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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.