31 August 2015


From the finely detailed cabinetry to the svelte dining chairs, this kitchen exemplifies Italian style. Clean and streamlined in a way that's both a little edgy and a little awkward, the craftsmanship and materials are top notch. I'm really impressed by the cabinets. In the Novalinea collection, the upper drawers faced in wood have recessed handles that are lined in lacquer; the formula is reversed for the lower units. assocucine.it

28 August 2015

You Can't Have It All

My question to Frigidaire: What if you want extra counter space and counter-top cooking at the same time? It seems a reasonable request. But I think the answer would be the 1957-polite equivalent of 'Sorry, Charlie.' Perhaps tellingly, the famously cantankerous Frank Lloyd Wright specified these fold-back cooking units for his Kentuck Knob residence, not too far from Fallingwater.

27 August 2015

Circle Games

Contrary to its appearance, this gyroscope-like grill does not spin, whirl, or otherwise rotate. [Sorry—you'll have to flip your burgers the old fashioned way.] A literal twist on the standard charcoal barbecue, the Kara can pass for a contemporary sculpture, should you have some spare space in the yard or on the patio. cesarre.com

26 August 2015

New + Familiar

As our current crowd of presidential hopefuls are discovering, there's a knack to appearing both visionary and experienced. Get it wrong and you're toast, get it right and reap the benefits.

This bath finds a good balance between old and new, brashly mixing ordinary materials in a modern way. There's a 1950s feel to the blond wood, patterned tile, and terrazzo, but paired with contemporary faucets, the result is a fresh design. hearthstudio.com

25 August 2015

Light Showers

I confess that showerheads which emit a spectrum of colored light have always triggered thoughts of garishly illuminated fountains in Las Vegas for me. But not so with the Kuadra LED-lit shower screen. It's a more tangible canvas, if you will, than streaming water—and it would make a fine nightlight. novellini.com

24 August 2015

Blue Swoon

Does this kitchen not scream 'summer'? The marine blue cabinets evoke both sea and sky, the loopy light fixture references either a dandelion puff or a cumulus cloud, and the painted clapboard ceiling recalls a rough-luxe farmhouse. There's both whimsy and serious flair here, to my eye. haynesroberts.com

21 August 2015

Back to the Drawing Board

I'm sure the industrial designers behind this 1956 refrigerator had the best of intentions. Installed at the bottom of the appliance's door, the Big Bin promised unfettered access ['no fumbling, groping, or reaching'] to the vegetable crisper. But nobody said anything about bending, stooping, or squatting—one of which actions would seem necessary to use the Bin. Not to mention you'd have to step back when opening the fridge, or risk bruised shins. Then there's the issue of temperature fluctuation in the door storage. Let's just say that I'm glad the Big Bin had but a brief presence on the major appliance stage.

20 August 2015

Take-Out Design

The sheer convenience of this design is worth celebrating. Thanks to the counter that bridges the indoor kitchen with the outdoors and the extreme awning windows, there's no need for a behemoth grill station and redundant refrigerators. Yay! kovacdesignstudio.com

19 August 2015

Lighten, Up

I see the fad of exposed plumbing has overflowed into the world of lighting. What's most interesting about the Beaubien fixture is that it can be used as a freestanding luminaire [with a kickstand-like support, as seen above] or attached to a wall or suspended from the ceiling. It's in this latter form that I think it would be most appreciated in the bath or kitchen. lambertetfils.com

18 August 2015

Object Lesson

Stretching the definition of a shelf into freethinking territory, this 'storage bar' elevates common toiletry items to objet d'art status. Chunky platforms and containers made of wood, metal, and stone are threaded onto a square brass rod; they can be readily combined in any way that suits you. groupworkstudio.com

17 August 2015

Be It Ever So Humble

There are situations where the best kitchen is the least kitchen. In spite of its polished, modern architecture, this small garden house has but the most basic of amenities. It's heated by a wood-burning fireplace, and the open kitchen features a gas hot plate instead of a conventional range. Storage is simply drawers, since provisions are minimal. The design allows one to focus on the surrounding landscape. onix.nl

14 August 2015

Come and Get It!

Barbecuing a whole turkey, truly massive slabs of steak, a pot of unknown simmering goodness, and a bakery's worth of bread [?]—all I can say is that those five people better be pretty hungry. Unconvincingly holding a roasting fork, the grill-mistress seems unperturbed about the prospect of a heroic quantity of leftovers. Even though this 1974 scenario predates the advent of the fully-equipped outdoor kitchen, I question the decision to locate the grill on the far side of the swimming pool; you'd need a shopping cart to make the trek from the house with all that food.

13 August 2015

See Shore

If there's a sparkling body of water visible from that window, I declare this a lovely beach bathroom. The sandy tones of the stone lets the white elements of the space shine, and the mottled mirrors—looking like they were salvaged from a shipwreck—bring a curious bit of grit to the room. zana.fr

12 August 2015

Summertime Blue

There's nothing like a day at the pool—or lake, or ocean—to combat the humidity and heat of an August afternoon. Failing any of those options, I'd settle for some time in a space that's enclosed in these porcelain—yes, porcelain—panels that mimic a milky blue agate. Because they're translucent, they're spectacular when backlit, but even without illumination, the material has a near magical depth to it. The slabs come in two sizes, 60x30 and 120x60. granitifiandre.com

11 August 2015

High-Style Hacks

At the invitation of Danish kitchen merchant Reform, several architecture firms have developed design riffs on Ikea's Metod kitchen cabinets. Henning Larsen Architects [above left] inserts a metal strip along the edge of the door and along the toekick. Bjarke Ingels tabs drawers with loops of seatbelt webbing [above right]. Small touches, yes, but well considered. reformcph.com

10 August 2015

Rustic is Right

While there's no shortage of bells-and-whistles appliances to make alfresco cooking as hassle-free as preparing meals indoors, I think the setting of an outdoor kitchen is best when it's ultimately low-tech. Stainless steel and concrete just aren't as simpatico with the natural world as a setting with rough timber and rock. My only suggestion for this location: a shade to cover the dining table.

07 August 2015

Sheer Poetry

I know genius when I see—or read—it. And so I humbly step aside to quote a few lines from this 1925 gem of an advertisement:

Go away, Kitchen Drudgery!
The cheerful summer kitchen!
Out you go, Dull Drudgery—no room here for the Foe of Household Happiness!
Come in, Contentment! Make this your permanent abode, Good Friend!

Part Walt Whitman, part long-form haiku, this is one heckuva way to hawk an oil stove. Click the image to enlarge it, and revel in the weird artistry of language.

06 August 2015

Diamonds in the Rough

Some may say that stone-cutting is a dying art—beware the 3D printer!—but these Kariota tiles restore my faith in the supremacy of craft. The meticulous mitering, the sculpted curves, and the controlled texture cut onto the face of each piece all confirm that hand-work is alive and well. petraantiqua.com

05 August 2015

Hybrid Heat

At the height of summer, one might rather talk about refrigerators than ranges. But breaking news in the appliance world knows no season. New to the UK market is this stove, which has a dual-fuel oven. Yes, it is possible to switch back and forth between gas and electric heat for baking and roasting. I know plenty of cooks on this side of the pond who would welcome such an innovation on these shores. uk.bertazzoni.com

04 August 2015

Go with the Flow

Thunderstorms came rolling through last night; eventually, the pealing echoes tapered off, replaced by the pure patter of rain on the roof. Which bring me to the new CL.1 faucet: It features an unusual flow pattern. Forty individual rivulets of water make washing up a more gentle, sensory experience than the typical stream. It can be deck- or wall-mounted, with a variety of handle designs. dornbracht.com

03 August 2015

Viva la RevoluciĆ³n

Home to an artist, this Havana kitchen occupies both present and past. Counters, shelving, and utilities are the result of a laborious renovation, but the peeling, polychrome wall is original. I think maintaining a bit of a house's history in a new incarnation is a formidable design challenge—one that, in this case, is very well met. damianaquiles.ca