Giving Thanks, the Finale

In the wake of yesterday's good-spirited gluttony, today [and possibly for several weeks hence] leftovers shall reign at the dinner table. There would certainly be ample room in this 1950 home freezer for pie, stuffing, gravy, pie, drumsticks, sweet potatoes, and pie.

Giving Thanks, Day 4

I started today off by inventing a new yoga position: the Turkey Squat. Actually, I was maneuvering a twenty-six pound/twelve kilo bird into our under-counter oven, and the experience quite viscerally reminded me to lift with your legs, not with your back. This oven, which rises upwards for loading, would make that awkward experience a thing of the past.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers.

Giving Thanks, Day 3

Despite the holiday, there will be some very early risers tomorrow morning. Those who are charged with overseeing the preparation of Mr. Tom Turkey will be the first up and about, quite likely before dawn. It is to these folks that I dedicate this post, featuring an ingenious solution called the Compact4All. Four appliance modules—toaster, juicer, coffee maker, and hot water kettle—can be stretched out linearly or stacked up as shown to make breaking the fast a centralized, step-saving procedure.

Giving Thanks, Day 2

Such a countertop arrangement—a meeting of two materials, stone and wood—would stand any kitchen in good stead for the upcoming cooking marathon. One heat-proof, one knife friendly, the surfaces cover all the bases.

Giving Thanks, Day 1

While the tabletop harvest of gourds and pumpkins is in the spirit for this week's Thanksgiving, I think this kitchen is more than superficially set for the holiday. Durable materials hold up to the rigors of the preparing the biggest of feasts, and the efficient galley layout minimizes the running about the room.

Everything—and More

Well, Tappan, this kitchen actually has even more than you reckon. In addition to the full complement of your appliances, it has an overload of 1970s decorating touches. The fake brick chimney. The gastrointestinal shade of yellow that coats the floor, walls, and counters. And let's not forget the wood-grain [as opposed to wood] cabinets. Come to think of it, those features are the likely reasons why the kitchen was missing 'you.'

Pilar of Strength

This unseasonable, nation-wide cold snap instigates escapist thoughts on a long, hot soak. To that end, the Arris tub filler offers more than modern good looks; the fitting has been designed to anchor especially securely to the floor joists, thus eliminating the dreaded wobble that typically afflicts similar freestanding fillers.

Sitting Pretty

And so it is again World Toilet Day. The point of this annual observance, of course, is to raise awareness of poor sanitary conditions around the globe. At the same time, there's no harm in raising awareness of the outstanding appearance of the Reve commode. Some squarish toilets look like sitting would be painful, but the softened design of this model takes the edge off that experience.

Thinking Big

Cramped and high-windowed, this powder room would be a melancholy space indeed if it were not for the ambitiously scaled sink. That wall-to-wall block of marble challenges the space—and wins. I would have liked to have witnessed [from a safe distance] the delivery and installation of that weighty fixture.

Old and [Mostly] New

I'm impressed with how the smallest of vintage features—the beamed ceiling and chandelier—imbue this otherwise contemporary kitchen with a comfortable grace. Another seemingly contradictory aspect of the design: Even though it has dark cabinets and floors, the room appears bright. Lovely.

To New Heights

The tallest highrise in New York—1 World Trade Center—officially opened this week. It's been a long time in coming, to say the least. Of its 104 stories, 68 will house offices and 13 are devoted to mechanical systems. The basement alone is five floors. That's half the height of the apartment building depicted in this 1931 advertisement, whose 'cliff dwellers' would enjoy the then-modern convenience of sliding refrigerator shelves. As NYC is, shall we modestly say, a slightly competitive environment, let me counter that boast with another engineering factoid: The elevators in 1WTC are the fastest in the western hemisphere, traveling 23 miles per hour to reach the top floor in 60 seconds.


Opposites, Attracting

Such a compelling mix of colors and textures, here. What makes it special, I think, is the dark grout, which pops the pillowy tile into the foreground. Of course, the asymmetric composition does stick in the mind's eye, too, but I keep coming back to the tile, almost arrogant in its curious, funky shape.

Kitchen Sink Caddy

[This post's a shout-out to my car-crazed friends in Benton Harbor, Michigan; Pleasantville, New York; and Saudi Arabia—you know who you are.]

Giving new meaning to take-out dining, this Sixty Special Fleetwood was one of four Cadillac concept cars made in 1956. With the shotgun seat replaced by a refrigerator, hot plate, sink, toaster, and storage, I'll assume the driver never went hungry during road trips.

Why Not?

Here's something different: brass bath fittings that are encased in reclaimed blackbutt [a variety of eucalyptus] wood or cast in concrete. Meticulously handcrafted, these showerheads, taps, and spouts have a straightforward, geometric design. A fairly specialized look, it's doubtful the collection will be toppling chrome from its pedestal—alas—but that is hardly the point of the matter. It's all about individuality.

Kitchen for Reflection

In truth, not all kitchens are made for cooking. This design, I think, is more attuned to the needs of the psyche than the stomach. The patterned floor gives the space an upbeat tempo, while the proportions of the room, natural materials, and muted, neutral color palette all serve to soothe.

One Word, Benjamin...

...Plaskon. [My apologies to Mike Nichols and Dustin Hoffman.]

Hopefully by the time the Graduate had his abbreviated career counseling session, the chemistry of the material in question had evolved from its 1937 formula; in this ad, the manufacturer proudly cites formaldehyde as an ingredient. Who cared if perishable [ahem] foods were surrounded by such noxious stuff—it brought "beauty and permanent color" to the appliance.

A digression: The proofreader in me insists on noting that while the boast of ten Plaskon parts are in every fridge, I count only nine arrows highlighting the feature.

Pouring It On

A frankly glamorous interpretation of the boiler-room style of plumbing, the hefty Regulator kitchen faucet, in either its single- or double-spout design, physically commands the sink. Wielding the veggie sprayer gives one a certain sense of invincibility, as does pivoting the central knob-topped control lever. I'm not accustomed to a fitting that exudes such an aura of power—but I could get used to it.


The elegance of this bath is wonderfully modern. Elongated arches playing against straight lines, machined steel meeting natural marble, and the soft but bright light—all these elements combine in a near-perfect manner. To say more would take away from the experience of the fabulous design, so I'll just step away from the keyboard, now.

Ring of [Faux] Fire

In the world of technology, there are the early adopters, there are the Luddites, and in between are the uncommitted-but-persuadables. It is to those teeming masses I direct this post. To wean people off the visible cue of gas flames and introduce them to induction cooking, the folks at Samsung have devised an illusion. Turn the control knob to set the heat of each burner, and blue licks of LED-light 'fire' rise up and down the walls of the pan, indicating the temperature setting.

Looking Ahead

Although we have reveled in an early autumn that has been distinctly summer-like, the snow that hit our friends to the north today is a reminder of the inevitable. This kitchen, with its flurry of pendant lights and cool palette, is my abstract acknowledgement of the winter that will eventually arrive.