Kitchen for a New Year

For the last kitchen to be featured in 2015, I searched for something slightly fabulous and forward-looking. Hopefully, this space in a renovated manor house fits the bill. It has the requisite glitter factor, with polished brass topping the counter and lining the gem-faceted cooking alcove. A few golden pendant lights drip downward; the way they attach to the ceiling reminds me of pierced earrings. There is a bit of photographic trickery at work here—it has collapsed the very long room into a seemingly small space.

We Interrupt This Blog... announce the results of the 2015 KBCULTURE Awards! Of the many impressive products in this year's entry pool, these are the ones that passed the critical muster of our jury. From cabinets and cooking appliances to tubs and tile, enjoy perusing the honorees.

Christmas Countdown, Day 3

Tomorrow night, kids around the world [and NORAD] will be scanning the skies for flying reindeer. Designed by Dima Loginoff, the Mountain View pendant light captures a bit of the topography that Santa and company might soar over. The 'mountain' that forms the diffuser in the hand-crafted fixture can be had in amber or grey, in addition to clear glass.

Christmas Countdown, Day 2

In celestial matters...This year, Star Wars is definitely encroaching on the season that was once ruled by the Little Star of Bethlehem. Fans of the Dark Side might appreciate finding this Darth Vader hand-shower under the Christmas tree. Eerily, water streams out of various Vader facial features in three spray patterns.

Christmas Countdown

Perhaps it's not quite a heavenly peace, but I think this Milan kitchen does supply sufficient serenity to qualify as a refuge from the holiday rush. Inky blue walls set off the austere, altar-like expanse of brass cabinets. While the arched ceiling is more of a chapel scale than a cathedral, it still has overtones of sanctity—in a secular sense.

A Hot Holiday

This 1953 refrigerator isn't the only thing that's frost-free. This almost-winter of 2015 has been remarkably mild, too. In fact, the forecast for Christmas day is a warm 68°F. I wish Santa the best in his upcoming excursion, but he might want to look into alternative transportation—it doesn't look like optimal sleigh weather.

X-Ray Eyed

This light-permeable concrete could be used in all sorts of creative ways in the kitchen or bath—I'd fancy a shower enclosure made of it, or a backsplash panel. Tiny pores allow natural light to filter through the material for a subtle yet surprising look; for a more pronounced effect, thread-like fiber optics can light up the surface. The strength and water-repellent quality of the material is uncompromised.

Hands Up!

Looking very much like the vitrines that fitted out rural general stores of the pre-Walmart era, these round-top cabinets are an imaginative alternative to the usual box-on-the-wall model. I'm guessing if the lift-up doors are hard to reach when open, automatic closing hardware can be installed.


Converted from a former classroom, this kitchen is certainly spacious—in height and area, as well. It's hardly a squeeze to fit a dining table and seating for six into the space. Even more appealing than its size is the way the color palette has been developed. It's fascinating to me that the natural oak floor is the lightest plane in the room; it must have something to do with bouncing the natural light around the space.

A Vision in Salmon

Wrap-around towel bars, private WC, a tub with built-in seating—this post-war bath pulled out all the stops in its attempt to capture amenity-starved consumers. The rambling floorplan might make using the room a bit of a scramble, but fortunately there are cushy stools placed throughout the space, providing convenient resting spots from which to appreciate the 'modern' color palette.

Dust [Et Cetera], Busted

In the [Saint] nick of time for the flour-filled mess that is holiday baking comes this built-in kitchen vacuum. Sweep crumbs and dirt toward the opening of the toekick-mounted unit, and they're efficiently suctioned away into a vacuum bag.

Making Space

Height-adjustable kitchen counters are nothing new, and, truth be told, perhaps not that useful. But everyone is interested in expanding counter space, and this new design feature can do just that.

This countertop can slide up to 12 inches in different directions, either perpendicular to the cabinet or diagonally off its corner at a 45-degree angle. Knee-space is created when the movable portion of the work surface is fully extended, allowing a stool or two to be tucked away beneath it.

Factory Modeled

The Hopes windows—from the standard-setting manufacturer of steel-framed doors and windows that form the shower enclosure in this bath—give the industrial-themed design an edge when it comes to authenticity. The black marble topping the the bench is more of a genteel gesture, but as the true nature of the room is residential [it's in a farmhouse], that's just fine with me.

Peace-Keeping Kitchen

Between the hype[r] holidays and the near-daily, wrenching violence in the world, a lot of folks are understandably anxious. Spending time in the calming Kalea kitchen might help one mentally regroup. The sloped ceiling reaches gently down toward the room; no flat lid encloses the space. Floating the wall cabinets well above the floor further frees the room—if not its occupants.

C'est Bon!

A jumble of fresh ingredients [leeks, cabbage, and what appears to be either a lobster or a napping dachshund] and two considerably-sized pots on the flame [kerosine, not gas]—I'd strike a pose of celebration, too. It had to be a challenge in 1930 to cook under such limiting conditions. The apparatus that passed for a stove posed a modest danger of exploding, but also held the promise of succès, too.

Together and Apart

This clever storage concept addresses a pet peeve of mine: the uninspired end of a run of cabinets. Not only is this design functionally versatile, but the wine rack, drawer module, and shelving are rendered in wood, setting it all off nicely from the adjoining unassuming kitchen.

Top This

I see this week's posts are setting a spontaneous theme....

Surely the gallery-white design of this kitchen is no accident. The wooden countertop is a work of natural and man-made art. It's a shame the cooktop isn't compatible with the composition. Perhaps the slab would be better displayed as a backsplash?

On and Of the Edge

Susceptible to fire, disease, and a certain red-headed bird, wood is a vulnerable natural material. Perhaps that's at the root of its appeal to me—unlike stone, it is not permanent. This thick slab, with its subtle imperfections of texture and pattern, is a wonderful contrast to the uniformity of the concrete-coated cabinet doors.