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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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....

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.'

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....

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.

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.

A Blue Clue

On Mondays, I usually post a kitchen design. My apologies for the detail photograph [rather than an view of an entire room], but I do find this island, colors, and materials a compelling nucleus for a very nice space. The angular, ebonized trestle 'table' connects with the soothing blue cabinet in a way that lets each component retain its own identity, while establishing the overall tone of the kitchen.

Fowl Playful

I'm sure this ad was designed to [figuratively] stick in one's craw. The suggestion that the cook, and not just the unventilated kitchen, would reek of food odors is memorably made through a rather surreal image.

Strange dreams tonight....

Left of Center Design

And here we have a case of life, lemons, and lemonade. Or maybe it's existing conditions, budget, and creativity. I give this willfully off-kilter ventilation design points not only for impressive metal fabrication, but also for its straightforward approach to solving a problem.

But You Still Need an Allen Wrench

This standard-issue Ikea cabinet has been jazzed up with a snappy, laser-engraved front and midcentury-modish legs. They are part of a large menu of customizing elements that can transform the Faktum and Metod collections from bland to bodacious.

Swept Away

There are some delightful material-based paradoxes in this bath: the animated pattern and vivid color of the walls recall the sky or the surf, yet they are cold, immobile stone. The blue granite slabs that clad the powder room are wholly natural, yet I see painterly compositions in them; think Hokusai.

What's in Store

As acceptance of the integrated kitchen continues to creep forward [although an interesting wrinkle is being posed by micro-apartments], designers continue to refine storage strategies. Traditional boxy wall cabinets are too overt, floating shelves are too idiosyncratic. The open frame offered by this new collection by Diesel/Scavolini may be the answer.

Going Forward

The whiteness is overwhelming, isn't it? Apparently that—as opposed to finessed mass and line—was the tell-tale sign of modernity at the dawn of the 70s. If I were surrounded by an encroaching mob of appliances, I'd get the heck outta Dodge—but our homeowner couple has only eyes for each other. Another disconnect: the use of the Jazz Age font. The 1930s type is bizarrely neo-retro when cast in the context of 'modern' 1970.

Naked Kitchen Appliance!

Now that I've got your's always been fascinating to me to see the guts of an appliance. Stripped of its stainless steel skirting and brass base-wrap, it's possible to appreciate not only the working elements of the t1 model, but also its structural engineering—which is rather impressive. Almost ten feet long, the piece tips the scales at slightly more than 1,200 pounds. The bronze-topped mega-island made its debut at this year's LivingKitchen show.

Fixture Fixation

I need more art.

'Lake Michigan Bathroom' is an exuberantly detailed ceramic work created by Ann Agee. The artwork, with its elaborate pictorial treatment, gives a nod to chinoiserie—but a scrutinizing look reveals very contemporary subject matter, as this close-up of the sink illustrates. [The full installation features a toilet, bidet, urinal, and basin.] Interestingly, Agee was an artist-in-residence at Kohler for two years.