29 July 2011

On Ice

In 1955, this is what 'bilt-in' refrigeration looked like...but in my opinion, all the pink paint and potted daisies in the world can't disguise the commercial [if not forensic] origins of these reefers, which offered a not-so-grand total of 14.7 cubic feet of cooling. The deep knee bends required to retrieve food from the freezer would keep one limber, that's for sure. Revco also manufactured ice cream vending machines. Today, still true to its roots, the company makes a variety of laboratory refrigerators.

28 July 2011

One Cool Cabinet

Meet Lenny. With his asymmetric design, rounded corners and high-gloss finish, he's a bit of a throwback to the heyday of Mod fashion, but that's part of what endears him to me. There's another member of the family, called Logan, which sports two enclosed cabinets. hib.co.uk

27 July 2011

Back to Black

The idea of a black faucet appeals to me, but the reality of that notion has frequently fallen short of the mark. Oil-rubbed bronze: Usually looks artificial to my eye. Powder-coat blacks: Too unpredictable in tone, and their finish is sometimes so glossy as to seem plastic-like. Wrought iron: Getting closer, but can be a bit drab. This treatment, though, called Midnight Chrome, is unique and interesting to me. It's pleasingly dark, but with a deep lustre that gives the fitting an unexpected sophistication. pfisterfaucets.com

26 July 2011

Smooth Transition

I was conflicted about how to index this post: Should it be labeled a sink, or surfacing? In a Solomonic editorial decision, it is both. Made from a single piece of quartz-based Silestone, the Integrity sink is seamlessly one with its surrounding countertop. The basin measures 16-inches x 20-inches x 6-inches, and is available in five fashionable, neutral hues. silestoneusa.com

25 July 2011

A Good Pairing

This kitchen is a happy reminder of how patterned and solid-color surfaces can play well together. Using a saturated, serene blue as a common denominator, the plain cabinets come into their own thanks to the thicket of lines criss-crossing the backsplash and wall. No need for white space here. elmarcucine.it

21 July 2011

A Chilling Effect

Right now, I'd happily wait a full trice for said shower of cubes.

While we no longer have to sully our frosted-pink manicured nails to extract ice from trays, in 1956 this was quite the convenience. Ten years later, Frigidaire offered a fully automatic ice maker in conjunction with a thru-the-door dispenser. Engineering takes time.

It's 111ºF now, and I'm going to go savor a tumbler of iced [cubes, not crushed] coffee as I contemplate whence comes the hand operating the Ice-Ejector. It's just too hot to think about anything more complicated.

Not-Hot Tub

Another escapist post. As I type, it's a tormenting 105ºF outside—but the temperature in this lush valley [perhaps soaking in the Unico tub] is doubtless a good deal cooler. Maybe it's even a bit chilly.

I really need to believe that right now. rexadesign.it

20 July 2011

Cool and Calm

As we enter our first true heat wave of the season, this image keeps me mentally cool; looking at it, I can almost hear the droplets hitting the surface of the pool. Simple and sustainable, with an acacia wood base, the Cascade shower would be a very welcome addition to our backyard [even more so if we could replicate this idyllic waterscaping!] trade-winds.be

19 July 2011

Herbal High

For kitchens with no counter space to spare for little pots of rosemary, thyme, et cetera, these curious Sky Planters let you cultivate a chef's garden, albeit a hanging one. The water reservoir is designed to prevent dripping. boskke.com

18 July 2011

Almost There

Finished in cool concrete and stainless steel, this kitchen, with its postcard view, is an inviting spot on [another] hot afternoon. If I might suggest a few improvements for this otherwise fine room: 1] Do something about the window hardware, please. Visible as it is, it's a flaw in the cleanly detailed space. 2] A larger sink would be greatly appreciated, especially if there's no dishwasher. And 3] Perhaps upgrade the light fixtures—to me, these are stuck in the twilight zone between industrial-chic and just plain shabby. arturomontanelli.com

15 July 2011

Totally Uncommon

Mon dieu! In 1929, the La Cornue oven appeared positively futuristic in design—compare its 'semi-cylindrique' form to the jumble of old-fashioned, boxy ranges in the background. Its cooking technology, too, was ahead of its time; what we now call convection mode was then based on d'air trés chaud toujours humide. To the relief of cabinet makers everywhere, the appliance has certainly straightened up since those distant, roly-poly days.

14 July 2011

En Plein Air

Perfectly suited for an alfresco fête [nationale or otherwise] these exuberant iron garden chairs by David Le Versha embody a certain joie de vivre for me on this summery Bastille Day. anthropologie.com

13 July 2011

Flame, On

For some reason, this unusual installation rekindles thoughts of long-ago chem labs of high school, with Bunsen burners all ablaze. Since this isn't a multi-burner cooktop, there must be meticulous accuracy in the design of this 'appliance'; between drilling the counter and leveling its surface, everything must be just right for each individually positioned hob.

While this isn't the product used here, Glem Progetti produces an interesting solo burner that—conditions and codes permitting—can be located at random in a room. It's called the Origine. glemprogetti.com

12 July 2011

Mixed & Matched

Brilliant, shimmering glass meets silken-grained wood: This mosaic is perfect for those who are fence-sitters when it comes to matters material. The aptly named Dialoghi sets up a conversation between two of my favorite things. If you're looking for a more regular geometry, don't worry—other shapes and mixes are also available. mosaicopiu.it

11 July 2011

Just Right

Somebody spent a lot of time figuring out the design and detailing of these windows—and it paid off beautifully, I think. The muntins [the horizontal pieces of wood between the panes] keep the space from stretching too high. And lining up the wall framing with elements of the counter and cabinets [see how the faucet and drawer stack are on center] must have required plenty of dogged interaction with a calculator.

08 July 2011

In Hot Water

It isn't hard to imagine the reaction a plumber had when faced with installing this odd appliance—hooking up a water line to a range, of all things. In 1969, the interest in dehydrated and freeze-dried convenience foods was at a zenith, thanks in part to a fascination with what the Apollo astronauts were eating—call it the Tang Effect. I can see a connection between this stove-top spout and the wall- and deck-mounted pot fillers found in today's kitchens; it is handy to have running water near the range, just not emanating from it.

07 July 2011

Artful Assemblage

The thoughtful way Enzo Berti designed the Fontane line of bathroom furniture to emphasize its construction and materials appeals to my appreciation of craft. A grey stain accentuates the grain of the ash wood cabinet, which is topped with a thin slab of quartz surfacing. dogi-bath.com

06 July 2011

Model of Simplicity

Here's a nifty resolution for the linen closet-less, overstuffed-vanity scenario. Cleanly designed and conveniently located, the band of stainless steel keeps tissue rolls tidy. It's part of the Tonic Guest collection. ideal-standard.co.uk

05 July 2011

Controlled Contrasts

With the flash and bang of 4 July behind us, I'm ready for a bit of quiet design. The Sahar sink melds polished and matte finishes as well as smooth and incised surfaces into an understated bathroom element. volevatch.fr

04 July 2011

Open-Air Architecture

In this breezy outdoor kitchen, it would be a pleasure to flip burgers or grill up a batch of pizzas—as much so in the evening as during the day. With weatherproof task and ambient illumination, the lighting in this pavilion is as carefully planned as in any indoor kitchen. mcinturffarchitects.com

01 July 2011

Independence Day

As America heads out of its collective kitchen this weekend to the unofficial national grill-a-thon, KBCULTURE stays behind to reflect on an appliance that liberated many a home cook from slaving over a hot summer stove. The happy bunch pictured above, for instance, is enjoying a 1970s version of quality time [note lack of iPods, -Pads, et al] courtesy of the technological marvel that was the microwave. It certainly wasn't micro in size, although its counter-dominating bulk didn't seem to bother this family. And while they might look like inhabitants of Anytown, USA, they were actually quite the elite group: the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 1971, less than one-percent of households owned this now-ubiquitous appliance.