31 July 2013

...And the Livin' is Easy

Summer: Days filled with sunning, sandcastling, and swimming. The Stilla outdoor shower gives each of those pastimes a clean finish. ceadesign.it

30 July 2013

Quaint It Ain't

To the relief of the gingham-averse [I count myself among that lot], there's ample stylistic latitude within the country genre of design. Thanks to an un-cutesy use of color and form, this bath is both easy-going and aesthetically pleasing. Even the quilt-inspired floor treatment gets a pass from me; it puts me in mind of a Robert Indiana work, 'USA 666'. bestorarchitecture.com

29 July 2013

More Than Monochrome

Mixing cool and warm tones—I count five of them—keeps the visual boredom of the all-white kitchen at bay while preserving the essential color palette. Subtle shading isn't the only design tactic that gives this space character, though. There's some unorthodox geometry at work, too. The range hood has a curious shed-roof-like look to it, and the sink pops right out of the cabinet frontage. dica.es

26 July 2013

Tending the Home Fires

No franks-n-beans, s'mores, or other campfire standards here; this honorable, dutiful, and helpful Cub Scout is earning his 'Bachelor Cooking' award under more domestic conditions. This flashback dates from 1945, and I suspect that, in the wartime context of G.I.s returning home, Norge was looking for a message that not only emphasized civic service but also sought to build a bridge between the generations of new veterans and young boys. It's an enlightened—and enlightening—stance: After years of depicting women venturing out of the kitchen and into factories to support the war effort, this is a pretty impressive take on traditional gender roles.

25 July 2013

The Bright Type

If you've ever wanted to see your name—or at least initials—in lights, I'd recommend these Graphic Lamps as a starting point. Illuminated letters, numbers, and symbols in twisted riffs on classic fonts would bring some personal[ized] style to the bath or kitchen. Some are neon, other use filament bulbs. So much better than monogrammed towels, yes? delightfull.eu

24 July 2013

Every Inch Counts

Decorative tile treatments notwithstanding, I've long been a proponent of putting the kitchen backsplash to work. Add-on railing systems are a terrific retrofit option, but in a perfect world, built-in storage gets my vote, as it integrates with the architecture of the room as well as the cabinets. This configuration, part of Varenna's 'My Planet' kitchen, keeps things interesting with its composed design and use of materials—embossed lacquered aluminum and oak-look melamine. poliform.it

23 July 2013

Side By Side

Although at first it might perplex a plumber, the split-level 'Family' sink has a credible design raison d'être. The lower basin is child-height, which for some households might ease traffic congestion on busy mornings in the bathroom. vitra.com

22 July 2013

Hues in Hiding

Sometimes chic can be so...serious. Black, white, or grey kitchens convey an urbane air, but every now and then even the most diehard minimalist craves a fix of color. The Riciclantica Carbonio kitchen lets you have it both ways. Lift up the doors and the somber façade is broken by bright cabinet interiors. valcucine.com

19 July 2013

Splish Splash

Perhaps that headline ought to read, 'Turns Monday into Pay-day'? A believer in 20/20 hindsight, I'm a bit suspicious about situations that involve Big Oil. In 1952, Shell was touting its waterproof lubricant as an important factor in the performance of Maytag's ever-reliable washers. By sealing off the power unit from leaking liquid, the grease protected the mechanics against corrosion and electrical shorts. But even though Shell promised there would be no internal oil spills onto clean clothes, I can't help but think the company may have been indulging in a little double dipping.

In any case, the illustration showing long johns, overalls, and dresses having a happy splash in the tub is a thoroughly positive spin on washday. See you Monday—oops, I mean, Fun-day—dear readers.

18 July 2013

The Heat Is On

Crusading chef Jamie Oliver is expanding his imprimatur with a collection of outdoor, wood-fired bake ovens. Should the ad hoc appearance of the portable Dome 60 model not complement your alfresco kitchen, there are several built-in masonry units from which to choose, some of which have a curious, Hobbit-y look to them. [Tangential-topic comment: In our current heatwave, one would only need to drop the dough on the sidewalk to get a nice blistered char. It's that hot here.] jamieoliver.com

17 July 2013

Cephalopodic Catch-All

Designed by Jens Widerberg, the endearing Octopus organizer just might help contain the ever-expanding glut of shampoos and such that clutter the shower. Soft, stretchy tentacles loop around bottles, keeping them off the floor and in reach. It's available in five colors. stilsucht.de

16 July 2013

Eye Opener

A view of the treetops or a blank tile wall—how would you rather begin the day? An exercise in simplicity, the design of this shower smooths the sometimes jarring process of waking up. heliotropearchitects.com

15 July 2013

Kitty Corner

Well, if you suspect that I'm featuring this kitchen because there happens to be a cat figuring prominently in the room, you'd be at least half right. There are, as well, plenty of design lessons ripe for the learning. One is the compatibility between the traditional architecture and the contemporary appliances and cabinetry. Another detail I like: The elevated seating alcove. There's something reassuringly ritualistic about about stepping up into such a niche; it's simultaneously cozy and open.

12 July 2013

Vive La France, Fin

Looking at this 1935 ad, you can almost hear the strains of 'Le Marseillaise' in the air. Who knew that a refrigerator—a towering one at that—was the galvanizing factor behind the legendary camaraderie of the Légion Étrangère [aka the Foreign Legion]? Its cooling power proved triumphant in the deserts of Africa, no less, as the camels and fez-wearing folks in the shadows of the fridge attest.

Happy Bastille Day! Aux armes, citoyens... Le jour de gloire est arrivé!

11 July 2013

Vive La France, Day 4

Continuing KBCULTURE's salute to La Fête Nationale, I'd like to share a small but telling example of product design that illustrates la différence between the Gallic sensibility and that of the rest of the world. Your typical beach- or market-umbrella base is filled with sand; the French fill theirs with champagne. [This model is named Coupe.]

I rest my case. sywawa.com

10 July 2013

Vive La France, Day 3

Technically, the Fontaine Laorus is a garden accessory, a clever way to conceal a hose. But I see it as most wonderful addition to an alfresco kitchen or bath. Place either the shallow or deep bucket/basin on the three-legged stand/stool and you have a handy [not to mention chic] sink. Designed by architect Patrick Nadeau, the powder-coated steel unit comes in seven colors. laorus.fr

09 July 2013

Vive La France, Day 2

A tour de force of pattern, color, and texture—would you expect anything less from a leading force in French fashion? Christian Louboutin, originator of the much-coveted, red-soled chaussures, opts for a softer hue in his bath [I'd peg it as being somewhere between periwinkle and wisteria] but turns up the drama in the materials selection. A wall of fan-shaped, irridescent tiles contrasts with slabs of bookmatched stone whose veining suggests—to me, at least—a waterfall. christianlouboutin.com

08 July 2013

Vive La France!

Last week's posts were loosely themed around America's independence celebrations. For the next five days, I'll be paying a transatlantic tribute to France, in anticipation of Bastille Day.

It's not just combining a variety of old woods that creates a nouveau look in this kitchen. By supporting the upper cabinets on a continuous, cantilevered surface [it's really much more than a shelf], Parisian designers Gilles et Boisssier redefine the room in a wholly original fashion. gillesetboissier.com

05 July 2013

The Eye of the Beholder

Looking at this ad from 1936, a mini bout of melancholia overtook me. There is such a strong sense of spirit to this stove—indeed, the claim that it 'sets a new world standard of beauty' has merit, regardless of whether or not the style was widely embraced by the populace. It seems to me that with appliance design today, function has held the upper hand over form for too long; innovation in performance has become incremental, rather than sweeping. So I'll look forward to the swing of the proverbial pendulum back toward exciting artistic visions.

04 July 2013

Wine, Cooler

Whether you're chilling out poolside, on the beach, or in the backyard, KBCULTURE sends wishes for a festive Fourth of July.

For today, this is my take on the ideal outdoor refrigerator. georgeacopoulos.com

03 July 2013

Cook Out

While I have plenty of more elaborate outdoor kitchens to share with you throughout the summer, there's something about this utterly basic design—called QZone—that strikes me as an appealingly modest counterpoint to tomorrow's traditionally cacophonous celebrations. The aluminum-framed pavilion is topped by fabric roof panels and measures roughly eight-by-eight feet. [Too small for you? Just add another cubic module.] The slatted backsplash accommodates a variety of storage accessories: hanging shelves, rods, et cetera. allplus.eu

02 July 2013

Pyrotechnic Pendant

Discs of glass and metal seem to be frozen in a fireworks-like pattern in the Confetti light fixture. Their random diameters and shimmering colors lend a celebratory flair to baths or kitchens of an independent style. This 20-inch pendant features ruby, peach and opaline glass; custom color schemes are available. avramrusu.com

01 July 2013

Woe is We

Unpredictable downpours and oppressive humidity threaten—oh, let's get real, they promise—to put a significant damper on this holiday week. Anyone looking forward to spending some time in the great outdoors would be well advised to have a Plan B in the works [the particularly prudent will have an alphabet's worth of contingency strategies]. This kitchen, with its palette of natural materials and wrap-around windows, would be one of my pick locations in which to weather these unwelcome storms.