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.

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.

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'.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

'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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.