Organization Freaky

How have I gotten so far in life without a Cheese File? Not to mention an Egg Keeper that organizes four dozen eggs. If only a strange little apparition-girl had paraded through my consciousness carrying a placard informing me of such neatening features...but there's no use crying over milk that has spilled from an Exclusive Beverage Keeper, is there?

Stone: Still on a Roll

Just when I think that the hollowed-rock-as-sink trend has [ahem] eroded away, along comes a basin to prove me wrong. The audacious stature of the Gong sink pleases me; that, and its cave-like configuration, gives it an architectural presence. It is hand-crafted of marble.

Two In One

While often striking in situ, there's something about a freestanding tub that seems isolated. This design alleviates that impression, because it has two—not just one—functions. Appending a sink to a bathroom fixture has precedents, but this scheme, called Symbiosis, is especially effective, I think; it enhances the overall appearance of the tub while expanding its capabilities.


Despite having far too much work to do, yesterday's weather was too lovely to resist; the garden proved magnetic. Here's a mosaic memento of that afternoon, as rendered by Erin Adams.

A Day Off

Hardly an exemplar of high design, this kitchen, but it's completely simpatico with a spring-time holiday afternoon. My one suggestion: Put that lonely bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé on ice, pronto.

Fighting Fare

In 1945, sailor George Sacco took obvious pride in his role as cook and baker aboard the USS Cod, a Gato-class submarine. His galley was fitted [or should I say 'crammed'?] with the basics: ovens and griddles, a deep fryer, an ice cream maker, and the precious coffee machine. Refrigerator and freezer compartments were elsewhere in the vessel. Working with limited provisions, cooks had to plan meals in sixty-day periods; the length of a typical patrol. Baking and roasting were often done at night, when the sub could safely surface and the ventilation system was opened, exhausting heat and odors from the kitchen.

Remember those who served.

Choice Table

Some of us [ahem] have already begun the long holiday weekend. While the weather will be spotty, there will be more than enough opportunity to abandon the kitchen for alfresco cooking. And eating. This simple parsons-style picnic table features a built-in grill that, while it might not be spacious enough for burgers for a crowd, would certainly suffice for dinner for four. Coordinating side chairs are available.

The New Old

Could it be that the pendulum of style is starting to swing again? The long affair with gritty, industrial-look kitchens—the more beaten up, the better—might be moving into a new, more genteel phase. This room keeps many of the hallmarks of the weathered design, but remains untouched by faux rust and artificially-distressed raw woods. Lightweight concrete counters, selectively painted door fronts, and galvanized barn door hardware on the base cabinets seem to comprise a bellwether of change—at least to me.

Change It Up

In both form and finish, these fixtures add an unexpectedly modern style to the bath. A wide band of porcelain finished with a painted, faux-wood grain [I'll say it's walnut] swoops around the top half of this toilet and bidet. It's a nice deviation from the all-white norm.

Resting Place

Midway through the over-extended appointment calendar that is NYCxD, my immersion into color, form, and pattern [not to mention conversation, food, and drink] is dangerously profound. My eyes, and my mind, too, need a break. This spare but personable space—complete with watchful cat and errant light bulb—offers me a respite from the visual overload of these busy days.

A Breath of Fresher Air

The frankness of this 1913 ad is welcome, but rather startling, to one raised on a media diet of slickness and sex appeal. Mr. Leonard pulls no punches describing the perils of inferior refrigerators, citing ptomaine poisoning as the consequence of appliances that lack a porcelain interior. The passing mention of Abraham Lincoln—honest Abe, indeed—is a sharp way to enhance Leonard's credibility even while he disparages deceitful salesmen.

A foreshadowing of 21st-century political practices, I'd say.

Confined Quarters

In most cases, such a concentrated geometric composition would make me a bit nervous; lots of lines can generate a cage-like feeling, and this bath is tiny enough as it is. But the small windows do a lot to ease the squeeze.

Come and Get It

Is it necessary to wait until Memorial Day to declare barbecue season open? I think not. Particularly when this extroverted design by David Rockwell is poised to roll out. The grill's lid is fully retractable, completely disappearing into the 'table' when open; this aspect of the design can be appreciated by anyone who has felt shut off from BBQ festivities when caught on the wrong side of a hulking stainless steel hood.

Out of the Loop

High on my list of Abhorred Accessories is the towel ring. While their grab-and-go approach to hand-towel storage is inarguably practical [especially for kids] they are, in a word, hideous. A more aesthetic and creative solution is the elegantly simple design of the Composizione P40. Just tug a corner of the towel through a circular hole in the countertop, and you're done.

Preferred Perch

I think it's safe to say that regardless of what the rest of this kitchen may look like, this dining alcove would be the most popular part of the room. The slightly angled banquette avoids the unsocial, shoulder-to-shoulder seating afforded by a straight bench. My own fantasy about this space would be to stretch out along one section, my back against the base cabinets, look up, and contemplate the treetops.

Happy Equal-Opportunity Mother's Day!

Speaking [or writing] as a woman, I say let's not rush to judgment on the basis on an unfortunate choice of words in this 1938 ad. A closer reading of the copy reveals that Standard Plumbing Fixtures was concerned [aka, sensing a new sales opportunity] about designing appropriate restroom facilities in manufacturing plants that were experiencing an influx of female workers in the wake of increasing  military conscription among men.

It's the thought that counts. Happy Mother's Day.

Pixelated Posies

A soaking spring rain precipitates this post; I'm in desperate need of a shock of color to keep the grey skies from infiltrating my psyche. So much the better that the remedy involves a floral motif. Designed by Paola Navone, the Affresco mosaic would permanently brighten a bath or backsplash.

Handle with Care

These pastel pendant lights have a curious—but I dare say deliberate—contradiction inherent to the design. Their fragility [the shade is porcelain] is at odds with the other elements of the lamp. An industrial-strength cotton cord and counterweight that keeps the pulley-style suspension system in balance are hefty but essential parts of the fixture.

Confetti for the Kitchen

Among the best—and definitely the brightest—of this year's Eurocucina is the suite of storage dubbed  'Add Ons' by Alfredo Häberli. Not only do the units inject strong color into what's often a neutral-hued environment, but when they're strategically appended to perimeter and/or island cabinets, they can screen the open kitchen from view. The designer thinks today's kitchens have become too exposed; this collection offers some privacy, not to mention personality.

Kitchenette 2.0

Only part of a kitchen out in the open, the rest behind doors—that's a concept I can see taking root. It accommodates both shy and show-off design. The floor-to-ceiling fumed oak cabinets comprising the back wall contain the sink, ovens, and the fridge. A cooktop and a couple drawers occupy the metal 'box' on top of the leggy black walnut table. The thicket of suspended steel cylinders aren't simply eye-candy; a couple are home to ventilation; the rest house lighting and stereo speakers. This kitchen is called @home and was designed by C+S Architects.

Innovation Overkill

1938: A year when women were apparently weak and ranges were dangerous, complex, and, in the case of this model from Estate, bizarre. Certainly among the craziest features I've come across in the the annals of appliance history is the 'marvelous mechanical hand'. It's a cumbersome lever mounted on the side of the stove that slides out the baking racks when pulled. As with all such dubious devices, I find myself wondering what would happen if the lever broke or jammed....

At Last

It may be we have a real game-changer, here. I've seen hands-free flushing mechanisms for wall-mounted toilets before, but this touchless design does away with the questionably hygenic and usually ugly trip-lever for conventional tank commodes. Passing a hand through a sensor beam emanating from the tank lid triggers an electromagnetic cue to evacuate the bowl. While it's available with the Cimarron model, there is also a retrofit kit that can be installed on most single-flush toilets that have a flapper or canister-type flush.