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

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

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.

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!

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Happy Mother's Day

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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