walls]. I think the Kalea kitchen offers the next step in display-cum-storage with its inset niches of contrasting color and material. Here, the cubicles are matte lacquer; the surrounding cabinets are rough-textured oak. I like the chiaroscuro effect achieved by varying the depth of the installations; pushing some of the boxes further out of the main plane than others livens up the wall dramatically. cesar.it

25 November 2011

Nuke the Bird

Microwaving Thanksgiving leftovers—sure. But cooking the whole turkey? I think not. However, in the famously futurist year of 1984, such behavior was encouraged. It gives new meaning to the Quasar slogan: 'Out of our minds.'

24 November 2011

Cleaning Up [and Down]

While ovens and cooktops will get a workout in US kitchens today, the hardest working appliance will doubtlessly be the dishwasher. In my book, the machine's capacity is on a par with cleaning performance as the most important feature, and so this cutlery tray—which has a section that flips down to accommodate bulky utensils, like ladles—has a particular appeal. The Futura Diamond model also has an automatic-close door, which means [for the klutzes among us] no more bruised hips. mieleusa.com

23 November 2011

The Spit's a Hit

Every Wednesday afternoon, an online confab takes place [if you're interested, check out #kbtribechat on Twitter] about all things kitchen and bath. One of today's topics: the favorite method for cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. Votes were cast for deep frying, a combination of convection and steam, barbecuing and tried-and-true oven roasting. This Flamberge rotisserie would be quite the gourmet option. The unit doesn't require venting, freeing up installation possibilities. The 'garage' for the wheeled carving block is a prudent move, positioned right where it's needed. lacornueusa.com

22 November 2011

Power Prep

Kitchen sinks that are simply basic basins are all well and good, but designs that feature add-ons like cutting boards and colanders really grab me—and if used intelligently, can make food prep a more efficient process. What sets this Stages sink apart from other similarly-accessorized models: an undercounter storage rack that's made to contain the trays and bowls that slide along the rim of the sink. Smart. kohler.com

21 November 2011

Movable Feasting

Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday, and on that day kitchens across America will be packed with  families, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, strangers and dogs. For the host trying to get the Big Dinner on the table, cooking in such close quarters may be problematic. Deliverance comes in the form of the Pro Cook series of mobile appliances; guests can continue to mingle in the kitchen, while the chef wheels the meal preparation off to another, less crowded space. atelier-saintpaul.fr

18 November 2011

Dapper Indeed

Here in dramatic black and white is a curiosity from the surprisingly late date of 1960. One simply throws the switch on the side of this petite, all-in-one laundry appliance to channel the power between a washer with a bantam-weight capacity of five pounds and separate, the solid copper drying drum. Unless that drum is the size of a pill bottle, we are talking some serious 2011 cash, here. That should please 'He', the bowler-hatted, banker-type gent who, by bringing the Lavalux home, has made life so much easier for his companion, 'She.'

17 November 2011

Happy Birthday, Mickey

On this date in 1928, Steamboat Willie premiered in New York. Its plucky animated protagonist would soon become an icon of American pop culture. This enameled steel stool is only one of countless designs inspired by Mickey; I think it could find a place—of honor, even—in just about any kitchen. There's a shorter version that could give a bathroom a little zip, too. cappellini.it

16 November 2011

Going Through the Wringer

In addition to acting as the collective memory of the appliance industry, the expert crew at automaticwasher.org has a well-developed sense of the absurd. This picture—one of my favorites—is a hilarious take on the zeitgeist of today.

15 November 2011

Have You Herd?

These four-footed fixtures [the collection is called 'Cow'] both amuse and impress me. There's certainly a sense of wit to them; one version features Guernsey-style spots. But they also present a rather compelling alternative to traditional bath ceramics. The commode combines design elements of wall-hung and skirted models, and the 'pedestal' sink has a solidity that its columnar counterpart lacks. artceram.it

14 November 2011

Knotty and Nice

Over the weekend, the leaves were falling from our trees in torrents; now, bare branches dominate the landscape. Perhaps that impression forms the root of my fascination with this kitchen, with its sumptuously figured wood walls. Is is just me, or do you see faces peering out from the bookmatched panels, too?

11 November 2011

Low Tech

Simpler times, 1911. Refrigerators of that day didn't dispense water or crush ice or freshen the air. This White Frost model pledged merely to 'keep food cool, pure, sweet, wholesome.' No boasting about energy efficiency or cubic feet, either; just the understatements 'Several sizes. Common prices.'

Aw, shucks.

10 November 2011

Small + Sculptural

Art in a tidy, eight-by-eight format—that's my take on the Dune tile. Handcrafted out of a variety of materials, including concrete, gypsum and some truly sweet hardwoods [visit the studio's site to see these], these squares put a spin on any wall. urbanproduct.ca

09 November 2011

Cold Storage

Best. Full-size, bottom-mount refrigerator installation. Ever.

Any floorspace that was lost by this superbly creative design was well worth the sacrifice. Let us sing the praises of simple molding and skilled finish carpenters. martinimobili.it

08 November 2011

Inside-Outhouse

My earlier post on a centralized kitchen plan touched off a few lively discussions around the Web, so for your consideration I'm offering up a similar scheme for the bath. A few years back, architect Harald Schnur designed this freestanding 'bathroom' that utilizes four triangular plumbing frames. On its far side, out of sight, is another sink; I think including a hand shower in its stead might make more sense for a small household. missel.de

07 November 2011

Interior / Exterior

It's a shame we don't see much of the business side of this kitchen, as a couple details shown here certainly pique my interest. One is the placement of the sink: While the lack of surrounding counter area is generally considered a design no-no, I take a contrary view. No counter = no clutter. But the highlight of this room is definitely the beautiful ombre treatment of the cabinet. With its segue from saturated orange to a golden saffron, it's a perfect echo of the autumn scene outside my window.

04 November 2011

Occupy the Kitchen

As much a panacea for the post-Depression gloom as a paean to the promise of the future [sound familiar?], the 1939 New York World's Fair featured several General Electric-sponsored model homes set in the Town of Tomorrow exhibit. The type-written press release taped to the back of this photo introduces us to "...Muriel, top-flight cook of the Electrified Farm, preparing cookies" in a kitchen that was calculated to save 10,000 steps a year—thanks, of course, to an array of GE appliances lined up in a logical order. Power to the people, indeed.

03 November 2011

Holding the Line

Cabinet design is precise work. Especially with unforgiving modern geometry, if a door is a sixteenth of an inch off, visual disaster can ensue. I love how this corner detail provides both aesthetic and functional solutions to a problematic condition. leicht.de

02 November 2011

Peace and Quietude

After a tumultuous few days coping with the fallout of Mother Nature's grand Halloween trick, I am back in my home, which is once again warm and illuminated. The serenity of the MH bath suite is a fine antidote for an interrupted life. totousa.com

01 November 2011

Splish Splash

The 4Bambini sink isn't just child's play—although that's certainly a big component behind its design. The clear acrylic 'dam' that demarcates the two levels of the basin is removable, so kids can discover basic properties of fluid dynamics while having fun sending fleets of submarines and canoes over the brink. Almost six feet long, the trough-style sink has room for four faucets; is there any doubt that the nozzle-nosed character shown here is the ideal fitting? keramag.de

31 October 2011

Wishful Thinking

I am so happy to be able to share this post with you today, dear readers. Since Saturday, I have been forced to wander the byways, gypsy-like, in search of a working connection to the Interwebs. This is, of course, due to the extensive power outages caused by the Great [Pumpkin] Blizzard of 2011. Here and now, holed up in the basement of our local library, I can vicariously bask in the still-summer setting of this tropical-tinged kitchen.

Tomorrow, of course, is another day.

28 October 2011

Boo! The Final Chapter

The head-scratching attire and generally bizarre-o imagery in this 1960 advertisement wins it the Flashback Friday spot in this year's run-up to Halloween. Does the princess descending the stairs realize she is about to be ambushed by a six-gun-toting tot? [Trick or treat, indeed!] And those steps—where do they lead, anyway? The giant heart encircling the agitator adds a weird sort of sentimentality to the mix.

Have a strange and disjointed All Hallows Eve, dear readers.

27 October 2011

Boo! Part 4

Glossy meets gothic in this unlikely kitchenette design by Matteo Thun. Incongruously delicate legs hold up the sarcophagus-like cabinet, which is home to a sink, induction cooktop and a small fridge. The sinister bulk of the piece, combined with its after-midnight color, makes—to me—a most macabre impression. salvaranicucine.it

26 October 2011

Boo! Part 3

Light fixtures in the form of a skull are a dime a dozen, especially at this time of year. To me, the indefinite appearance of this Dorian pendant is far more disturbing than representational designs. The bone-white shade has a ghostly translucence, owing to its gilding with dichroic glass. The tentacles of crystal beads threaten to entangle those who linger beneath. Creepy! waclighting.com

25 October 2011

Boo! Part 2

A cloud of vampire bats? Or vertebrae from a dismembered skeleton? Neither, squeamish reader. Hung from the ceiling, these Flying Hooks could hold bath towels or a cook's apron. Made of non-slip rubber, they were designed by Bos [just add another 'o' and it's the ultimate Halloween name!] and Couvée. ygoods.com

24 October 2011

Boo!

Appropriate to the eerie occasion, this hauntingly lit kitchen leads off Halloween week at KBCULTURE. Shadowy chef's tools and ingredients—to be used in concocting a witch's brew, perhaps?—are stored behind glass doors, where they're safe from splatters. If ghoulish green isn't your color, Moodlight's LED display may be programmed to more flattering hues. warendorf.eu