30 September 2014

Paper Chase

It seems there are two schools of thought when it comes to the issue of toilet paper storage. Some take the subtle route, seeking to hide the essential tissues from sight. More exuberant types might find this combination dispenser/container an artistic opportunity of sorts, whether loaded with white or bright papers. 'Patriq' comes in grey, white, or pink lacquered metal. Single roll models are available, too, if you're not quite ready to make such a statement in your bath. direct-d-sign.com

29 September 2014

Putting the Pieces Together

Thinking about the busy weeks ahead—a full calendar of clamorous deadlines and the start of a relatively detailed construction project—this thoughtfully ordered kitchen design offers reassurance. The cabinets are successfully and beautifully orchestrated. Precise but not rigid or rote, they make the complex appear simple. stevenholl.com

26 September 2014

Hot Head

Hey, lady, I'd back away from that eye-level broiler if I were you, else your 1967 Vidal Sassoon bob or Mary Quant eyelashes go up in flames. This feature strikes me as an idea that sounds great on paper, but when put into practice, its shortcomings become obvious. The main issue is, of course, safety. Even though the manufacturer touted the two-handled pan as being stable to maneuver, it's not hard to imagine 'his steak' [!] sliding off into his peas and making quite the mess for her to clean up.

25 September 2014

Chips Off the Block

Wooden-bead light strings are usually rough around the edges. I like the approach taken with these Bright Beads because it's more art than craft. Each piece, made of FSC-certified timber, is finely hand-carved and finished; the forms, too, are more interesting than basic spheres and cubes. marzdesigns.com

24 September 2014

Hitching Post

Continuing the unintentional theme of this week's posts—wood—here's an item that was just shown at Cersaie, the sensory-overloading Italian trade fair of ceramic tile and bathwares. This radical interpretation of a vanity is part of the Dressage collection. I think I see a playful visual pun at work, here; the precision movements of the equine ballet are echoed by the controlled placement of the sink and storage units, aligned atop a wooden frame whose four legs are arrayed in a trot. Designed by Studio Lombardo Nespoli & Novara, it's made of solid canaletto walnut. graff-faucets.com

23 September 2014

Back [Again] to Nature

Here's a rustic bath indeed, but imbued with a keen sense of the dramatic. The timber is monumental—no wimpy 5-inch planks for this design. A conventional ceramic sink has no place in such an elemental space, so the spilt-rock basin has been called into the picture, making yet another style comeback. The faucet set, hefty and refined, pulls the room back from the brink of theme-design.

22 September 2014

Split-Decision Kitchen

On the plus side: That wood. Carefully milled and constructed, the cabinet doors might even be waxed, then buffed to a warm glow that puts the amazing figure of the material front and center.

I'm ambivalent about the floor. Pushed to make a decision, I'd say the checkerboard pattern is a mite too contrasty and cottagey for the room, à la MacKenzie-Childs.

19 September 2014

Passing Fancies

1951 looks like it was quite a transitional year, design-wise. Western-Holly jumbled streamlining with international style and not-quite-pastel colors, then boldly ventured into dubious territory by implying the resulting appliance was a work of art. Novel, yes—but art? Somehow, peering through a port-hole window at a ham falls a little short of that standard.

18 September 2014

A Clean Sweep

Some see solid surfacing as a sterile, characterless material. This installation might sway that thinking a bit. One with the countertop, the basin and sloped drain board are simple, elegant, and functional. A [literally] pretty persuasive case, I'd say. doimocucine.it

17 September 2014

Beauty Under Glass

With interlayers of fragile capiz shell, translucent onyx, wiry bear grass, and a stunning array of other natural elements, these glass and resin panels are a lovely [and permanent] way to extend the summer season indoors, during the dormant months of fall and winter. Perhaps the more pessimistic would suggest this is a way to preserve the bio-world—but I am not that strident. livinglass.com

16 September 2014


It's September, so of course [assume sarcastic tone, now] it's time to focus on Thanksgiving and its full-bore deployment of kitchen appliances. This feature, seen at the IFA trade show in Berlin, would definitely make a cook's life easier during the culinary madness of that holiday. It's a hands-free hinge, able to open an oven with [assume awed tone, now] a mere tap on the door panel. The eHinge holds great promise, I think. apparatebau.it

15 September 2014

Looking Up

A weekend hike revealed skies of a blue only seen in late summer time. A clear but ultimately complex shade, I think it would be impossible to replicate in pigment. Clouds were smoothly smeared across the vista; no puffy cumulus, but wind-sculpted stretches of white. These days are treasured, before the grey of autumn and winter sets in. tvis.com

12 September 2014

It's So You

New York Fashion Week wrapped up yesterday, and as I scanned the runway shows, I didn't notice too much in the way of Buttercup Yellow or Seafoam Green. And the models weren't catwalking with arms outstretched. But it seems like such things were in vogue in 1953, along with magically self-supporting console sinks and a corner tub—which, in a slightly modified form, is still available today. Some designs become classics, others just fade away.

11 September 2014

Handles, With Care

A faucet with two lever handles is quite the curiosity. Yet that's precisely what Danish designer Anders Hermansen has created with the A-Pex [the name reflects the position of the controls on the top of the spout]. Consumer research indicated that folks wanted controls within easy reach, hence this convenient configuration. One handle regulates the water's temperature; the other, its flow. The fitting is available for both the kitchen and the bath. damixa.com

10 September 2014

Eye for Detail

I'm consistently impressed by the big difference a small design detail can make. Case in point: The fittings in this sky-lit shower. Chrome or stainless couldn't stand up to the austere architecture, but the matte black trim more than holds its own in the carefully composed space. simonastridge.com

09 September 2014

Top Drawer Design

Be still my beating heart. This gorgeous array of drawers, combining practicality with precision design, is a most deserving winner in this year's Red Dot awards program. Offering two-sided storage without resorting to open shelving or not-always-efficient cabinet inserts, the 'Multilevel' unit can cap off an interior run of base cabinets or comprise a peninsula or island installation. I think it's genius. kuhlmannkueche.de

08 September 2014

Beacons of Hope

No. Not yet. Just because the calendar says September is no reason to retreat indoors, even if the days are getting appreciably shorter. Besides, the just-debuted outdoor versions of the 217XL and 213XL fixtures will keep outdoor kitchens in a very stylish light, no matter how early night may fall. lampegras.fr

05 September 2014

Foot Fault

Not only is it Fashion Week here in NYC, but we're heading into the final weekend of the US Open, as well. In my opinion, the gent in this circa 1980s advert is the sartorial superior to today's tennis players; the baggy Bermudas seen today just don't have the [ahem] panache of the tailored shorts of—can it be?—thirty years ago. One would have to be an athlete to navigate the design perils of this bathroom. Not only is the Roman tub a potential pitfall, but the zillions of props scattered all over the place pose a serious hazard, both physically and aesthetically.

04 September 2014

Stopping Reefer Madness

The school year has begun, and that ensures the refrigerator will be opened promptly at 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday, until next summer. This door-in-door model won't curtail that behavior, but it could cut down on the electric bill, as it allows the main cooling compartment to remain sealed while still permitting access to a smaller, separate section of the fridge. Strategically stocking the outer enclosure of the Food ShowCase with juice boxes, string cheese, and assorted snacks du jour precludes the need for youngsters to rummage robotically through more grown-up victuals. samsung.com

03 September 2014

Paging Williamsburg + Portland

I think I've found a kitchen cart that even a domesticity-shunning hipster might fancy. The bluestone work surface and raw metal frame are gritty materials with a fair amount of street cred. And the eccentric polygonal form of the sliding wire bins certainly adds to the storage trolley's post-industrial presence. produitinterieurbrut.com

02 September 2014

Quick Change Artistry

Long the least glamorous fixture in the bath, the toilet has bogged down many a remodeling with its unchanging appearance. But now, just in time for Fashion Week, nonetheless, that drab history may have come to an end. Designed by Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri, the Abito [the Italian word translates to 'dress'—clever!] model can change up its look. Once the wall-mounted commode is in place, a glazed-ceramic shroud—offered in a palette of several colors and patterns—is slipped onto the bowl. Naturally, there's a short animation illustrating the installation process, with the fixture apparently being assembled by a poltergeist plumber. hatria.com

01 September 2014

Convertible Kitchen

On this Labor Day holiday, there will likely be some backyard barbecues that may be forced to retreat because of inclement weather. This outdoor/indoor design would minimize the disruption such a situation would inflict; thanks to sliding glass doors and an ingenious, snug-fitting window that seals off the sweep of counter, one is free to commune with the elements at will without shutting down the party. maynardarchitects.com