30 April 2014

Rustic Meets Refined

While I'm a fan of using reclaimed wood, it's a design trend that could benefit from some fresh thinking. So I welcome the Materia Multicolor collection of bath furniture. Wrapped in matte white wood, drawers fronted in stained and distressed fir, this console vanity is thoughtfully designed and composed; a fact that lifts it above the pillaged-scrap-bin look that is so pervasive these days. bianchinicapponi.it

29 April 2014

Miles of Tiles

This bath, a tour de force of ceramic tile, is my nod to Coverings, the tile and stone trade show currently underway in the cultural way station of Las Vegas. Located in an infinitely more appealing location—Malibu, California—it's part of the Adamson House, a 1929 Spanish-style residence that was home to the founder of Malibu Potteries, which produced these tiles from clay pits dug on the property. Once in danger of being demolished for a parking lot, the house is open for tours, and it is spectacular. adamsonhouse.org

28 April 2014

It's All in the Accents

The work table looks a little flimsy, √° la a certain Scandinavian chain of knock-down furniture stores, but there are lessons to be learned from this nonetheless pleasing kitchen. Prime among them: Dead-plain cabinets can play nicely with textured-tile walls and funky pendant lights. Some might be critical of the counter between the cabinets, deeming it awkward and out of reach, but I'll suggest that some bits of kitchen clutter are better left in the dark. doimocucine.it

25 April 2014

Orange, Crushed

I actually feel sorry for that produce. Squished tightly together, with no room for air to circulate, it would made a sad salad indeed if freed from its plastic prison. Evidently back in 1956, fruits and veggies were second-class nutritional citizens, to be relegated to cramped, in-door refrigerator compartments. It's quite a different scene today, as we treat heirloom and organic crops with much more respectful storage.

24 April 2014

Aesthetic Alloy

The craze for copper continues, for the most part happily. Some versions of the metal do veer off toward the orangey segment of the spectrum, but generally the hardware has an authentic warmth. Here's a new, rather sophisticated spin on the color. Called Cyprum, it's a rose-gold hue that I think is an elegant alternative to the mainstream; it's available on select lines of the manufacturer's kitchen and bath plumbing. A reliable source tells me that the floor-mounted tub filler will be offered in a split finish: the upper portion of the fitting will be in Cyprum, while the base will be in black or white. Dapper, I say. dornbracht.com

23 April 2014

A Kosher Counter?

Appropriate to DAED [Day After Earth Day, and a loaded anagram if there ever was one], the Chatham kitchen island is cobbled together from salvaged timbers and tin ceiling panels. The butcherblock top has a particularly curious provenance: It's made of reclaimed pickle-barrel staves. sundancecatalog.com

22 April 2014

Shower Empowered

Carbon-dependency, de-forestation, climate change—on this Earth Day, there's certainly no shortage of global crises to address. On a more manageable scale, the Water Pebble can help keep your water usage in check. Placed near the drain, it takes a baseline measurement of the duration of your shower and the volume of water consumed. For all subsequent showers, the Pebble not only signals [via a yellow light] the half-way point of the cleansing routine, but also automatically shortens the length of the shower.

Every drop in the proverbial bucket helps. uncommongoods.com

21 April 2014

To Dye For

Easter has come and gone, its concentrated dose of color and pattern having served as a kind of graphic jump-start to spring. Adding to the visual stimulation for me was an afternoon spent walking the galleries of the Met. And so this kitchen, gentle on the eye as it is, makes an uncomplicated entry point for the week ahead. obumex.be

18 April 2014

Smell the Roses

On this Easter weekend, I'm keeping Flashback Friday simple: Few words, and a 1925 illustration that conveys a small gesture of goodness and renewal.

Have a sweet holiday, dear readers.

17 April 2014

Stone Clone

Unlike most quarried stones with their slabbish heaviness, alabaster has a sense of mystery about it. Its liquid-like veining, its translucent depth, its alternating smokiness and luminescence—all these qualities combine to make it one of my favorite materials. And here are all those traits transformed into a verisimilar porcelain tile, making what could be considered an impractical surface an accessible design element. rex-cerart.it

16 April 2014

Not Your Basic Basin

Konstantin Grcic has been developing sink prototypes—lots of them, take my word for it—for Laufen, utilizing its SaphirKeramik material. The lightweight clay can be formed into tight corner radii, ultra-thin walls, and subtle textures; all properties Grcic is methodically exploring with both precision and vigor. We'll have to wait and see which designs make the cut, but this sneak peek should keep your curiosity up. laufen.com

15 April 2014


In a different place and time, I would scoff at the idea of a mirrored vent hood—and in a picture frame, no less. But here and now, with neo-retro design still trending on, I'm content to set my aesthetic objections aside. Pitching off the wall, the Amelie hood recalls an old-world gallery installation. elica.com

14 April 2014

Time and Space

With one foot in the 1970s and the other in the 2010s, this kitchen is revealing in its design. Wood-and-white, so popular some decades ago, has made quite the comeback; the contemporary twist is the flat-front door panels, with their emphasis on continuous horizontal grain. Another juxtaposition of past and present: the appliances. Brand-new wall ovens contrast with the age-old Aga cooker, tucked away in a paneled alcove. plaarchitects.ie

11 April 2014

Contrast and Hold

It's a bit depressing to think that in late 1950s-early 1960s, the kitchen environment was so generic that a refrigerator handle could imbue the room with style and character. Considering that the primitive capabilities of broadcasting limited folks to seeing classic television kitchen-sets of the same era [think 'Donna Reed' and 'Leave It to Beaver'] in black-and-white, we can only guess at how such a Technicolor accent would have impacted the room.

10 April 2014

Remembered Places

Artist Do Ho Suh stitches incredibly detailed, gossamer sculptures of buildings and interiors. Simply put, his work is about the memory of place. I'm finding the cloud-like, amorphous environments a suitable precursor to a long flight home. [The fact that the installation is sagging ever-so-slightly is not lost on me; in fact, it makes it all the more fitting.] lehmannmaupin.com

09 April 2014

Restful Room

Who's to say that the only way to render a bathroom relaxing is with white walls, picture windows, and a tub smack in the middle of the space? This carefully composed bath ignores that design cliché and invites with a strong yet soft palette of shapes, colors, and materials. The lighting adds both intimacy and exoticism.

08 April 2014

Cross-Culture Kitchen

Such a curious flourish in a standard-issue contemporary kitchen. The natural wood shelves are a comfortable enough contrast, but it's the carved and painted 'column capital' that really catches the eye. I'm surprised at how well the folk-arty accent works in this context. This is a detail of the Morning Calm kitchen. toncelli.it

07 April 2014

Nature's Way

Spring is slow to arrive this year. Gradually, the days brighten, green seeps back into the landscape, a bud or blossom appears. With its muted light and cautious colors, the gentle space of this kitchen engenders patience and promise. jansongoldstein.com

04 April 2014

Poetic License

My. The 1945 Westinghouse freezer would have to have been a very special appliance indeed to inspire verse. In today's freon-less world, it might be more appropriate to pen 'Ode to the Ozone' rather than 'O stands for Oodles/of frozen food space/For every last item/there's just the right place.' But I don't want to be a kill-joy. Click the image and read more rhyming paeans like 'R stands for Raspberries/picked at their prime/You'll serve 'em in winter/and have a gay time.'

03 April 2014

Counter Intelligent

Looking back at this week's posts, it seems I've entered a storage-compulsive phase. [The state of my desktop exposes the irony of that claim.] This clever prep center continues that focus, just on a smaller scale. With knives kept on one side of the sliding chopping board and a compost container on the other, the functional sequence is a model of organization. toncelli.it

02 April 2014

Un-Building Blocks

Do two fragmented cabinet concepts a trend make? First this, and now Gitta Gschwendtner's Drawer Kitchen. While the island configuration certainly centralizes the storage, designing individual drawers that break the typical boring boundaries of the unit is another riff on what may be an emerging theme in cabinetry for open-plan kitchens. schiffini.it

01 April 2014

Bewildering Bathroom

In this bath, morning ablutions might be a mind-stretching experience. Is the toothpaste in the credenza over the sink, or in the inverted nightstand at the door? This intricate installation was hardly done by a fool—of the first-of-April variety or otherwise. studiosimple.be