31 December 2012

Christmastide, Day 7

On the verge of a new year, yet still celebrating a lingering holiday season; it's the annual temporal tug-of-war that I typically find a little confusing. Happily, clarity abounds in this aesthetic updating of the contemporary classic Ola20 kitchen [It was designed in 1992.]. A new addition to the materials palette is carbon fiber, which rejuvenates the base of the peninsula and the reveals on the base cabinets.  snaidero.it

28 December 2012

Christmastide, Day 4

How about a little elegance for the last Flashback Friday of the year? White-tie-and-tails aren't out of line for the 1936 debut of a refrigerator styled by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, the designer behind the Cord L-29 Hayes coupe and the 1928 Auburn Speedster. Inside, the fridge offered such wonders as circulating purified air, a built-in thermometer, and—perhaps the most important feature as the new year draws nigh—copious quantities of ice cubes in flexible rubber trays.

27 December 2012

Christmastide, Day 3

Last night, we endured a nasty winter punch, complete with howling winds and blasts of sleet and snow. I offer today's post to reassure readers that picnic weather will return, and this tent, with its digitally-printed flysheet, would offer some stylish shelter for alfresco gatherings. In addition to the sandwich motif [my favorite], designs that take a comestible tack include a wedge of Swiss cheese, a slice of watermelon, and a veritable mountain of jelly beans. With aluminum shock-corded poles and an interior that roughly measures 8'8" by 4'11" by 4'3", these tents are not toys. fieldcandy.com

26 December 2012

Christmastide, Day 2

Where, oh where, were you yesterday, B21?

Developed at the Technical University of Munich, the robot [full name: B21 Bender] performs household chores by scanning radio-frequency identification tags that are attached to items in the kitchen. This enables him/her to situate articles in their 'proper' places; e.g., dirty dishes go in the dishwasher, clean ones on the table or in the cupboard.

B21 has a couple colleagues in the university's Assistive Kitchen project. Rosie and James PR2 operate with different cognition technologies and excel at pouring cereal and preparing popcorn, among other tasks, as you may observe on their video channel. ias.cs.tum.edu

25 December 2012


Welcome to the Twelve Days of Christmas, KBCULTURE-style. Until 5 January, I'll be keeping things on the lighter side, featuring places and products that, while still kitchen- and bath-oriented, will range further afield from our usual vein.

And so here is a sauna. In a ski gondola. In Finland. You're welcome. yllas.fi

24 December 2012

Pastiche Present

A little bit of sparkle, a nip of the exotic, and not wholly practical: These are my criteria for a memorable gift. This kitchen, with its Moorish-meets-cottage character, is itself a surprise package. anthonybarrata.com

21 December 2012

A White Christmas? Try Daffodil...

I know that some people feel more depressed than delighted during the holiday season—and to judge by the hangdog look on his face, Bing Crosby was having one of those moments in 1957. But it's quite possible that the chanteur of Christmas was contemplating his less-than-festive surroundings. Lemon-yellow appliances, cheapo wood paneling, and counters that look like some type of clay-based primordial ooze would bring anybody—even Der Bingle—down.

[Rumor has it that Bing was fond of marijuana. Maybe a toke from that pipe would restore some yuletide cheer...and no doubt there's plenty of snacks in that reefer—oops, I mean, 'refrigerator'!]

20 December 2012

A Toast!

We've reached a milestone here at KBCULTURE—one thousand posts. To celebrate, let's take a desirous look at the Sommelier Set, a new feature on selected wine cabinets. Oenophiles, take note of its conveniences: An inclined shelf is tailor-made for in-fridge decanting; stemware is kept cool on a hardwood rack; open bottles can be securely stored upright; corkscrews and other tools are handily stored in a lidded wooden box. miele.co.uk

19 December 2012

Innate Appeal

In this tight kitchen corner, I'm focussing on the built-in plate rack. A detail cribbed from a country-style space, it's been given a semi-swanky makeover, framed by lengths of marble. As much as I like the storage idea, the pile-on of materials and finishes overwhelms its inherent simplicity. Eliminating the white field tile on the walls would be a step in the right direction. windsorsmith.com

18 December 2012

Stilling the Water

There's a balance in this bath faucet that's both challenging and reassuring. The Ziqq adeptly combines opposing qualities—high/low and tubular/planar—to an extremely pleasing effect, in my opinion. Wall-mount versions of Mario Tessarollo's elegant design are also available. ceadesign.it

17 December 2012

Safe Harbor

I'll take what comfort can be found in this intimate, iconic kitchen. Its visual stillness—a result of diffused light, stolid cabinets, and muted color—offers at least a semblance of security at this suddenly sad time. antiques-design.be 

Peace to all my friends and colleagues at The Taunton Press in Newtown.

14 December 2012

Kitchen Tour

'Tis the season for the holiday house-party circuit, where socially well-adapted guests happily mingle in the living room and other public spaces. Others [ahem] congregate in the kitchen, ostensibly 'helping' the host while casting furtive peaks into the refrigerator and cabinets. In 1959, Kelvinator took folks on some virtual visits to three houses; the homeowners were anything but shy in bragging about how the Foodarama fridge enhanced their quality of life. Of their claims, my favorite is 'WE HAVE MORE FUN!' as declared by the Thompson family in the lower left corner. But I'm also impressed by the Green Acres-ish Mr. Anderson [upper right corner], who happily lugs a bushel basket of produce while decked out in a business suit.

13 December 2012

The Better to See You

Such a brilliant idea for a bathroom or dressing area, this. The twicely-named Mirror, Mirror features a removable, hand-held looking glass that nests into its larger partner via a magnet. functionals.eu

12 December 2012

Rest Room

There are occasions—usually deep-winter afternoons, at the height of the holiday craziness—when a retreat from reality is not only enjoyable, but advisable. Neither sumptuous or spartan, this small bath offers a place to slow down and perhaps appreciate the spirit of the season. I love the incongruity of the faucet.

11 December 2012

Suspended, Light

If you've ever had a lightbulb slip from your grasp, it's possible that a few choice words slipped from your lips as the fragile orb shattered. Proving that expletive-inducing experiences know few language barriers, the Scheisse pendant fixture teases with its 'shards' improbably frozen in space. northernlighting.no

10 December 2012

Mobile Apps

Kitchen cabinets as furniture: That once-new idea has long gone mainstream. But recently, I'm detecting a nascent trend in appliance design that takes a similar approach. Enzo Berti created the handsome Dolmen kitchen with cooktops and sinks integrated into 'tables' that can be strategically placed within a space. Take your pick from an elegant materials palette that features walnut or larch wood and three types of marble. madeinlando.it

07 December 2012

Slotted Machine

To judge by the multiple inlets on the lid-within-the-lid of this washer, doing the laundry in the 1970s was a far cry from the simplicity offered by today's technology—or that of the days of the washboard, for that matter. Powders and liquids aplenty were seen as necessary agents to achieve clean clothes, and GE's Dispensall feature freed the lucky laundress from making repeat visits to add detergent, softener, bleach, fragrance, and other solutions to the appliance.

Give me soap and water any day.

06 December 2012

Things Are Looking Up[side-Down]

It's been that kind of week, dear readers—everything suddenly turned topsy-turvy, owing to the classic Circumstances Beyond My Control. Slowly, things are righting themselves. This inverted cabinet is much the metaphor for my life at this point. Even though here it isn't set in a bath or kitchen, it could make a statement in either setting, and act as a reminder that even in chaos, there is beauty.

05 December 2012

Happy Birthday, Walt

On this date in 1901, the man who eventually brought us Disneyland was born in Chicago. Now rare, there are a couple lav faucet designs which bring a bit of Walt's vision—pre-CGI, that is—into the home. Pooh and friends make this wide-spread model visually charming as well as easy for little hands to operate, thanks to Tigger and Eyore striking friendly, lever-like poses.

It's a small world, indeed.

04 December 2012

Sonic Shower

While it's not likely you'll ever need to X-ray your showerhead, I couldn't resist the techy image of the cool new Moxie fitting. That gumdrop-like cone is a portable speaker, which, when synced with a smartphone or mp3 player, streams your playlist into the shower. After bathing, pop it out of the head [it's held in place via a magnet] and continue listening as you go about your morning or evening routine. kohler.com

03 December 2012

Barn Burner

With their hacheted texture and imposing size, those wooden beams are the point around which most everything turns—design-wise—in this space. Smooth-troweled concrete cloaks the counters, and, beneath the factory-scaled chimney vent, forms a built-in grill. I am amused by the incongruous globe light fixture in this kitchen of contrasts.