30 November 2012

Domestic [Shorthair] Bliss

While the tweedy control panel caught my eye, this 1963 vignette more engaged my memory. Growing up, cats were a constant presence in my home, and they—of course—enjoyed All-Access passes to every room, including the kitchen. The above scene is quite familiar to me. But Tappan showed its ignorance [willful or otherwise] of feline nature when claiming kitty's comfort is due to the quietude of its dishwasher: any cat person knows it's the warmth of the drying cycle that earns the appliance the animal's approval.

29 November 2012

Modern Meets Medieval

Belying its contemporary appearance, the Crush pendant light is fabricated using a technique developed by medieval armorers to produce rigid, form-fitting leather breastplates and other such necessities of the Dark Ages. Cuir bouilli is a boiling process that initially renders leather pliable and then allows the dried material to holds its contoured shape. [An enticement: the designer also offers some kitchenware and seating using the same method.] simonhasan.com

28 November 2012

Feeling the Way

Yesterday, inspired by an interesting online chat with the design team at GE, I went to my files on concept kitchen appliances. There I rediscovered the Touch&Turn, a project by Dutch designer Menno Kroezen. It's a simple cooking system to assist blind people in preparing meals. Users orient the handle of the cool-to-the-touch pot to any of the raised dots that ring the induction hotplate; the more dots, the higher the heat. Thoughtful and thought-provoking work. mennokroezen.com

27 November 2012


A porthole window in the shower—why not? It's sufficiently unusual that it could pass as a quirky moderne-period detail, and should you be fortunate enough to live seaside, it's a witty expansion of the standard nautical decor-theme. If you're interested in continuing such submariner style in other bath fixtures, here's a tub that will float your boat. kembleinteriors.com

26 November 2012

Keeping It Simple

After the hustle [and the hustling, courtesy of the pushers of the ridiculous shop-a-thons that are Black Friday and Cyber Monday] of Thanksgiving, I'm looking for a little quiet time in the kitchen; yes, this one would suit me fine. A couple of appealing details raise this space out of the ordinary: the frosty glass behind the stove is unexpectedly luxe for such a traditional kitchen, and the unpainted drawers on the island are a nice reminder of the material origins of the room. atelier-saintpaul.fr

23 November 2012

Seconds, Anyone?

Although this ad dates from 1950, the scene it depicts is may ring a more recent bell...as in yesterday, perhaps? Dishes—platters, plates, cups and saucers, pans and pots and roasters, and the occasional tureen—stacked everywhere in a silent testament to good-natured gluttony.

22 November 2012

Thanks for Giving

I'm grateful to be able to enjoy this holiday in comfort; life is back to pre-Sandy standards. But for many in our area, the hardship continues, and today is more a cruel reminder of loss than a celebration of bounty. Here's an opportunity to share our good fortune with them.

21 November 2012

Ah! La Cart

With Thanksgiving imminent, any and all open surfaces will be pressed into use, for service as well as prep tasks. The Chariot trolley can stylishly roll from kitchen to tableside [perhaps making a detour to the bar...]. Bands of silicon edge the wheels, protecting floors and ensuring a silent passage. The transporting design is offered in white, natural oak, and red—my pick. casamania.it

20 November 2012

Swoop to Poop

Yesterday was World Toilet Day, and this is my belated acknowledgement of global inadequate sanitation facilities. A Red Dot 2012 winner, this curvaceous commode accommodates both squatting and sitting positions with grace. Congratulations to designer Ramazan Atasever on his achievement. guralvit.com.tr

19 November 2012

T [as in Turkey] Minus Three Days...

And so the countdown to Thanksgiving begins in earnest. On Thursday, few kitchens—mine included—will look as clean and organized as this one, with its spotless counters and spare composition of open storage. I was surprised learn these cabinets are made of bamboo, a material which I aesthetically [but not in principle] eschew; the grain is too monotonous for my taste. But here, that seems to be assuaged by the dark stain of the wood. And the smack of robin's egg blue helps a lot, too. wedowood.dk

16 November 2012

Room for Improvement

Ah, the Flair range—its slide-out cooktop and pull-up oven doors made it the choice for style-conscious cooks in 1963. [It was even featured in the kitchen of the classic TV show Bewitched.] Today, the appliance claims quite an online community of enthusiasts.

This photo inadvertently reveals a flaw in the Flair: If there's a tall stockpot [or a gleaming copper double boiler] on one of the burners, it would be impossible to roll out the bottom oven rack without playing the cooktop equivalent of musical chairs, moving the pan/s out of the way. And, as we can plainly see, it's pretty awkward trying to baste a turkey while it's still in the oven.

15 November 2012

Here It Comes...

The biggest test of American kitchens will take place one week from today. On Thanksgiving, every burner will be ablaze, every oven rack will be loaded to the max, and every InSinkErator will be grinding away in our annual feeding frenzy. A super-sink like this one would be quite an asset during the prep and cleanup; I especially like the centralized knife storage. ernestomeda.com

14 November 2012

Shake It Up

The austerity seen in this bathroom isn't run-of-the-mill minimalism, not by a long shot. Rather than be content with seamless surfaces and neutral hues, the designers incorporated a subtle texture—or maybe I should say 'dimension'?—with the beveled subway tiles on the walls. The not-so-subtle pattern on the floor adds a fun optic element. A detail I'm especially keen on is limiting the use of metallic finishes to the light fixtures; the ceramic robe hooks and tissue holder enhance the nonconformist mood of the room while making an effective materials statement.

13 November 2012

Wild Life

Perhaps you think today's post is a bit on the sentimental side, but it's a drizzly, grey day here and I'm still navigating the road back to post-storm normalcy, so please bear with me. The down-to-earth, seasonal imagery of this handmade tile just might be a touchstone to recovery. Nature gives as well as takes. lesperancetileworks.com

12 November 2012

Table for More

Some kitchens are all about the food; this one is focused on the social dimension of cooking. Breaking bread here is an expansive affair, with two tables aligned with an island that's designed for casual buffet service. My quibble: the apparently inadequate storage. The freestanding shelf unit seems a postscript, and spoils the room's chiseled lines. katehume.com

09 November 2012

Two Out of Three

Last week we had Sandy; this week's unwelcome guest was Athena, who dropped a half-foot of snow on our already-battered environs. While we floundered without power for too many days and nights [and some, shockingly, continue to do so], had this Monitor Top fridge been on the scene, life might have been slightly less traumatic. In 1930, the appliance was put through some rather unusual tests—'In the icy waters of the Erie Canal they drowned it! They buried it in a giant tower of ice!'—and it held up to the elements.

They don't make 'em like they used to.

08 November 2012

Incomplete Control

Putting life back in order in these post-Sandy days has proven a strange process. The Èl collection of towel racks and bath storage reflects [pardon the pun] this unsettling exercise. Painted in an eye-fooling composition of dark blue and white, a shadowy illusion of structure is created. omlsrl.com

07 November 2012

Brilliant Achievement

Something to celebrate! Created for a backsplash installation, this slab of fused glass brings together a spectrum of vivid colors. I hope a similar unification is in the works for our still-divided political powers.... thehouseofuglyfish.com

06 November 2012

One or the Other

It's Election Day here in America, and from my perspective, the choice between the candidates is as clear as the one posed by this lav set. While the Savoy faucet gracefully unites contemporary and traditional design elements, the recent political campaign has not reached such an equilibrium.

Tomorrow is another day. zucchettikos.com

05 November 2012

Indirect Lighting

I'm taking more than a little vicarious comfort in the warm glow of this kitchen, as it's been a week since our home has had heat or light. It doesn't matter that the room isn't blazingly bright; in fact, as I've gotten accustomed to life as lit by lantern and candle, it enhances the intimate experience of my own temporarily non-functioning kitchen.

02 November 2012

A Wash Out

It's Flashback Friday, Hurricane Sandy edition. Dear readers, after the events of this week I'm afraid I'm running a little dry [sorry!] on the snappy/pithy commentary about Ye Olde Appliances. In fact, I'd welcome the most outmoded of any of them right now, as the storm-induced power outage stretches on with no end in sight. In the meantime, I think I'll make like the control panel on this dashing, 1970s-era dishwasher, and disappear for the weekend.

01 November 2012

Under the Weather—Really

Once we emerge from cleaning up the muck and mess that was so unceremoniously dumped on us by the meteorological shrew called Sandy, I would like to take a bath. A hot one, please, and if possible, in a tub that is a step above the usual white trough in its design. This model will do nicely, thank you. rapsel.it