18 September 2017

Transitional Kitchen

Exactly what 'transition' does this kitchen represent, you may ask. Well, while the time of year would signal a seasonal change, I see this design also showing a shift in outlook—the vintage back-bars finding a new purpose as kitchen storage.

15 September 2017

Bathroom Blues

American post-war prosperity was hitting its stride in 1961, as this ad reflects. Three happy, well-dressed kids—but not enough bathrooms. Sad! No longer was sharing deemed necessary, nor virtuous. The more, the better would become the eventual model. And a soothing Cerulean Blue made it all the more palatable.

14 September 2017

Stone Shower

The rock-filled wire cages called gabion—typically used as retaining walls—have been the darlings of landscape architects and interior designers for several seasons, owing to their eco-friendly image and compelling materiality. I've seen them used as enclosure for outdoor showers, but this freestanding application is a first for me. In these still-steamy, waning days of summer, it's a cool idea. gartdeco.ch

13 September 2017

Bath for Reflection

In New York, this week has come to symbolize much more than the unofficial end of summer. A quietness creeps over the city, especially in the downtown area, as people remember the day the towers fell. This contemplative space brings solid and light together in a way I find calming. johnpawson.com

12 September 2017

Future Past

A confession: Lately, I've been finding escape—and even fulfillment—in episodes of Star Trek. A few days ago marked the anniversary of the original series' debut in 1966. This look at the galley of a later version of the USS Enterprise reveals a clean, spacious, and well-lighted prep area, as well as a predilection for cabbage.

11 September 2017

Kitchen as Art

A more enigmatic kitchen I have yet to see! Task lighting is eschewed in favor of mysterious glows. On the far wall, panels of raw travertine slide to reveal [or conceal] a cooking alcove that's lined in luminous bronze. The thin bronze frame that cages the island barely seems capable of containing the massive block of carved Nero Marquina marble. dietervandervelpen.com

07 September 2017

Odd Couplings

The smooth curve of the faucet and angles of the pedestal basin; the modern elements in the traditional setting. Mixing things up can be liberating. The Maccione II sink sets the tone for this bath. theinteriorgallery.com

06 September 2017

Coming to Grips

A delightful cabinet detail, this. A small, simple finger pull is amplified by a top layer of surfacing material. The effect calls attention to the shape, depth, and strata of the drawer front, all done in a surprising way. nicolajbo.dk

05 September 2017

Endless Summer

Cowabunga, dude—here's an outdoor shower with a decidedly Left Coast style. These are real surfboards, with hot and cold copper supply lines running inside their cores. They can be fitted with hand showers and foot rinsers [beach sand, you know], or kept to a surf-shack standard, with only a cold water spray. strandboards.com

04 September 2017

Best of the West

Los Angeles is much in my mind and my heart these days. So I'm happy to see how one of its architectural highlights, the Harpel house by architect John Lautner, has been brought back to close to its 1956 state. Unencumbered by any hanging cabinets, the kitchen offers a fabulous view of the City of Angels.

01 September 2017

Well, Anything is Possible

To answer the question: Yes. But I'd counter with another query—Why?

I'm off for a long [and last] holiday weekend, dear readers. Best until Tuesday!

31 August 2017

Summer is Fleeting

This portable grill has two lids—one a bamboo cutting board, the other a poly storage tray—that clamp to the top of the fire box with trunk-like latches. Compact and modern, the Cube comes in four colors. everdurebyheston.com

30 August 2017

A Brassy Bath

At once polished and proletarian, this bath has a quality of refuge about it. The combination of humble plaster walls and gleaming brass—albeit with a hint of tarnish—is grounding, at least for me. It's a reassurance many of us are seeking these days, whether looking for rescue from the horrors of Hurricane Harvey or the buffeting forces of political strife. hansverstufytarchitecten.be

29 August 2017

Speaking Volume

Such a well-considered variation on the backsplash! By intentionally echoing the 3D geometry—a wedge of shelf space is carved out of the marble wedge—what might have been an anonymous detail is turned into a dynamic design element. jacktrench.co.uk

28 August 2017

Top-Down Design

I like how the shallow shelving in the Lab13 kitchen can extend down to the floor. While the design might require an occasional crouch, it's easier to access than a full-depth cabinet and is a viable storage alternative for smaller kitchens, where a pantry isn't an option. Look at the far end of the galley, too—there's a dash of diagonal symmetry with some shelves reaching upwards. arancucine.it

25 August 2017

Celestial Design, The End

Countless times leading up to the eclipse this week, we were sternly and unequivocally warned: Do not look directly at the sun without proper viewing glasses. One orange-complected fool—perhaps you may be able to guess his identity—disregarded this bit of scientific guidance. [Perhaps as he is already blind to reality, no further harm was done.] Given this individual's tendency to poke his short thumb into various eyes, I'm surprised he didn't opt to follow the example of this 1959 ad, and take a telescope to the sight.

23 August 2017

Celestial Design, Day Three

This clever [and good looking] device makes dining off the grid both simple and satisfying. Load up the food tray, slide it into the borosilicate cooking tube, and close the curved stainless steel reflector panels around it. Even on a cloudy day—or during an eclipse—the oven can steam, fry, bake, boil, or roast a meal using no fuel other than solar energy. The GoSun Sport can reach 550ºF in minutes, making it hot stuff, indeed. gosunstove.com

22 August 2017

Celestial Design, Day Two

Continuing our week of eclipse-inspired posts, this bath clearly links the celestial with the terrestrial. Sun from above is channeled into the room that with its rock-faced walls suggests a subterranean location. The light source adds a bit of mystery to a space that couldn't be more utilitarian.

21 August 2017

Celestial Design

Today, I'll be looking up at 2:42 PM EDT, when the solar eclipse will be most evident here in NYC. Although the skies will be clear, it might be a bit of a challenge to find an unobstructed vantage point in Manhattan; something tells me that rooftop lounges will see a surge in mid-afternoon business. The deep skylight in this kitchen would allow for limited tracking of the event—which occurs in fewer than one in a billion planets. davidchipperfield.com

18 August 2017

Flashback Friday, Eclipse Edition

On Monday, many of us will scan the skies for the eclipse. [Where I am, we're expecting about a 71% occlusion.] In 1966, New Moon mobile homes offered cutting edge kitchens for families on the move. Heads up!

17 August 2017

A Beacon

Dark times are these. Good design can help, with its emphasis on quality, imagination, and service. The modest and balanced design of the Tull fixture is an example. The aluminum-shaded light comes in some cheery color combos, like turquoise and orange, as well as copper and nickel versions. Available in table/floor and pendant models, Tull was designed by Tommaso Caldera. incipitlab.com

16 August 2017

Bright Idea

These delightfully colored acrylic cylinders can be fit into the handle of the Nice bathroom faucet, adding a modern, gem-like touch to the fitting. It's designed by Matteo Thun and Antonio Rodriguez. fantini.it

15 August 2017

Hot Stuff

I'm envious. Just introduced in EU/UK [there's an impending difference, now, isn't there?] markets, the SmartLine collection is the latest modular offering for cooking appliances. Combine gas hobs, teppan yaki or BBQ grills, and induction burners in sizes and configurations to suit your culinary—and your kitchen—style. A notable improvement upon earlier versions of this concept is the integral downdraft vent. Now a self-contained unit, it can be placed as needed within the cooking array. When opened, its retractable cover protects gas flames from being extinguished—a problem previous generations of the design frequently failed to address. miele.com

14 August 2017

Pursuing the Imperfect

Uncommon colors applied to odd slivers of space keep this kitchen from a fate of predictability. The random quality of the composition is, of course, an illusion; the design is tightly structured. And let's give a hand to the fabricators and installers—without their meticulous work, the impression would likely be mediocre. driesotten.be

11 August 2017

Gimme [Bomb] Shelter

This late-1950s fallout shelter—dubbed the 'Kidde Kokoon'—had none of the comforts of home. The kitchen was basically a can opener, as there was no refrigerator or stove [this predated the microwave, with its irony-laden 'nuking' capabilities]. Lacking showers, sinks, or baths, hygiene was achieved with a sponge and bottled water. Absent plumbing, chemical toilets were available—or a bucket. I hope the renovations going on at the White House while our Cheeto-in-Chief enjoys his vacation includes an update to its emergency quarters.

10 August 2017

Under the Counter and On the Side

Whether your kitchen towels are designer or dingy, this inset hanging rod is a neat way to keep them  convenient without having them flop in front of those spiffy appliances. It also livens up the always-abrupt end to a run of base cabinets. johnlewis.com

09 August 2017

Happy 150th, Mr. Wright

This year marks the sesquicentennial of Frank Lloyd Wright's birth. Here's a peek into the kitchen of his first residence built in Los Angeles, Hollyhock House. Note the cooktop vent incorporated into the ceiling; given its distance from the burners [all two of them!], I can't imagine that it was very effective in clearing the air. The building was restored in 2015, and is open for tours. barnsdall.org

08 August 2017

Summer [Outdoor] Shower

While this season has brought notably more than the usual rainfall, there's always room for such a stylish shower as this model. A sleek angular arch of aluminum, the design is both subdued and eye-catching. talentisrl.com

07 August 2017

Solid as a Rock Design

I'm fascinated by the Bronzo kitchen. Part sculpture, part archeological excavation, it's designed not so much for chefs as artists—or so I think. henrytimi.com

04 August 2017

An Appetite for Al Fresco, The End

Two is too many cooks in a kitchen, let alone crowding a rather small-sized grill, don't you think? By today's behemoth barbecue standards, the puny capacity of this 1968 model is rather sad. And I must say, the menu is a bit dated, as well: steak and an iceberg lettuce salad, with a casserole, of all things, as a side dish. To be fair, gas-fueled grills were still a relative novelty at the time, and the Flavor Twin offered controlled temperature that brought the convenience of indoor cooking outdoors.

03 August 2017

An Appetite for Al Fresco, Day 4

It's a pity that this long, lean grill is only a concept design. Built to run the length of a traditional biergarten table, its linear form lets everyone in on the grilling action. Bratwurst enfilade, anyone? isabelle-enders.de

02 August 2017

An Appetite for Al Fresco, Day 3

Since it's produced by a manufacturer of camping equipment, the Garden Table has some inherent pluses: it's lightweight, sturdy, and can be easily moved. A more unexpected bonus is its elegant aesthetic and functional design; wood-slat modules enclose a variety of cooking elements. snowpeak.com

01 August 2017

An Appetite for Al Fresco, Day 2

While it shares the same contact-grill cooking principle as the egg/hot sidewalk trope [which is applicable on this first day of August], the OFYR is far more refined. Food is placed on the outer ledge of the wood-fired brazier, where it sizzles until done. ofyr.nl

31 July 2017

An Appetite for Al Fresco

And so begins a week of posts devoted to that hallowed summer tradition, cooking outdoors. As a person who is happiest in the shade, I see this kitchen as an ideal design. A galley layout, with its horizontal line balanced by a vertical fireplace, establishes the simplicity of the space. Rustic stone, concrete, and wood keep the design low key and the focus on the out-of-doors.  stevenharrisarchitects.com

28 July 2017

Cold War Cold Cabinet

Here's a page from "The Soviet Commodity Dictionary," a nine-volume publication that starting in 1956 was kind of a Communist Sears catalogue. Beautiful illustrations of clothing, foodstuffs, knick-knacks, household objects, and oh-so-much more were deliberately designed to appeal to the nascent materialist tendencies in the population. [I'd make a contemporary kompromat correlation here, but yet another White House staffing scandal is unfolding and I must go monitor my Twitter feed.]

27 July 2017

Peaceful Waters

In these whip-lash times, even a faucet that offers a sense of balance and beauty provides a welcome reassurance. The Equilibrio can be specified with a wide range of wood, metal, and stone elements, giving its organic forms a soothing tactility. I'll take two of them! gessi.com

26 July 2017

Pretty, Dirty Laundry

The knowingly-named Anfibio sink and under-basin storage unit are sufficiently stylish to be installed in a bathroom; the functional aspects of their design are up to the rigors of a laundry room. Matteo Ragni's creation is a multi-functional fixture that doesn't tip its aesthetic hand. azzurraceramica.com

25 July 2017

Writing on the Walls [or Floors]

In these days of 140-character communications, Scrabble—both the traditional board format as well as online version of the game—still remains popular. These ceramic tiles let aficionados get their messages across [and yes, you can keep score!]. wallsandfloors.co.uk

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