29 April 2011

It All Comes Out in the Wash

I have an idea of what might have come between these two 1970 newlyweds. Judging from their outfits, they are more of a Harvest Gold couple than Avocado Green people; a simple call to the appliance dealer and they'll live happily ever after.

28 April 2011

Fit for a Queen

Admittedly, I haven't given any much thought to the royal wedding that looms; the pomp and circumstance surrounding the event loses something in translation, I guess, once it goes beyond British soil. However, I don't want to be a total party pooper: hence this bathroom with its Mod-meets-Mexico artwork.

27 April 2011

Keep It Clean[er]

I am afraid I let Earth Day slide by last week without an appropriate acknowledgement. Belatedly, I offer the Ovetto, a pod-like recycling sorter that can be tailored to your decor with a choice of bright colors. It might even make do as a laundry hamper. habitare-ad.com

26 April 2011

All Squared Up

Looking like miniature, modernist city blocks, these knobs and pulls are designed by Erin Adams and made of recycled aluminum. Take your pick of antique brass, oil-rubbed bronze, black matte or polished chrome finishes. Suitable applications for the Offset collection abound, whether on plain painted cabinets or clear-grained wood cupboards. duverre.com

25 April 2011

Rainbow Room

Why this kitchen, this post, this day? It's all about the colors: Easter and its beautiful eggs, spring blossoms finally coming out, and the neon carnival that is Las Vegas, where I travel tomorrow in servitude of the kitchen and bath industries. [Two out of three ain't bad, as they say.]

24 April 2011

We Interrupt This Blog...

...to announce the results of the 2011 KBCULTURE Awards. Products were selected on the basis of aesthetic excellence and technological innovation. Huzzahs to all!

22 April 2011

It's Show Time—Again

Next week, I troop off to KBIS, the kitchen and bath industry show for the North American market. While the recession has definitely left its mark on the size of the event, I doubt any of the exhibitors will resort to displaying their wares directly out of a trunk, as this enterprising rep for General Electric is doing as she explains the allures of the famous Monitor Top fridge. GE started making these homely models in 1927, with a price tag of $300; less than five years later, more than a million had been sold.

21 April 2011

Rock on a Roll

The prosaic forms of this sink and its tray-table base are a striking contrast to the dense, complex patterns of the marble. I particularly admire the hand-carved rim of the 'counter'; it's a gentle contour no machine could grind out. The Nabhi collection is from Kreoo, and is available through Charles Luck Stone. And yes—this is a color photo! kreoo.com, charlesluck.com

20 April 2011

Read All About It

How do utility and beauty coexist? If you're reading this blog, I'd hazard a guess that you care about a question of this nature. Without being preachy or overly judgmental, Usefulness in Small Things surveys in well-chosen words and images successes and shortcomings in the design of everyday objects.

19 April 2011

Punxsutawney Phraud

Spring certainly hasn't sprung yet here, with another week of drizzly, dark days forecast. I'm beginning to think that the closest I'll come to seeing the sun are these bizarre, Fornasetti-designed tiles. Most appropriate: The one showing the blazing orb swathed in a blue scarf [bottom row, middle]. bardelli.it

18 April 2011

Mind Over Materials

Such a serene—yet lively—kitchen, this. There's a polite dialogue going on between the geometries of the cabinets and the coffered, skylit ceiling. The subtle color palette is chosen with an artist's eye. And the attention given to materials certainly pays off: back-painted glass on the cupboards and stainless steel at the toekick bring brightness and sophistication to the space. thomashamel.com

15 April 2011

Top This, Martha

In 1951, International Harvester—yes, the manufacturer of tractors and other heavy equipment for farming—made a foray into the world of kitchen appliances. Perhaps concerned that the company's industrial image might not fare too well crossing over into the more demure, domestic realm, some wordsmith came up with the concept of 'femineering', i.e., [ostensibly] soliciting a woman's input during product development. In this case, that resulted in wrapping the refrigerator door in a fabric of the housewife's choice.

While this ad promises you can upholster your fridge in a mere seven minutes, it fails to give detailed instructions on the process. I couldn't leave KBCULTURE readers in the dark on this, and so direct you to US Patent 2,760,301 [interestingly, it was issued to the Whirlpool Seeger Corporation—yes, that Whirlpool]. There you'll find ridiculously complicated diagrams and a four-page, anything-but-easy, step-by-step guide to this unique home decor project. Have fun!

14 April 2011

Water Falling

The rumors about the death of the Statement Faucet are untrue, obviously. The Seta does, though, buck the current trend for horizontal, low-profile designs. Culminating in a curve that indicates the force of the water flow can't be denied by the structure of the spout, the form speaks to me. rbandini.it

13 April 2011

Sit. Stand.

Say you're sitting down to enjoy a cuppa at the kitchen table, when it's noticed that the tea cozy has gone missing. Relieved that this faux pas has played out in private, you scoot the Step Ladder Chair over to the pantry, pull its backrest upward, and hop onto the seat to retrieve the errant item from the top shelf. Handy, and no one will be the wiser. ingasempe.fr

12 April 2011

Curve Appeal

Solid yet fluid, the Oena brings an apt form into the bath. The waterfall-like profile of the cabinet would be welcome in a room that's typically unrelentingly angular. While I'm partial to the single pull-out version shown above, there's also a model that sports an under-sink drawer, as well. And I'm mad about the finish on the oak panel, too—its subtle coloring like the feathers of its namesake. dovcor.com

11 April 2011

Vertical Lift

How's this for a way to give a rather off-the-rack kitchen a jolt? Without that eye-opening wall treatment [click the photo to better appreciate the color scheme], this room would be just another middling, modernish design. Too bad about those white switch plates right above the low-rise backsplash—they always ruin everything, don't they?

08 April 2011

Fruity

Unmistakably 1954: the rounded corners, the streamlined and chromed details [check out the range's control panel], and the hip two-tone color scheme. All is in order—except that pineapple, which to me is more of a beatnik/jazz-age accessory than it is an icon of progressive domesticity. Even the smartest kitchen in the world has its minor faults, I guess.

07 April 2011

Cabinet Fever

The trademark signs of the season—forsythia, blue skies, sunshine—are struggling to gain a toehold in these parts. This charming countertop larder, with its bronze mesh panels and off-center opening, recalls to my spring-deprived mind the first true summer kitchen I ever experienced. Small town in southern New England; a friend's Italian grandmother; grape vines; an oasis of cool in the July heat.

I feel better already.

The Golding Gourmet cabinet is available in all sorts of colors. fineartistmade.com

06 April 2011

Come Again?

I beg your pardon for back-to-back sink posts [long-time readers will understand], but there's something about this quasi-1970s kitchen island that really grabs me. Framing a stone sink and work surface in an expanse of waxed, distressed wood is a gutsy move. The pairing of these materials might seem outmoded, but the proportions of their combination is very much on the leading edge. cadoroclassic.it

05 April 2011

Look, Ma—No Handles

The other day, I was chatting with a cabinet manufacturer who was understandably bemoaning the popularity of simple, open shelving in the kitchen. Here's a design that might elicit a similar response from folks who make faucets. A single control knob, and no spout to speak of—the Upgrade sink is minimalism at its most [Or should that be at its least?]. icosmic.com

04 April 2011

Crossing Borders

The tiled wall and the brass light fixtures add an exotic note to this quietly daring kitchen. If pressed to characterize it, I'd go with 'middle-eastern meets modern'—a description that echoes the transformative events unfolding half a world away. Let's hope for as peaceful a resolution to those scenarios as is found in this open, bright and forward-looking design.

01 April 2011

Baby Boomer Bathroom

Architect Bertrand Goldberg was an inquisitive fellow. In 1946, he developed a prefabricated bathroom [as well as the enterprise to make and market it—the Standard Fabrication Corporation]. A five-foot-long installation contained tub, toilet, storage and a sink-cum-baby-bath unit that swiveled into place when needed; in this illustration, the WC is under the towel to the left of the bathing baby, and the tub is to the right, behind Mom. The top of the line model cost $375. I've tried to count the number of parts to this kit; as neatly laid out for a LIFE magazine photo, I tallied a few more than 50, but I'm sure some plumbing assemblies had sub-assemblies, so my number is just a guess. bertrandgoldberg.org