Design that Shines, Day 3

Elevating this kitchen from run-of-the-mill rustic is a gleaming streak of stainless steel cabinet doors. The metal again proves its mettle as the great neutral material; as it amplifies light and color, it manages to support, not dominate, all the other elements in the room.

And now for some sparkle of a different sort: It's time for Champagne! Happy New Year to you all, dear readers. Thank you for reading and sharing KBCULTURE. Until tomorrow....

Design that Shines, Day 2

Glinting with gold and silver highlights, this ceramic tile is unexpectedly nuanced. Not only is the glazing technique painterly, but the color tones are amazingly subtle, too. Orione Mix from the Pegaso collection would make a chic, shining backsplash or feature wall in a shower.

Design that Shines

This week, in a tip of the pointy party hat to New Year's festivities, I'll be posting on places and products that have a bit of sparkle, metallic or crystal, to them. To start is this palette-pushing kitchen, which bridges gold and silver elements with a sprout-like shade of green. This combination of materials and color is a new one, for me; at least in natural light, it works.

Salmonella, Santa?

All I want for Christmas is a pink and yellow kitchen. [Not really.] Peeking in the window, Saint Nicholas seems mesmerized, but maybe he's simply scoping out the location of the cookie jar. Or perhaps he's having second thoughts about visiting this 1953 household; given the raw turkey left on the work table, the occupants don't seem too concerned about sanitary food preparation. That's a definite 'naughty'—looks like this home's stockings might be filled with coal.

Oh, Little Star...

...of Bethlehem, or Broadway, or Bangkok—it matters not. Peace and joy to you all, dear readers.

Tonight's the Night

With a certain red-suited someone due to hurtle down chimneys this evening, I give you a simple kitchen fireplace for this Christmas Eve post. [I'm sure Santa will appreciate the proximity of the cookie jar.] The counter-height firebox is the way to go, especially if you're a hipster dabbling in hearth cooking—or a plump, jolly old elf who needs an ergonomic access route.

Limited Shelf Life

Count me among those who are happy to see the open-shelf detail recede from the scene. The stuff arranged on the ledges always seems forced—whether coordinated or eclectic, the vignettes are brittle in their perfection. These large sliding panels give the kitchen a cleaner look than shelves or conventional cupboards, without sacrificing either storage capacity or accessibility. And there's no pressure to design their contents.

Low-Key Kitchen

I'm sure the understated appearance of these cabinets belie the great effort behind their design. The barn-door hardware is beautifully crafted, and the simple, crate-like drawer boxes add just the right amount of color to the composition. [Did you notice they're red and green? It's my nod to the holidays.] Depending on the materials used for the floor, walls, and counter surfaces, this kitchen could go high style or revert to its utilitarian origins.

Don't Look Now...

And in this phantom kitchen, there's no refrigerator-, sink-, or cabinet-watching, either...but I digress. Burners and ovens that can be set to turn off automatically—what's not to like? I imagine that the prospect of a defective timer may have doomed this 1959 feature. Or perhaps it was a cooktop filled with perpetually roiling soups and stews; let's recall the warning of the old adage, 'A watched pot never boils.'

Edgy Design

Valencia-based Mut Design devised this collection of ceramic tiles after studying the way light plays off fish scales; they noted that color tends to seep and shimmer across the surface in an irregular, ripply kind of movement. Similarly, the colored edges of these tiles reflect onto the adjacent white area, creating luminous lines of yellow, blue, red, and green. A most unusual effect, I say.

Split Personality

While the wisdom of placing a soaking tub next to a window is a matter of personal preference, it's likely all will agree on the nifty way this bathroom is delineated through a judicious use of materials. The patterned marble that wraps the shower enclosure falls away on the walls around the tub, ensuring that alcove—exposed thought it may be—enjoys a calm, visually serene ambiance.

A Matter of Style

The carved walnut frame on the Armonia console sink is a lovely departure from the ordinary. I see a bit of both mid-century design and Antoni Gaudí [quite the mix!] in its light, fluid lines. Creator Roberto Lazzeroni has posed a problem with the fixture, though: I think it would be very challenging to pair it with a complementary fitting.

Excitingly Dull

Making its debut early next year at the LivingKitchen show, the Topaz kitchen system merges two powerhouse design trends: black cabinets and copper accents. What's notable here is the 180º shift from shiny surfaces. It's not just taking the finish down a notch to semi-gloss—it's absolutely, positively flat. The matte door fronts and laminate [!] counter are an ideal foil for the warm metal hardware on the drawers and the Küppersbusch appliances.

Tastes, Tested

Personally, I think a cantaloupe-cream combination would be rather sublime, but let's not cast any shade on Admiral's 1955 innovation. And I don't mean that metaphorically, either; the 'technology' employed by the manufacturer to minimize flavor transfer is—wait for it—a light bulb. Not just any light bulb, of course. The 'Magic Ray' lamp allegedly emitted ozone, which supposedly kept fruit tasting like fruit instead of dairy products.

All Walls

Not all bathrooms have sun-filled, Palladian windows framing a freestanding tub. [Thank goodness.] Some are awkward, dead-ended spaces. This is a novel way to loosen up a closed-off room; pull the sink away from the wall and float the mirror from the ceiling.

Sight Specific

'Waste No Space' might well be the mantra for the entire kitchen industry, from cabinet and appliance manufacturers to designers to consumers. Berlin-based artist Michael Johansson puts this issue in a wholly new perspective, as he fastidiously fits the components of a typical kitchen into a tight composition. Compressed into a single wall, 'Ghost V' offers a revealing lesson in spatial relationships and materialism.

Tap the Tap

Unlike many digital devices, the controls of the e.tap are prominently positioned, making it easy to operate. The fitting's good design notwithstanding, I wonder just how useful it is to know the exact temperature of the water. Too hot, by any measure, experiential or empirical, is too hot.

A Kitchen for Not-Quite Winter

Leafless trees, stark against a thick white sky, branches bent against the cold winds; we're in the anti-Currier and Ives phase of winter. This kitchen bears a similarity to the landscape, with its barren-brown cabinets offset by cool, neutral steel.

Unclear on the Concept

I don't get it: In 1963, did people store food in their cars? Or park their cars in the kitchen? A refrigerator in the garage wasn't that unusual, either—so what's going on in this scenario, Westinghouse? A scan of the copy somewhat solves the mystery. It turns out this three-door fridge had sufficient capacity to hold enough victuals to eliminate a few of the weekly runs to the grocery store. All well and good. But one question remains: What of the rake?

New + Different

This wedge-shaped cabinet extends down to the countertop, claiming the backsplash—an often underutilized space—in the process. I like the radical spin it puts on the typically boxy geometry of cupboards. The precision craftsmanship of the Solitaires kitchen units is incredible—a work of fabrication art.

A Light in the Night

Because there isn't a marketing department on earth that doesn't love consumer surveys, we are in a position to know a lot about little things. For example: The most popular use of a range hood is as a nightlight—who knew? These illuminated door handles may offer an option to that behavior. In a boon for midnight snackers, LEDs embedded in the cabinet fronts can be switched on to add a glow to the perimeter of the kitchen.

Two Timing

I love the way this design creates an invented history at the same time it makes a contemporary statement. Cut back to frame the sink, the oak paneling reveals a 'substrate' of marble, suggesting there exists an older structure behind the wooden wall.

An Appetizing Kitchen

Looking at this kitchen, I see swirls of cappuccino crema. Or maybe dissolving ribbons of hot chocolate. [Apologies: I'm obviously suffering the after-effects of a Thanksgiving food coma.] Still, the veining of the stone and the graining of the wood are definitely sumptuous, if not edible. The matte finish of the wall is most impressive; had it been polished, there would likely be a scattering of light reflections disrupting the pattern.