And the Washer/Dryer Goes To...

The Vanity Fair Academy Awards party? Ho-hum. Elton John's post-Oscars bash? Meh. Madonna? Yawn. These modern cinematic celebrations pale when compared to the star-studded affair staged by Westinghouse in 1953. Who wouldn't want to hob-nob with Yvonne De Carlo, Ronald Reagan, Edward G. Robinson, Eve Arden and other Hollywood luminaries as they mingle with various major appliances? Ah, the golden days...

Hot Stuff

The launch of a full line of new kitchen appliances has been a rare event during the fiscal malaise. Costly in time and money, it's an investment for which not many manufacturers have been willing to ante up. So the April advent of the Benchmark collection is cause for celebration [at least for k/b geeks like me]. One small detail I love: The wall oven will be offered with a side-opening door.

Water Colors

Sheathing the spout in silicone not only gives the Pop a smack of color, it also introduces a matte element into the otherwise-glossy design mix. The bright hues are playful indeed, but the black/grey combo is surprisingly chic.

Down to Earth—Literally

A head-turning design belies the very—and I do mean very—basic function of this waterless toilet. Liquid waste drains away into a grey-water system. Nothing revolutionary about that, right? But solid material takes a different path. It is conveyed into a composting chamber that is populated by earthworms, who do what earthworms do to ensure a clean commode.

Winter Rewind

As we are about to replay the infamous Polar Vortex scenario, this kitchen seems a fitting way to welcome this soon-to-be-frigid week. Let me explain my snow-scrambled thinking. Of course, it's more than the ice-white color that makes it appropriate; the quasi-circular form of the islands underscores the cyclical path of nature.


There's only one reason why I chose this ad for today's Flashback Friday post. The agitator bears an uncanny resemblance to the 'Friendship 7' space capsule that took John Glenn around the world on this date in 1962. It seems to indicate—to my uneducated eye, at least—that flying through space and churning through water are efficiently accomplished by a a conical-shaped object.

Appliance designers and aerospace engineers, I await your comments.

Slice of Life

It's been a busy, even beleaguered, week, dear readers. I find it settling to focus on the under-appreciated points of design; hence this sectional view of Bio-Glass counter surfacing. Made of recycled glass, its interlocking elements remind me how important connections—the deep emotional ones—are in life.

Kitchen Condensed

I'm fascinated by how the Monolith turns a void [the space occupied by a kitchen] into a solid. The design imposes new behavior patterns for the user, too: one must circle around an object, rather than walk across a room, to prepare a meal. In addition to the appliances, all four faces of the unit are fitted with copious storage.

Bathroom Blitz

This bathroom is certainly not of the 'personal sanctuary' variety, that's for sure. Brash, even a bit overbearing, the design challenges rather than coddles. I see it as an example of how light fixtures can completely define the character of a room. Can you envision traditional flame-lamped sconces in there? [Can you say 'bo-ring'?]

Here We Go Again

Where shall I begin? 1] It is Monday. 2] There is an arctic's worth of snow on the ground outside. 3] More of said detested White Stuff is predicted to fall tonight. It is enough to force me into hibernation, or at least draw the drapes and sulk for the rest of the day. But this kitchen coaxes me out of that funk with its far-better window treatment. The shutters screen the nivosity from view while letting in light, and the dimensionality of the louvers echo the exquisite wooden handles on the cabinets.

Cold Comfort

At one time or another, I'm guessing that we have all spent Valentine's Day in the company of everyone's soulmates in solitude, Ben and Jerry. So why shouldn't we leave a bouquet of roses at their domicile, the refrigerator/freezer? Frigidaire thought it was a fine idea in 1964. Today, we might consider extending our appliance-appreciation practice to the microwave, as well—offering a posy for the electronic enabler of Orville Redenbacher, perhaps?

Seasonal Surrender

Today, fourteen inches of snow fell. Tonight, we're due for up to another seven inches. And as I tap out these words, thunder and lightning fill the night sky. Winter, you win. All I ask before throwing in the metaphorical towel is a lingering soak to coddle my shoveling-strained muscles. The Origin tub, with its ample deck [the better to hold a glass of wine and a good book] looks like a most suitable spot for just that.

A Clear Case

I like this reinvented wall cabinet. Resting on the work surface, it has a greater capacity and is easier to access than its conventional counterpart. The hefty shelves are well-placed, in relation to the framing of the vitrine-like case; such attention to detail is important when everything is visible.

In Third Place

Once upon a time, Olympics judges held cardboard paddles—similar to bidding paddles at an auction—aloft to signal their scores. The wallpaper in this bathroom reminds me of that pre-digital tradition. While a rating of '3' won't likely capture a medal in any sport, the funky typographical treatment certainly merits an honorable mention.

A Comrade's Kitchen

This kitchen in St. Petersburg is going for the gold in more ways than one. Antiques dealer Sergei Bobonikov has outfitted the room with an absorbing assortment of Soviet-era castoffs, many culled from railroad stations. While not opulent on a Tzarist scale, there is a chaotic kind of grandeur to the room that I find quite winning.

On Thin Ice

Assumedly, Vladimir Putin would say nyet to the same-sex pair of skaters who fetchingly [perhaps far-fetchingly?] embodied the features of Gibson's newest refrigerator—but back in 1947, there seemed to be no such public prejudice. As the Sochi winter Olympiad gets underway, I hope that the Games' historic message of fairness and equality can shine through.

Deep Drop-Off

It's interesting how the dimensional extremes of this marble sink shifts it from simple bathroom fitting to sculpture. The deep, hemispherical basin contrasts with the flat, wing-like ledge. It leaves me musing about the relationship between mass and void.

Mixer Remixed

Sometimes a classic design provides a point of departure for artists. Slicing off the top section of the Align faucet's handle could been seen as painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa, or a confident act of creative rebellion. Either way, it works for me.

Sunny, with Shower

Thanks to a winter that just won't quit, traveling yesterday was even more arduous than usual. Canceled flights; a slippery, slushy ride to the airport; the acrid-sweet smell of de-icing solution filling the cabin of the plane—you get the idea. Now if there was a bathroom like this at the end of the journey, I might be able to overlook the travails of the day. Sizing the width of the shower entrance to match the window opens the enclosure, and the scrolled sidewalls lend a flourish to the otherwise folksy space.

Place of Peace

In a few hours I shall see the always-illuminated streets of the great disconnect that is Las Vegas, a city that I do not pretend to understand. Tomorrow begins KBIS, the North American kitchen/bath industry show, with its particular brand of celebratory commerce. In preparation, I'm seeking solace in this serene kitchen by Belgian architect Anne Derasse. The room's most interesting feature: its 'shelves' are actually serving trays, resting on rods that cantilever from the wall. A graceful, responsive idea.