Design by Committee

I can guess at the logic behind the quorum of 369 members; there's no chance of a tie should the designers have to vote on whether to include the mirror or the swinging stool on the final list of features for this 1925 cabinet. But just who were these women? High-school home economics teachers? Housewives? FOBs [Friends of Boone]? Assembly-line workers at the Campbell-Smith-Ritchie Company? Anonymous ninety years after the fact, they deserve our belated thanks for recognizing the critical importance of the built-in coffee mill.

Planes Talking

The design of this bathroom suggests an unfolded origami work in the way it mixes flat planes and angled panels of mirror, wood, and solid surfacing. The shifted perspectives relieve the boxed-in feel of a small room, without compromising on storage capacity. I think it's ingenious.

A Catchy Hook

Yes, the Clamp certainly recalls the naked landscape of winter, but it's redeemed [in my eyes, at least] by its artistic, almost no-tech approach to storage. Tighten the poplar-wood unit to a surface and hang what you need—towels, cups, utensils—where you need it.

To Tell the Truth

Originally I planned to feature the Pinocchio faucet during election season, but then life took one of its unpredictable turns. First we had Lyin' Brian Williams twisting the truth. Now bloviator Rush Limbaugh seems to have come down with a case of the misremembers. So, following my nose for newsworthy products, it's time to reveal this playful fitting. Designed by Bruno Negri, Pinocchio mercifully does not feature a pull-down spout. He is available in a chrome finish as well as wood.

Making Change

One of the reasons why winter is so depressing is its monotony. Days on end of overcast skies, afternoon snowfall, and subfreezing temperatures collude to numb the senses. In an effort to snap out of this funk, I present the Neo Salon kitchen, which was introduced last month at Passagen during the LivingKitchen show in Cologne. Jittery with pattern and reflection [yes, that's a mirror-covered island], the design by Mike Meiré is just the thing to rouse me out of my seasonal somnambulism. Sculptural niches, display pedestals, and other elements not commonly found in the kitchen signal a new way of thinking about the room and its role in our homes and lives. Stay tuned.

The Ice Men Cometh

Actually, Frigidaire, I don't need an introduction to your ice makers, as I am well acquainted with Old Man Winter's expertise in this department. It looks like the parka-clad fellows who do inhabit this freezer would be up to the brutal conditions we in the Northeast are facing now; windchills in the -30F° neighborhood have kept man and beast indoors. Certainly we are not frost-free, as is this 1973 fridge—yet another snow is predicted for tomorrow. About the only ice I would welcome on this cold evening is a cube or two in a fortifying scotch.

Drifting Away

The winter-weather prognosticators are at it again—only this time, I'm inclined to believe their warnings about frigid conditions. Even though we're surrounded by an icy, wind-sculpted environment that all-too resembles the design of this bathtub, I would happily fill it with hot water for a long, thawing soak. There's a bit of cold irony in Caroline Beaupere's fixture design, though. It's inspired not by drifting snow, but by the desert dunes of the Siwa Oasis in Egypt.

Seeing is Believing

Please bear with me—this post requires a wee bit of audience participation, if you will. Look at the picture [enlarge it, if you like] and squint just a little, so the details blur and you are concentrating on the colors. Hone in on the appliances, and you'll see they are the subtlest shade of gold. When I had the good fortune to preview this collection, it was a revelation to see the delicacy of tone that had been achieved in stainless steel. Dubbed 'Sunset Bronze', the color is chameleonic, compatible with virtually every material and hue in the spectrum. If you're bored with ubiquitous silver stainless, this is my pick for a viable, non-faddish alternative.

[You can stop squinting, now.]

The Best Teacher

In the throes of our bathroom remodeling, I find myself reminiscing about things I now realize I have taken for granted. Convenient storage, for instance. Given that our current provisions consist of a tiny towel bar, a couple of ad hoc robe hooks, and a remotely located medicine cabinet, this in-shower shelving seems especially wonderful. I like how items are shielded from the water spray but are still visible and close at hand.

Monday, Monday

Refined and precise, the Phoenix kitchen system is the antithesis of this sloppy, contentious winter day. Outside, it's become a challenge to find footing that is ice- and snow-free, and once-white drifts are now sooty, misshapen crags. To hole up in this spare, sunny space would be a joy. The ovens and fridge are behind the pantry doors; their gadgety appearance would disrupt this tranquil scene.

In the Name of Love, The End

Heartwarming, isn't it? There's nothing like the bond between a 1953 housewife and her freezer. On this Valentine's eve, KBCULTURE salutes love and lovers everywhere.

In the Name of Love, Day 4

A nuanced emotion, love can be tender or passionate—and everything in between. With its graduated burgundy-rose-pink palette and moody lighting, this bathroom embodies the spirit of Valentine's Day.

In the Name of Love, Day 3

Neither task nor ambient lighting, this fixture is admittedly just outside the boundaries of KBCULTURE. But at this time of year, when flowers and chocolates and romance make a brief but brave stand against the cold and snow, I think we can bend the rules a little. The bone china cymbidium orchids are made by hand, and illuminated by a halogen bulb in the base of the glass cylinder. While not as central to the bath as this floral fitting, I think it would be a lovely way to light the room.

In the Name of Love, Day 2

I see this shower as a love letter—or maybe a poem [free verse, to be sure]—to the interplay of color and material. As the glass enclosure curves, its edges glow in a rainbow of hues. The graphics of the tile floor have a psychedelic sensuality to them that is the hallmark of the room's designer, Karim Rashid.

In the Name of Love

My valentine to you, dear readers: A week of posts with amorous allusions or intents.

A red kitchen reflects not just a passion for cooking, but an embrace of bold design, as well. This scarlet island is no passing infatuation; fabricated of through-color solid surfacing and featuring a built-in beacon, I'd say it's a supreme declaration of love.

Dirty Play

While this game doesn't measure up to the spectacle of the recent Super Bowl [although all of these buzz-cut 1960s fellows do bear a generic resemblance to Tom Brady], I can't help but wonder about who's calling the plays. Is it Dad, coaching his boys up and down the muddy playing field, or is Mom, on the laundry-room sidelines, the master strategist? I'd wager that either one could have done a better job than Pete Carroll did last Sunday.

Cold Comfort

Yet another colorless, depth-of-winter day, its only sensory impact being a fierce, cutting wind. While I admire the no-nonsense composition, inventive cabinet treatment, and use of different materials in this kitchen, its cold metallic light gives me pause on this February night.

Rising [or Lowering] to the Occasion

Every now and then, a theoretical product for the kitchen or bath rings true. One that I think has a reality-based future is this design for a combination sink and shower. Flexible water supply lines are key to its ability to slide up and down, its height adjustable to fit its function. With the micro-apartment trend gaining acceptance in cities, the space-saving aspect of this concept merits serious consideration. 'Lift', by Marta Szymkowiak, was an entry to the Jump the Gap competition sponsored by Roca.


Taking a quick breather between two snowstorms, I'm compelled to keep this post brief. The Accademia console is offered in gold and silver metal, with quite the selection of basins. The flexed crossbar basically precludes its use as a spot to hang towels—a precautionary design move that I applaud.


Well, it looks like last week's winter-centric posts just weren't enough to appease Boreas; we've had more snow, with some freezing rain thrown in for good measure. I'm a bit bone-weary from shoveling, so today's entry is short, but to the point. I'd be more than happy to overlook the jumbo vegetables occupying the table in this snug, parlor-level kitchen in exchange for a seat hearthside and a nip of warming whisky.