Match Game

Look closely—or if I were inclined to make the occasional pun, I might say take a gander at—these tiles. Notice anything about the black forms? Those in the foreground pair up into a silhouette of a pig, while the ones on the far wall combine into geese. Sweet and/or sophisticated—you decide.

Peek-a-Boo Bath

Although much of its success hinges [ahem] on the overall floorplan, I'm intrigued by the now-you-see-it-now-you-don't design of this bath. [Speaking as a shower person, this is high praise indeed.] Swing open this series of four wall panels and let the light shine in; close them, and enjoy a soak in the tub in privacy.

We Interrupt This Blog... let you know that at the kind invitation of Stacy Garcia, I'll be hosting the venerable, vibrant, and veracious #kbtribechat. The topic of conversation is near & dear to us all: kitchen appliances of the major kind. The chat begins on Wednesday, 27 March [that's tomorrow!] at 2:00PM EDT/NYC time; sign in at Please drop by and add your comments. Or lurk quietly and just read the feed. It's all good.

Transparent Thinking

Opaque surfaces are so...well, omnipresent. I'm excited about these laminated glass shelving units—what a novel, gorgeous way to bring color into a bath or kitchen. Designer Piero Lissoni jolts pure, elemental forms with an electric palette. For reasons beyond me, the collection is named 'Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde'.

Back to Earth

After the glittery tedium of the Oscars, I'm ready for a reality check. This stripped down kitchen installation is subdued, but keeps my attention on a couple points. Such as... the careful way the grain of the fumed oak was placed and matched across the drawer fronts so it cascades down from the cabinet pulls. And about those pulls: Did you notice they are the inverse of the oven's control knobs? Neat trick.

And the Award for Best Costume Design Goes to...

...Kelvinator, for its 1965 production, 'Originals'. I can't quite make up my mind about which 'outfit' really takes the prize; maybe the Sampler, with its cross-stitched freezer door, or the frankly bizarre Carriage Lamp model. Credit for this concept goes to William Reddig, who was also a designer for Kelvinator's parent company, American Motors Corporation—a corporate relationship that obviously explains the number of auto motifs [Rambler '04, Flivver, Runabout, and 500] in this quirky appliance collection.

Visionary Design

Hmmm—a glance at yesterday's post would indicate a current fixation with mirrors—or lack thereof—on my part. [The psychoanalysts among us can have fun with that, I'm sure.] Today, I'm reflecting on this all-in-one sink unit, which is made of brushed stainless steel. Its integral "mirror", an irregular patch of highly polished metal at eye level, is a lyrical, seasonally-appropriate detail, recalling a peep hole that's been rubbed in a frost-covered window.

See [of] Tranquility

Where is it written that there must be a mirror over every lav?

Failing a superlative view, I'd be more than happy to start the day enveloped in the visual serenity offered by this bathroom. The translucent glass wall diffuses daylight; after dark, the enclosure becomes a glowing presence in the home.

Floor Show

Every morning, around the uncivilized hour of 4AM, our cats decide it's time for breakfast. As I don't want to subject my sleep-shut eyes to the full light of the kitchen, I flip on some undercabinet lights to gently illuminate my way.

This toekick detail would accomplish the same objective. I really appreciate the extra effort taken by the designers to specify such a refined fixture. A too-common alternative, rope-style lighting, is pretty cheesy to me; with its every bulb reflected upon the floor, the effect is similar to what you might find in a discotheque, circa 1972.

Composed Kitchen

Some drawers are closely fitted into the cabinets, others seem to float among them. There's a stretch of a solid toekick, but most of the base units teeter on tapered steel feet. Architect Renzo Piano collaborated with his son Matteo to create the Wood kitchen, and it appears to me it was very much a give-and-take process.

From the Heart

Hey, whatever happened to romance on Valentine's Day? Even in her own parlor, this Queen can't catch a break from the kids! But maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge; at least in the 1950s, 'family time' didn't involve video games. And perhaps the Queen will escape her castle, after all—the pearl necklace and little black dress hint at a night on the town.

And they all [including Fido] lived happily ever after.

Hearts of Stone

Despite our wishful thinking, love isn't always a starry-eyed, happily-ever-after affair. On this Valentine's Day, let's remember to appreciate the emotional work that goes into building a lasting relationship. I think this substantial, subtle, and carefully constructed mosaic is a fitting tribute. Erin Adams designed the Hearts installation, seen here in Calacatta Tia and Thassos marbles.

Showered with Affection

When viewed in plan, the La Cage d'Amour shower assumes a heart shape, thanks to its imaginative, double-barreled design. I'm pleased to see there are two sets of controls; nothing cools passion more quickly than the proverbial cold shower.

In the Pink

Thursday is Valentine's Day. In lieu of candy and flowers, at KBCULTURE we'll continue our romance with kitchen and bath design by featuring some love-ly places and products—such as this intriguing, seductive bathroom. Via a skylight, a rosy glow floods the shower enclosure, chromatically setting it off from the rest of the milky white space.

Snow Day

While we ended up with a respectable foot or so of the white stuff, our New England friends [Hello, Wakefield and Marblehead!] took the brunt of Nemo, with nearly three times that amount of snow accumulating up north. That would be sufficient for the hardy, outdoorsy-types among us to construct a snow kitchen. [Don't look at me, please.] Grab your shovel—again—dig an eight-foot-square pit, carve out a counter, and enjoy your frigid, al fresco space. Obviously, I've omitted key details about siting, using a stove plate, and such; for the full story, click and learn.

White [Goods] Out

While my French could charitably be described as rusty, I shall attempt to paraphrase my frosty friend from 1960 to reflect what's currently transpiring outside: La neige est là. It's plenty froid, too, but the storm we've named Nemo is all about snow; forecasts are calling for accumulations in the neighborhood of 18 inches. Quel horreur, I say. Nobody, of course, will make book on the possibility of the power going out, but if past experience is any teacher, I'd say it's a 50/50 chance.

If you would like to vicariously experience the blizzard from a singular perspective, here's a link to a map that's charting the progress of snow plows as they attempt to clear the streets of New York City. For my part, a cup of hot tea is in order. Hope to see you again—weather permitting—on Monday.

Something in the Air

I think I could count on one hand the number of stainless steel range hoods I saw last month at the European trade show LivingKitchen. Instead, free-form, enameled vents were all the rage; many sported vivid colors. [With winter storm Nemo arriving tomorrow, I'm choosing to show this snowball-like model, called Shell.]

Wow. I Repeat: Wow

As a rule, I avoid repeating post categories in the course of a week. And I have an aversion to bad illustrations that verges on—more honestly, transcends—the obsessive. But the new Airblade faucet from fan and vacuum guru James Dyson is so whiz-bang innovative that I am casting aside both these editorial principles. In a nutshell, it's a touchless, sensor-operated tap with an integral hand-dryer. You wash your hands under the central spout, then move them under the side 'wings' where they are dried by HEPA-filtered air blowing at 420 miles per hour. It's available in deck- and wall-mount models.

Performance Pieces

Notching out a counter to accommodate a pedestal sink—that's a rather expansive installation. It's like the two elements are doing a dance of sorts; the marble gently encircling the fixture [called 'One', part of the Habi collection], which stands at center stage.

[Mis]Match Game

Many kitchen cabinet companies tout cupboards that have interiors which match the exterior treatment. Such a seamless quality has appeal in certain circumstances, but I think there's something—much, in fact—to be said about contrasting finishes. In this kitchen, I love how the dark wood and white surfaces set up spatial relationships. Walls, cabinets, and counters work together, despite their material differences.

[Don't] Get a Grippe

The flu that has settled in NYC this season has made its share of headlines. Last month, while I was attending the LivingKitchen show in Köln, I actually caught some trans-Atlantic coverage of the pandemic: References to 'Flu York' illustrated with gurney-filled hospital corridors popped up on German and Dutch news outlets. Even though the virus has reportedly peaked, it's casting a shadow over next week's Fashion Week festivities.

Which leads—indirectly, I know, but that's how I often roll—to today's Flashback Friday post. In 1968, fridge manufacturer Kelvinator was so confident in the superiority of its appliance that it engaged in a bit of self-spoofery. The prognosis: Continued cold.