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.

11 May 2017

Lighten Up, Day Three

For every problem, there is a solution—and this one is rather elegant, in my opinion. The LS4 provides 'undercabinet' light in kitchens that have no wall cabinets. LED bulbs are sandwiched in a shelf that's made of glare-neutralizing translucent panels. gera-leuchten.de

10 May 2017

Lighten Up, Day Two

Rigged in a way that's reminiscent of a chemistry lab experiment, the Fluid Edition hanging fixture actually is a blend of science and art. Designer Nao Tamura uses mirrors, light, glass vessels, and water to evoke the instant when sunbeams first hit the surface of a lake and triggers a spreading spark of light. wonder-glass.com

09 May 2017

Lighten Up

It's a big year for lighting design: Last month, Euroluce was held in Milan, and this week Philadelphia hosts Lightfair. In observance—and to counteract the predicted stretch of rainy, dark weather ahead—I'm featuring new luminaires the rest of the week.

Designed by Bart Lens, the OH!LED hanging fixture uses [of course] OLED technology. Unlike LED lamps, OLEDs provides soft, glare-free illumination. Measuring less than a quarter-inch in thickness, the head of this model can pivot to provide light wherever it's needed. Dimmable, it's available in satin black and satin white aluminum. edendesign.be

08 May 2017

Kitchen Building

The Attract kitchen was designed by Ulrich Dahm-Wachsmann. It's unabashedly architectural, with vertical louvers fronting smoked-glass doors—think of them as windows with blinds—mixed in with solid bronze and oak doors. Especially when the cupboard interiors are illuminated, the cabinet composition resembles a cityscape, diverse in materials, proportion, and function. alno-usa.com

05 May 2017

Pretty in Plastic...

...or maybe Lovely in Laminate? Countertops, cabinet fronts, backsplashes [those nasty little four-inch ones], and even the shelves in the greenhouse window of this late 1940s-era kitchen are all swathed in the stuff. Low in maintenance and high in aesthetic possibility—although as always, it's worth noting there's no accounting for taste—the material provided a great escape from the past.

03 May 2017

Metal Urges

Once the unquestioned king of faucet finishes, chrome has recently been given a run for the crown by warm-toned metals. Bronze, brass, and copper have come on strong in both plain and fancy fittings—which makes me wonder if the incised pattern on the Meccanica would be as effective if it were rendered in chrome or stainless steel? gessi.com

02 May 2017

Decisions, Decisions

A palette of four panel styles isn't the only design option for the Retro vanity. It can be configured as desired: for single or multiple sinks, with cupboards or drawer modules, at high or low heights. Perhaps the most curious choice is the leg treatment—long or stubby, the tapered supports can be installed singly or in eye-catching clusters. Designed by Toni Sabatino. badenhaus.it

01 May 2017

Looking Up

At last: a beautiful weekend, with warm temps and clear skies. [And a couple days off!] Let's hope the euphoria lasts all week...here's a glass-roofed kitchen to keep the vibe going. glennreynaert.be

27 April 2017

Open Door Policy

And here's a little something for the absent-minded among us. This clever door-within-a door feature [aka, 'AddWash'] is quite the convenience. Previously, closing the door on a front-loading washer had a sense of terrible finality to it, knowing it would be impossible to toss in an errant sock or towel. No more! samsung.com

26 April 2017

Extreme Garden Variety

I'll confess that it was the spring-sprout green tub that initially caught my eye—but the Botanica wallcovering quickly grew on me [no, not literally]. Designed by Vito Nesta, its magnified details play off the simplicity of the soaker quite effectively. A vinyl covering, it can stand up to the steamy environs of the bath. devon-devon.com

25 April 2017

Seeing Double

Such a simple and smart idea: offsetting the sinks from the mirrors yields a near full-length looking glass, a feature extremely handy in the bath. The Origin collection of fixtures and furniture, with its rounded lines, lends itself well to this design. inbani.com

24 April 2017

Trans-Dimensional Kitchen

This installation, created for Salone, is a delightful escape from reality [a fact alone making it an ideal post for a gloomy Monday]. Superimposed on the space, blue boundaries define invisible walls, letting one experience an open kitchen while imaging an enclosed room. marcante-testa.it

21 April 2017

Why We Have Earth Day

I've collected hundreds of vintage ads featuring kitchen and bath accoutrements in order to provide a steady stream of fodder for our Flashback Friday posts. Reviewing them for this Earth Day edition, I am astonished to report that none of them—spanning more than a century—focus on any type of energy-saving attributes. Instead, the emphasis is on convenience, speed, or capacity. So today I present one of the most egregious examples of conspicuous energy consumption I have on file. Made in 1934, this three-door monster is testimony to how far we've come in our awareness of efficiency.

20 April 2017

Planes Talk

There's another photo of this bathroom that shows its context: in it, a leaded glass transom over the door definitively pegs it as a contemporary remodel of a much-older home. While that view was telling, I think this shot really reveals the proficiency of the designer. Optically and physically composing mirrors and walls and a too-fab flat sink into a literal reflection on the space is a tour de force work of vision and precision. liebkeprojects.com.au 

19 April 2017

Bowled Over

The pudgy Bulbo sink is eminently lovable. Sitting on a trio of squat legs, the concrete basin straddles the line between folk art and fine sculpture. I think it would work best with a palette of natural finishes; this plaster counter has both the tactility and heft that the sink needs. urbietorbi.gr

18 April 2017

Coming Clean

The dark abyss under the kitchen sink has gotten a bit brighter, and the sometimes odoriferous drain is sporting a citrus scent, thanks to the Fresh Kitchen food disposer with its automatic fragrance function. Let fashion or fragrance guide your decision on which color-coordinated unit to install; it's offered in lemon/yellow, orange/orange, and lime/green. A matching sink baffle is available, too. insinkerator.com

17 April 2017

Mixed-Media Kitchen

The late Dirk Cousaert found endless inspiration and meaning in overt materiality and basic forms. Rough wood and raw steel are found throughout his work. Unorthodox—but perfectly functional—appliance installations make his kitchens not for the mainstream. I shall miss his explorations of design. dirkcousaert.be

14 April 2017

Egg-cellent Design

The similarity between these brightly hued sinks from the 1970s and a clutch of colorful Easter eggs can't be overlooked—especially this weekend. Best wishes for a joyful holiday, dear readers.

13 April 2017

You Don't Spray!

Here, with the Magic Swan, we essentially have the humble vegetable sprayer elevated to the position of primary kitchen faucet. While silicone-spouted designs are no longer unusual, this model takes it to the extreme: stripped of even the barest armature, just an adjustable stand holds the hose in place. It's a winner of the 2017 German Design award. primyonline.com

12 April 2017

Bubbled Bath

From the Fantasy Bath Files: An effervescent design, the Newton tub is a witty comment—as I see it, at least—of Sir Isaac's Laws of Motion; specifically, a body in repose. The tub is also offered in a lacquered black version. maisonvalentina.net

11 April 2017

Everything You Need

On the rare morning where there is time to spare for la toilette, having the option to sit [rather than stand] is a genuine luxury. The appropriately-named Narciso vanity facilitates this in a very compact footprint. Designers Andrea Parisio and Giuseppe Pezzano have put both sink and storage within an arm's reach without creating any feeling of confinement, thanks to the unit's modular make up. ceramicacielo.com

10 April 2017

A Glassy Kitchen Design

I've always wondered about the glass shields that often enclose range hoods in European kitchens...my best guess is something having to do with fire codes, but please weigh in should you know the real story, dear readers.

In any case, that glass box relates quite well to the glass-fronted cabinet that fits flush with the wall. The other glazing-based elements in this kitchen—the two windows—pretty much assured there could be no wall cabinets in the room. I think this is a very successful example of doing much with little. spatialcode.dk

07 April 2017

Cool Thinking

The world was in tumult in the year this ad appeared, 1929. The stock market had crashed, and restive political forces were being felt around the globe. Yet for some reason Frigidaire felt the populace wanted to acquire the same refrigerators used by 'presidents and kings.' Was it a distractive ploy, or an appeal to the aspirational hopes of a generation? I can't answer that question, but I do recognize a similar situation today....

06 April 2017

Wine-ding Down

Sure, those seven-bottle wine fridges are cute. But there are times—like a day [ahem] when a deadline, a prodigious traffic jam, and monsoon-scale rains coincide—when a more accommodating arrangement is called for. Voila: these custom towers hold a cellar's worth of vino, and spin 360º so that each bottle is within easy reach. revelcellars.com

05 April 2017

Clearing the Air

For years, downdraft ventilation was sidelined as a less-than-effective technology with limited applications. The common complaint: to efficiently evacuate cooking vapors, the vents had to pull so much air that they would extinguish gas burners. Now, re-engineered downdrafts have wafted back to the scene, frequently integrated [as seen above, often quite stylishly] into flame-free induction cooktops. jennair.com

04 April 2017

Unreal Appeal

This design gives new meaning to 'dream bath.' With its ethereal column of light, clouded-marble wall cladding, and a mirror whose irregular geometry seems pulled from a Salvador Dalí painting, there's definitely an illusory quality to the room. Perhaps the most surreal aspect of the space is the basin-less sink, where water disappears down linear drains set around the perimeter of the flat-topped fixture. leveronedesign.com

03 April 2017

An Unexpected Focal Point

The way this window is detailed—pushed outward into a corner and framed by deep, thick, and thin slices of wall—makes it appear to be part and apart of the kitchen. The effect [to me] is that it anticipates or implies another space beyond this room. katehume.com

31 March 2017

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

If there was ever a time for a bath-room/sanitarium combo, this it it. [Although apparently, 1898—the date of this ad—was a pretty rough year, as well.]

A short six months ago, I'd contest that sitting directly over an open flame would 'soothe the nerves', but now, as we careen through an arbitrary period of 100 fraught days, I can definitely see the virtue of such self-punishment. Under the current circumstances, I'd even give the 'not ours' model a try, too.

30 March 2017

Keeping One's Cool

As spring takes its sweet time in arriving, this powder room reminds me of just how great an impact nature can have on design. Even a mere threesome of flowers [multiplied to six by the mirror] gives life to an otherwise icy space that's clad in elaborately carved solid surfacing. dessinsllc.com

29 March 2017

Eye Candy

Congratulations—we've reached the mid-point of the week! To celebrate, how about a porcelain tile that's somewhat edgy, but not over-the-edge? The Shades collection, designed by architect by Marco Piva, will debut at Salone next week. In advance, I applaud how it plays with color to create effects of depth and volume. casalgrandepadana.com

28 March 2017

In the Grooves

I'm fascinated how the digital overlays the natural in this doorstyle, part of the Bellagio kitchen by Bartoli Design. A consistent texture is broken into a pattern of uneven horizontal lengths. Put another way: It's like transforming a familiar song with a scat-tempoed rhythm. laurameroni.com

27 March 2017

An Essential Kitchen

Hasn't even the most devoted acolyte of the 'lived-in look' on occasion yearned for a kitchen that is beyond simple? While the Ceragino model isn't practical for a large family, its all-in-one design brings visual tranquility to a small household. sanwacompany.co.jp

24 March 2017

Living Not-Quite Large

I'm all for a frugal lifestyle, but this 1960ish ad makes a statement that's cause for concern. The claim that the fridge's capacity of 3.1 cubic feet would adequately store a week's worth of food 'for a small family' has me a bit skeptical. Hanging a larger appliance on the wall [!] wouldn't be practical, so perhaps Draconian portion control is the key to this mystery....

23 March 2017

Conflicted Climate

It's spring—isn't it? I'm so confused. The crocus were beginning to pop up before last week's blizzard buried them, and today's temps are below freezing. A retreat to this herbal sauna might help. Emitting a garden-fresh fragrance in a toasty enclosure, it bridges the unseemly seasonal gap we're experiencing. carmentasri.com

22 March 2017

Subtle + Strong

The integral backsplash of the JP sink is topped by a small shelf that conceals the water outlet as well as providing a modest storage area. The design, by Monica Freitas Geronimi, is available in basalt and solid surfacing material, in addition to the Carrara marble model shown here. mg12.it

21 March 2017

Art Appreciated

Look long enough at the Miro 2 hanging fixture—and it still remains an enigma, at least to me. In a time when answers to the most obtuse questions can be found in the blink of an eye, I'm happy to contemplate the deliberate composition of the light, its unequal glass globes pierced by a brass frame. atelierdetroupe.com

20 March 2017

Maybe Next Week

Well, this isn't exactly the kind of kitchen I was hoping to feature this first week of spring. Something a bit brighter and lighter, and with at least a hint of color, would ordinarily be in order. But as we're still under a foot of snow, this muted space is more appropriate. Natural wood cabinets contrast with the concrete and plaster surfaces like bare tree branches poking out from their icy coating.

17 March 2017

Wearing of the Green

Ah, 1964—an awkward year. Trying to escape the drabness of the 1950s, yet too far away from the peak of the psychedelic 60s to be very interesting in terms of color. This 'Kohler Green' is practically grey; it's hard to fathom that this mildew-influenced hue would be something a homeowner would welcome on a daily basis, let alone live with for 'a lifetime.'

16 March 2017

It's Not Just for Popcorn Anymore

As we are extremely invested in the world of kitchen appliances here at KBCULTURE, I'm sharing this video as a sort of public service. As you may have noticed, there has been a recent interest in the capabilities of the microwave oven. Watch and learn....

15 March 2017

Old is New

There's an archaeological aspect to this design that makes the piece feel both new and familiar to me. Brass rods tie the trio of basalt columns together in a way that's distinctly architectural; it's easy to imagine the pedestal is a fragment of a stone structure from ages past [or present]. The width of the openings between the pillars can be adjusted, allowing the construction to fit into spaces of various sizes. stoneforest.com

14 March 2017

A Sliver of a Sink

The phonetically fun ISH trade show, now underway in Frankfurt, is the biggest stage for international plumbing products. Making its debut this week is this minimalist beauty. Fabricated from a single sheet of stainless steel, the Lavandino sink hangs from a frame concealed in the wall—an installation that facilitates its floating appearance and thin profile. The fixture was designed by Francesca Braga Rosa and Ivano Vianello. antoniolupi.it