24 July 2017

Kitchen with a 360º View

I'd be hard pressed to focus on cooking in this glassed-in garden kitchen. The concrete sink is more rough than rustic, and the bare bulb light over the basin is also a no-frills touch. It's good to keep design low-key when competing with nature.

21 July 2017

Happy Friday! Really!

But enough about Sean Spicer's just-now-former job.

Lordy, we live in a fast-paced world. No sooner had I lined up a Russia-referencing post for Flashback Friday, than bigly news broke about the shake-up in the White House press office. So as we bid adieu to our tongue-tied friend and wish him a subpoena-free life among the shrubbery beyond the Beltway, let's appreciate the anonymous copywriter behind this 1968 ad.

19 July 2017

Wash and Dry

Part lounge, part tub, this design is lulling me into a restful state just by looking at it. It's a 'statement' bathtub, sure, but its low profile and controlled lines speak quietly. That's a trait I'd like to see more of in fixture design. ustogether.eu

18 July 2017

Clean[ing] Machine

I know: This looks like a computer mouse has been dropped in the sink. But the Dolfi ultrasonic washing device is specifically designed for submersion. By emitting ultrasound waves in the water, it triggers a process called cavitation, where [paging Carl Sagan] billions and billions of incalculably tiny bubbles are generated that softly, safely, and thoroughly clean fabric. The product name, by the way, references dolphins, who use ultrasound to communicate with one another over great distances. dolfi.co

17 July 2017

A Cooling Kitchen

As the temps tick steadily upward, I can imagine taking a respite in this clean, simple kitchen. With soft colors and floor-to-ceiling cabinets and pantry unit, it's a visually cooling space. [Clunky fridge excepted. But it could have been worse.] mrwaller.com

14 July 2017

Happy Bastille Day!

While Jean Carlu originally intended to follow his brother into the field of architecture, losing his right arm in an accident at age 18 derailed this plan. Turning to the graphic arts, he designed this poster in the 1930s. A triumph of creativity over adversity [vive la France!], his interest in form and color is clear.

13 July 2017

Working Art

The Harlock faucet, created by architect Fabio Rotella, is quite the original work. Unorthodox angles and a huge palette of finishes—copper, bronze, white, silver, ebony, and more in endless combinations—make it both a distinctive and an accommodating design. huberitalia.com

12 July 2017

Fishing for Compliments

An exuberant goldfish decorates the wall of this bucket-like basin. Equally sweet for a kids' bath or a summer home, the design provides a reminder of the delicate environmental [im]balance we increasingly face—particularly in light of today's calving of the Larson C ice shelf. scarabeoceramica.com

11 July 2017

Circular Reasoning

In the Laurence collection, spherical globe lights are imaginatively connected with flattened plates of metal. Sections of circles, the plates add a dash of color to the fixture, and make the hidden geometry of the light visible. lambertetfils.com

10 July 2017

Suspended in Time

I'm drawn to the sense of emptiness in this kitchen. The stacked plates, the lack of wall cabinets, the improbably low-hanging chandelier, the mirror that reflects nothing—all point to an absence that's curiously compelling on this hot summer day, when the city is noticeably less crowded.

07 July 2017

Independently-Minded Design, The End

At the conclusion of our week-long celebration of independence in design, here's a look at a patriotic powder room from the early 1970s. The colors of the fixtures had a limited run: New Orleans Blue was available from 1969 through 1984, and Antique Red more than doubled that span, notching up 31 years of production, from 1965 through 1996. Something to think about, in these days where a vibrant democracy can't be taken for granted.

06 July 2017

Independently-Minded Design, Day 4

This truly blue loo is quite the design statement. Accenting its moody monochrome with white or red is tempting—and such diversity could quite possibly be mind-opening at such a politically charged time. emildervish.com

05 July 2017

Independently-Minded Design, Day 3

Designed, engineered, and assembled in the US of A, this washer and dryer—specifically, their control panels—are wrapped in the flag. In true American spirit, the manufacturer will donate $40 from the sale of each Patriotic laundry pair to Rebuilding Together, a non-profit organization that brings volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of low-income homeowners. kenmore.com

04 July 2017

Independently-Minded Design, Day 2

A bipartisan appliance [it can be hinged either on the left or right side], this refrigerator also reflects an open-mindedness to international trade: it's made in Italy. So felice indipendenza and a happy Fourth to all! smegusa.com

03 July 2017

Independently-Minded Design

This kitchen has two of the three colors that dominate the national palette this 4 July week. Perhaps simplistically, I see the tile as a metaphor for the current state of the state: a bold statement, freely expressed, and still evolving toward a more perfect union. pophamdesign.com

30 June 2017

Put Your Feet Up

Dear readers, I hope your holiday weekend is as restful as that spent by the Maytag repairman in 1986. See you next week!

29 June 2017

Material Meaning

How instructive to compare the natural patterns of two materials in this kitchen. Both the grain of the wood and the veining of the stone express the passage of time—perhaps hundreds of years. For me, that's a profound thought that goes beyond a mere surface treatment. tellointeriors.com

28 June 2017

Wet Set

In their quest to create union of opposites—a tub with a small footprint and a spacious interior—Neri & Hu worked on the design of the Immersion bath for more than three years. The iroko wood seat can be removed for stretched-out bathing; concealed metal weights keep the seat from floating when it's slid into place for a sit-down soak in the tub. agapedesign.it

27 June 2017

Leggy Design

I'm charmed by this mash-up of post-modern and mid-century design. Designed by Arter & Citton,  the lacquered cabinet sports an asymmetric angular bump; the sink basin follows that line. Tapered ash legs jaunt outwards, giving the piece a most solid footing. The STRA8 vanity is available in 20 colors. hafrogeromin.it

26 June 2017

Getaway Kitchen

I need a vacation. I'm thinking France [Vive la Macron!]. City, country, coast, or mountains—I'm not picky. But as reality has other plans for me, I shall have to content myself with a vicarious visit. This classique kitchen by Eugénie Collet, with its towering skylights, will easily do.

23 June 2017


I bet Westinghouse would think twice about this particular spin on its laundry appliances today. In 1960, a river of soapy water might have impressed folks with its implied cleansing power. But today, we see it for what it is: egregious pollution and waste.

22 June 2017

Rough Plumbing

Perhaps the ultimate expression of authentic industrial style [at least in the world of fittings], the Da Reya faucet incorporates an actual wrench in its design, as the lever control. Certainly a novelty, but I give it points for gumption. kakudai.jp

21 June 2017

Tiny and Textured

The L'H collection of tile spans large format floor pavers to mosaic tesserae. Both smooth and rough faced, they can give a room a sense of textural variety, but the space is still unified through consistent coloring. emilgroup.com/viva

20 June 2017

Custom Kitchen

Shiny and streamlined, the Ego is well suited to be the nucleus of an open plan kitchen. [Unless, of course, your tastes run more to the subdued than the statement-making.] Designed by architect Alberto Torsello, the mirror-polished stainless steel cabinet can reflect color and light in a way that makes it a part of—and sets it apart from—its surroundings. Several custom handle treatments are offered. abimis.com

16 June 2017

Oh Dad, Poor Dad

In the 60s, as the 'women's lib' movement continued, men were often accused of being male chauvinists—but this ad puts the shoe [or the slipper sock, as the case may be] on the other foot. As modern laundry appliances don't require either muscle or an extraordinary IQ to operate, I think the claim about ease of use made here is rather unfair. So to dads and wannabe dads everywhere, an apology for such stereotyping—and best wishes on your day.

15 June 2017

At Hand

This in-sink holder keeps cloths handy without draping drippy towels over the faucet. Designed by Miika Mansikkamaa, it's ingeniously easy to install: an undercounter magnet anchors the holder to the inside of any stainless steel basin. Have a round sink? No worries—there's a curved model available, too. magisso.com

14 June 2017

Enlightened Design

I think it's the extreme light fixture that makes this lovely bathroom memorable. The silver spheres add a literal sparkle to the space, and jolt the design into the contemporary. The height of the room [use the chair to judge the scale] is another out-of-the-ordinary asset. stephenvolpe.com

13 June 2017

Indoor/Outdoor Perspective

Who knew that an outdoor kitchen could have a window? The context makes it a clever idea—but one that's quite the norm for an indoor kitchen. Framing a view over this sink also provides an opportunity to capitalize on the depth of the cabinetry and install a couple of canister lights on the 'ceiling.' lakeflato.com

12 June 2017

Hell's Kitchen

It's too damn hot to post today. Until tomorrow, here's a reminder from firefighter Mark Hancock of the London [Ontario] FD on the importance of fire safety in the kitchen: don't douse an oil blaze with water.

09 June 2017

Squeeze Play

Yes! I want to have tiny freezers and refrigerators built into the walls—not in the kitchen, of course, but somewhere out in the hallway, just like this 1957 ad depicts. Strangely, at that time, the appliances' capacity was often calculated not in volume, but in weight; the freezer here could hold 234 pounds. That's a lot of frozen peas!

08 June 2017

Speaking of Rain...

Danilo Fedeli designed the Clip showerhead, a fitting that I think is both contemporary and reminiscent of the somewhat kooky constructions of the Memphis group of the 1980s. The arc of the water stream is certainly more aesthetic than the downpours we've been experiencing for the last few days. rubinetterie3m.it

07 June 2017

Neat and Tidy

Simplicity itself, this collection of bathroom storage accessories. The graphic appearance of the wood and aluminum pieces forms the literal basis for its name: the Dot Line [Not to complicate matters, but S-hooks are also offered.] Designed by García Cumini. agapedesign.it

06 June 2017

Grounded Design

Isn't it interesting how lowering the counter in this bath calms the room, counteracting the busybusy walls and floor? In these harried days, it's a lesson worth learning.  katehume.com

05 June 2017

Shadow Kitchen

Dear readers, please forgive me. Empirically, I know it is June, the height of spring. But the sun has been missing in action for weeks, and it has clouded [ahem] my perceptual abilities, I fear. Hence this evocatively dim kitchen. The textured wall tile and the patterned floor give the space a rather lovely visual lift...but bright and sunny, it's not.

02 June 2017

Coming Clean

This 1950s ad is but one of many of the time that equated cleanliness with the purity of nature. Perhaps in those days, we were unaware of the irony of that coupling; water-guzzling washers and heat-hungry dryers were not environmentally-friendly appliances back then. Of course, their efficiency has greatly improved—due to both regulatory and voluntary efforts. Let's hope that the recent rash decision regarding the US withdrawal from the Paris Accord doesn't curtail such independent efforts.

01 June 2017

Light, Fantastic

I'm intrigued by the molten quality of this sconce. It conveys the essence of light—its colors, luminosity, and energy—in a way that's visceral but not overwhelmingly so; it still retains a sense of mystery. The Melt fixture is also available in table lamp and pendant styles. tomdixon.net

31 May 2017

Enigmatic Ceramic

Working in its preferred palette of dusky, offbeat tones, Dimore Studio has created a language of form and color with the Corrispondenza collection of tile. No up or down, they are completely non-directional, which I see as a generous invitation to collaborate—albeit at a distance—with the designers [who have produced some of my favorite spaces.] ceramicabardelli.com

30 May 2017

All in One

Designers Rui Pereira and Ryosuke Fukusada teamed up to create 'Small Steps', a concise assemblage meant to ease the fog of morning ablutions. The sculptural marble composition contains a sink, medicine cabinet, seating, and a WC. Accessories play a prime role: hot washcloths nestle in a metal cradle, a coffee mug is strategically positioned, and a freestanding tissue holder can be moved for convenient access. cottoanotherperspective.com

29 May 2017

Kitchen for a Cloudy Day

By now, I ought to be used to it: a tease of sun in the morning, then the clouds [and not infrequently, the rain] close in for the day. Disheartening—yet we persist.

I offer up this kitchen as a salve to all who had to cancel BBQ plans this holiday. With its white-lacquered cabinets, it provides a passive source of light, bouncing sun [Google it] around the room. While the narrowness of the island might at first seem to be stingy in the amount of work space it provides, think again—the limited surface area means everything is within easy reach.

26 May 2017

A Rare Grill, Indeed

'Controlled Cooking'—Sure, if you think setting your shins aflame is some sort of control. A vertical broiler fueled by charcoal is one wacky [or is it 'magic'?] idea. And locating said broiler in a spot that's awkward to access and hard to see is, IMHO, just asking for a quick trip to the burn unit.

Have a great holiday weekend, dear readers!

25 May 2017

Dark + Stormy

You'd never guess this weekend is Memorial Day. Solid fog, zero sun, unrelenting rain—it's more like October. So, in surrender, I pulled this somber bath from my Halloween files.

Sigh. axel-vervoordt.com

24 May 2017

Hybrid Style

As an example of audacious design, it would be hard to top this vanity. Combining Op-Art and Louis XV style creates a piece that would be the center of attention in any bath. I'm fascinated by how the grid works with the contours of the chest. moissonnier.com

23 May 2017

Outside the Line

Piet Boon's PB11 tap design intentionally accentuates the imperfect. The arc of the faucet is neither assertively circular nor crisply squared; its slow, wide curve is organic, but not natural. A delight to the eye! bycocoon.com

22 May 2017

The Fifth Wall

Carrying the use of wood in this kitchen to include the ceiling gives the room a slight time-traveling air. Floating on top of a narrow band of white wall, it can be seen as a contemporary, contrasting treatment. But it could also be imagined as a historical throwback, revealing the 'original' ceiling. jeffreydungan.com

19 May 2017

Stepping Up...or Down

In 1964, long before 'ergonomics' was a familiar term, designers at Westinghouse were on the case for consumer comfort. In the Terrace Top range, the front hobs sit at a height of 33 inches, while the back burners are at 35 inches. The rationale was to relegate long-simmering pots to the latter, and situate dishes that required constant stirring or other hands-on tending to the more conveniently scaled front units.

18 May 2017

A Squishy Sink

Attention, style-conscious but butter-fingered brethren: the Bounce Cord lav is made of impact-forgiving polyurethane. This means no more bruised hips or broken glasses. Offered in a variety of colors and configurations, the spongy sink would be a cushy complement to this soft shower tray. everlifedesign.it

17 May 2017

Hot Shot

Such a genteel outdoor kitchen design! No greasy BBQ cart or rickety structure to distract from enjoying al fresco cooking. [You might ask why I'm featuring such a summery environment before Memorial Day; we are experiencing a premature heat wave, with temperatures in the 90ºs, and it just seemed appropriate. Or maybe it's wishful thinking.] Situating the hearth at standing height is a stroke of genius, and continuous counters ensures prep work is convenient.

16 May 2017

Handles, With Care

The design and craftsmanship of the Aero door pull is impressive. When it comes to installation, its precise geometry requires some extra care on the part of a cabinet maker or carpenter—a worthy effort, I think. Designed by R. Christensen. berensonhardware.com

15 May 2017

Back in the U.S.S.R.

With Russia never far from the headlines these days, here's a look at the kitchen in the St. Petersburg apartment of designer Sergei Bobovnikov. He's conjured a 1930s Stalinist theme, here and in the bathroom, too. Look closely, and you'll notice that the handle on the oven door is a repurposed samovar spigot.

12 May 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Thank you to Moms everywhere. [Signed,] The Laundry Appliance Industry.