Line Cook

Looking at the tangle of downed tree limbs that now litters our lawn [thanks, Sandy!], I'm put in mind of this dynamic grate design. The cooktop, which is part of a new collection of top-of-the-line appliances called Grande Cuisine, has a most interesting feature: Each burner is equipped with the so-called Flower Flame, which automatically rises or lowers to fit the pan, whether it's an 11-inch skillet or a five-inch petite saucepan. Neat trick!

In the Dark

Once we're done with the nastiness of Frankenstorm, I may pick up a few of these Sunday fixtures. Living in an area that is prone to power outages when the weather turns bad, it would be nice not to have to scramble for candles when the lights go dark. And as we ride out the storm, that glass of whisky is not a bad idea, at all.


As Hurricane Sandy is making her presence very much known—with the worst to come—I offer up the Marecucina kitchen. With flooding in our area exacerbated by a Halloween-perfect full moon, we're in for rough seas, here; this see-worthy design provides an aesthetic escape, if not an actual one.

Ghoulish Pleasures, The Final Chapter

Despite the name of the manufacturer, there's something about this 1905 commode that's unnatural in the extreme. To the 21st-century eye, its sloped design is unsettling—more haunted than holistic. Bizarrely ringing the fixture with multiple full moons only increases the eerie factor, wouldn't you say?

Ghoulish Pleasures, Part 4

No skullduggery here: These metal drawer/door pulls are faithful castings of bird craniums. I think they'd add a certain skeletal style to cabinets of all kinds, wonder-full or otherwise. The skilled artists at Blue Bayer Design Studio meticulously handcraft all sorts of boney beauties.

Ghoulish Pleasures, Part 3

Ideal for dispatching odors sulfurous and otherwise, these range hoods have a distinctly ominous attitude; to me, the appliance seems like equipment that might grace Dr. Frankenstein's lab.

Ghoulish Pleasures, Part 2

Surrounded by the primitive, six-pointed stars that are favored by sorcerers, this little Desmodus rotundus casts quite a spell of his own. No need to install a whole colony of tiles, though; just a single 4-inch x 4-inch square set in an unexpected corner of the belfry—I mean room—would lend the space a spooky tone. The handmade ceramic tile is offered in 16 standard colors, with custom glazes available, too.

By the way, the Year of the Bat—a conservation program backed by the United Nations—wraps up in a couple months. Learn more about the international effort here.

Ghoulish Pleasures

A fittingly crypt-like kitchen kicks off KBCULTURE's traditional week of Halloween-themed posts. With cinder-grey walls and cabinets of coal black, this moody space is better suited for a seance than a family gathering [save the Addams family!]. Even the sink contributes to the dark mood: Crudely carved of stone, I can imagine the shallow basin might once have done duty in a gothic-era morgue.


An Ill Wind This—or That—Way Blows

By the 2012 calendar, we're a few days premature for the observance of Good Health Week, which, in 1922, ran 23-30 October. Not to worry! Note how in those pre-Photoshop days a retouching artist had to paint 'steam' into the photo to illustrate the efficacy of the Ilgair ventilation fan. Despite the fairly obvious solution of opening one of the windows to clear the air, an electric fan offered a more modern approach. I'd be curious to learn if 90 years ago folks were as concerned with the loudness of the device as they are in today's decibel-conscious kitchens; no doubt that Ilgair had to pull a hefty CFM, given its installation.

Written [or Drawn] in Stone

Maybe you love the materiality of concrete, but find its appearance a bit on the bland side. An exclusive process—not unlike that of creating batik, where a retardant is selectively applied to the surface—allows for custom decorative treatments. The concrete can also be colored, if you like. I think it's a great way to add interest to a shower enclosure.

Organized Front

Open cubbies and cube-cupboards are easy and versatile storage solutions, but I find the units are too often strewn randomly on the wall—most untidy, especially in the confines of a small bathroom. This clever design not only imposes order on the situation, but simplifies installation, too.

On-the-Spot Clean

The personal-sized washing machine has been a perennially popular subject of conceptual design studies and competitions; the proposals often feature futurist [or fabulist?] technologies like wrinkle-zapping microwaves. This appliance, dubbed the Mini, has made the leap from drawing board to market. The wall-mounted washer measures about 2'x2'x1' and holds a little more than six pounds of laundry. A direct-drive motor helps dampen vibration. I can imagine one of these might be quite a convenience in a nursery or master bath.

Looking Sharp

Black. White. Straight lines. In the right hands, these basic elements can be combined to create a kitchen that's quite striking, but still nuanced. Borrowing the diamond-shaped detail from the transom windows, the cabinet doors—in an understated pairing, I'd like to point out, rather than an unfettered, copy-and-paste run—set the sophisticated tone of the kitchen. The harlequin-patterned backsplash steps up the rhythm of the room.

Yellow Alert

No shortage of storage in this kitchen! I count 40 cupboards and drawers in the room, which should easily house the chafing dishes, Jello molds, and bean pots that were essential to every 1955 batterie de cuisine. In addition to solid colors, the steel cabinets were offered in a variety of speckled finishes for the chromatically indecisive. That might not be a bad idea for a few accent door fronts, but, I think, a bit much for an entire kitchen.

Spraying Favorites

There was no way I could pick either the traditional or the contemporary version of the Gantry faucet without feeling that I was holding out on you KBCULTURE readers, so here's a look at both styles. Each has an awkward kind of appeal; the swing arm for the dish-sprayer is charmingly mechanical in a beam-compass sort of way.

Edgy [Really]

The angular interior of this house is a continuation of its exterior form; even the bathroom floor is a series of intersecting platforms and ledges. It just may be that the only true vertical line in the home is the water falling in the shower.

Happy Birthday, John

You are missed.

Despite its domesticity, this photo predates the 'house-husband' years. It was taken in the kitchen of Tittenhurst Park, the Georgian estate where JohnandYoko lived from 1969 to 1971.

Air Apparent

Sometimes the desire for an open floorplan butts up against against, err, a concrete architectural reality. This solution to that type of problem caught my eye for both its inventiveness and fine execution. The framework which holds the ovens [in all honesty, I can't decide whether to call it a wall or a piece of furniture] is a compelling balance between solid and transparent; even though it's critical to the layout of both the kitchen and adjacent living area, it remains spatially neutral.

Happy Birthday, Bond. James Bond.

Fifty years ago today, Agent 007 made his debonair debut on the big screen. As KBCULTURE is nothing if not appreciative of style, we pay tribute to the character who, even when soaking in a too-small, semi-sunken bathtub has the suavity to have his favorite beverage—shaken, not stirred—close at hand.

Over and In

While Matteo Thun designed the Onto for larger-scale applications like hotels and highrises, I am impressed with the efficiency of its installation. He's reversed the typical procedure, calling for the sink to be hung before the console/counter is set into—or, in a nod to the name of the product, 'on-to'—place, speeding up the process considerably. It's offered in a variety of finishes and sizes, with coordinating storage modules, too.

Divine [Not Devilish] Detail

Look closely to appreciate how the tops of these drawer fronts curve outward to meet the edge of the counter. It's a graceful move that could be adapted to contemporary as well as conventional cabinet styles.

Personal Preference

Showers combine two types of experiences: one is architectural and the other is all about the water. The tenor of these can be exhilarating or calming; some folks prefer—or maybe need?—a vigorous spraying in a brightly lit space to get going in the morning. I fall into the other category, better served by a more tranquil ablutionary environment. This enclosure, snug and softly lit, would be a fine way to start any day.

A Light Touch

For me, streamlined forms evoke both the familiar and the futuristic. The Air kitchen bears that out as it borrows from the design of classic canoes and Airstream trailers to produce something new. The materials—rolled aluminum and curved laminated oak—call for a hand-crafted construction process. The founder of deVOL, Paul O'Leary, describes the creative development of Air in a very winning way on the company's website.