Staff -- Interior Design, 9/1/2008 12:00:00 AM
Let It Drain
Dripped on, stepped on. Is it any wonder that drains have an inferiority complex? But when they're finessed by California Faucets, their self-esteem rises like steam. There's even a patent pending on StyleDrain, which comes in a decorative grid or a pattern of inset squares. Available in 30 finishes, the forged brass grille plates are framed in stainless steel and fitted over a cast-iron collar treated with corrosion-resistant epoxy, with no visible screws. 800-822-8855; calfaucets.com. circle 448
Question: What do science fiction, nature, and the artwork of Lucio Fontana have in common? Answer: Peter Rankin, a man with a penchant for elevating everyday objects into sculpture. These diverse influences were all on his mind when he designed Blade, an Antrax IT heating system that safely eradicates the memory of every cast-iron radiator that ever hissed by the window.
Starting where he left off with his award-winning Saturn and Moon models, both round, he stretched those circles into a slim oval measuring approximately 67 inches long by 10 wide by 5 deep. Especially well suited for narrow spaces, it seems to float off the wall, and discreetly hidden workings and controls help maintain that illusion. He chose steel as his material for its rapid diffusion of heat. As a result, the system saves energy by running at lower temperatures, whether it's powered by electricity or a traditional boiler. Blade is also ready for duty as a towel warmer—just position it vertically, and add a chrome bar. Colors for the steel body include black, white, red, orange, and, perfect for the bathroom, powder blue. 39-0423-7174; antrax.it. circle 449
B1 is A+
It's an assignment familiar to most dollar-stretchers: Doing more with less. Now consider Bulthaup's variation on the theme. The B1 kitchen system was born not of budget cutbacks but of economies of design. Focusing on the essentials, the manufacturer devised a series of components that are less numerous but more flexible, resulting in nearly limitless configurations.
For base cabinets, specify drawers, closed shelves, a corner carousel, or a cutout for a sink. The modules' widths range from about 12 to 35 inches, heights from 35 to 37 inches. For the wall above, consider a unit that's 120 inches wide by 19 high, with or without a 54-inch-wide sliding door panel of sandblasted glass. Then there are 77-inch-high cabinets, fitted with shelves and doors or left empty to accommodate appliances.
Materials options are equally accommodating. For work surfaces, select stainless steel or through-dyed, high-pressure plastic laminate; for wall panels, choose plastic laminate or white lacquer. Drawer and door fronts and side panels can be lacquered white. Inside the drawers, spice and cutlery trays are solid birch.
A Horse, Of Course
If Lladró, the Spanish porcelain company, ever told German-born Bodo Sperlein to hold his horses, something was obviously lost in translation. It's the horses that do the holding in his Equus breakfast set. Three horse heads, borrowed from the manufacturer's epic array of traditional figurines, became legs for the centerpiece bowl. He borrowed a few legs to fashion handles for such pieces as the teapot and butter dish. And he fused two more legs to form a napkin ring. Take the equine-free plate, bowl, coffee cup, teacup, and butter knife, fit everything together for storage, and you get a stack that resembles a samovar.
More than just a one-off curiosity, Equus is an extension of the Re-Cylos Magical series, which repurposes elements of classic Lladró porcelain for new vases, light fixtures, and jewelry. 800-634-9088; lladro.com. circle 451
Pieces of a Puzzle
After devoting nearly 20 years to making mosaic tile, Sara Baldwin has honed an extremely reliable design tool, her Rolodex. The founder and creative director of New Ravenna Mosaics assembled eight designers, along with her wood-carver sister, and charged each with creating a pattern fora 2½-by-7-foot panel to be handmade by the company's 62 mosaic artists as part of a single collection, Synergy 2008. "I called it my friends-and-family program," says Baldwin—who ultimately couldn't resist getting in on the tiling bee, too. Her Amulet panel, with its blue marble rings, clearly brought good luck to the series, which is dominated by marble and glass.
Furniture and rug designer James Duncan supplied Indus, a lattice pattern in marble embellished with bronze strips. Tucker Robbins, a Buddhist monk turned furniture designer, offered Ever Expanding Lotus, with its overlapping petals composed of blush-toned hand-honed marble. Fabric manufacturer Rogers & Goffigon translated its Kingston Lacy linen damask, named for a British country house, into a mix of polished and matte marble. Japanese influences familiar from John Kelly's furniture also informed his Fusuma in hand-honed marble. Based in Albuquerque, Erin Adams Design's namesake founder chose a Southwest palette for the marble in Kaleidoscope.
Glass-tile Leopard by resort-wear designer Lotty Bunbury looks like one of the hand-painted silk Lotty B sarongs she produces on the Caribbean island of Mustique. Textile designer Kevin O'Brien's Lily Pads mimics three-dimensionality with a light-to-dark range of glass. Oceanside Glasstile's design director, Feras Irikat, fashioned Feras Phoenix after his own tattoo, with glass tiles accented by a marble eye. And Baldwin's sister, Ellen McCaleb, put aside her usual materials—basswood, black walnut, and mahogany—for Ellen's School, which features a glass background and aluminum fish. 757-442-3379; newravenna.com. circle 452
Turn any drawing or design into a hand-mounted mural of hand-cut tiles. After you choose from Venetian glass, smalto, gold, or marble in a variety of cuts, plus an uncut version , the tiles can be mounted with a mesh backing or a paper-face technique. No minimum or maximum dimensions required. 541-552-0855; hakatai.com. circle 453
The slim profile of Crono is cast from a composite of natural minerals and resin in Alpine White. This washbasin, 30 inches wide by 18 deep by 5½ high, was designed to sit on a counter 20 inches deep. For the solid-brass tap, select a finish of polished or matte chrome. 717-718-8900; burg-northamerica.com. circle 454
A modular-minded shower system, Satinjet Tahi offers a medley of metals. The showerhead and main rail are both chrome-plated extruded aluminum, while the footrest adds texture. As for the chrome-plated hand shower, it rests in a holder of chrome-plated solid zinc. And the shelf is sheet aluminum with a nickel-chrome finish. 800-975-5409; satinjet.com. circle 455
Influenced by the fabrics and wall coverings of sun-drenched Mediterranean shores, Contessa Florentina ceramic tiles are gold-leafed, then hand-buffed to achieve an old-world patina. Each tile measures 45/8 inches square. 818-504-0235; walkerzanger.com. circle 457
Villeroy & Boch
Though it's actually porcelain, the Pure Stone basin has the shape and texture of an enormous pebble, measuring 21 by 21 inches or 24 by 25. Specify gray or white with or without a stain-resistant finish, Ceramicplus. The Source Flow tap is chromed brass. 858-812-2550; villeroy-boch.com. circle 456
Gently tapered edges soften Naoto Fukasawa's Sabbia bathtub and floor-mounted washbasins, all molded from Cristalplant, a composite of aluminum trihydrate, polyester, and acrylic resin. The tub is 75 inches long by 43 wide by 22 high; the basins are 35 inches high by 18 wide by 16 deep. 39-0362-5341; boffi.com. circle 458
This company is flaunting its expertise in made-to-order mosaic work. Supply a design, choose from glass, porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone, and select face tape or paper backing. In two weeks or so, a panel in any size is ready to install. Peter S. Balsam Associates was responsible for this deco-inspired glass-tiled beauty. 800-260-8646; artistictile.com. circle 459
Buddhist bliss attracts attention with Nirvana ceramic tiles. Wall tiles measure 12 by 23 inches, while the floor tiles are 12 inches square. Both shapes come in seven colors: white, beige, cream, brown, gray, dark gray, and ocher. 34-96-434-34-34; saloni.com. circle 460
With the latest stainless-steel ventilation hoods from this company, dual-configuration fans move air quickly and quietly, up to 600 cubic feet per minute. Wall mounted RH36WC60GS incorporates two halogen bulbs and a glass canopy in widths of 26 or 30 inches. Other versions can be mounted on a ceiling or chimney or in the center of an island. 877-435-3287; electroluxappliances.com. circle 461
Slated for production after a preview at Eurocucina 2008 in Milan, the central island of Alfredo Häberli's Concept kitchen is outfitted with a glistening stainless-steel worktop measuring 48 by 165 inches. The oval sink, at 14 by 28 inches, is carved from a single block of marble with an integral drain. 203-594-1522; schiffini.it. circle 462
Smallbone of Devizes
An homage to British architect John Sloan, the Macassar kitchen's larder flaunts Macassar ebony veneer, over solid poplar, and inlaid mirror strips. Inside the two center doors are three shelves veneered in black walnut and one in granite or marble. Two perimeter doors open to reveal five smaller shelves apiece. The cabinet height is 95 inches. 800-763-0096; smallboneofdevizes.com. circle 463
The ProArte collection just expanded with Caleidos glazed ceramic wall tiles, rectangles of 12 by 35 inches. Color simulates texture in white, orange, beige, and wood-grain brown as well as ruddy Bordeaux. 34-96-434-44-22; grespania.com. circle464
On the run? Stainless-steel Masterpiece's convection mode reduces cooking time by up to 30 percent. In addition, the EasyCook feature preprograms time and temperature for 20 recipes. The wall oven comes in two widths, 27 and 30 inches. All models feature internal halogen lights and racks that can support 48½ pounds. 800-656-9229; thermador.com. circle 465
Like ebony and ivory, all is harmony with two glazed ceramic tiles from the Blancos 360 collection. Inserto Flor Negro is a 7-inch square, while Flores 360 Blanco is a 13-by-24-inch rectangle. 34-96-434-04-60; gaya.es. circle 466
There's actually nothing blue about Marianelli Design partner Barbara Sordina's Aguablu, a brass fitting finished in polished chrome or satin nickel. The spout measures 10 inches high, with a 7-inch projection from the wall. 800-655-2534; zucchettidesign.com.circle 467
Hand-hammered copper goes contemporary in the kitchen and the bathroom. The Fiesta prep sink has a 16-inch diameter and an apron front that extends beyond the counter. And Tatra is a 13-by-17-inch lavatory sink. For either, choose a brushed-nickel finish, or keep it natural with copper-toned Antique. 800-786-0862; nativetrails.net. circle 469
The rain shower from Sieger Design's Tara Logic system truly drenches—unless you tame the torrent with the integrated hand shower. Both benefit from a de-scaling system, and both are brass offered in standard finishes of polished chrome or matte platinum. The unit's standard height is 89 7/8 inches. However, custom finishes and heights are available. 800-774-1181; dornbracht.com. circle 468
Take three. Patricia Urquiola designed the faintly concave resin-quartz composite Pear bathtub, measuring about 72½ inches long by 36 wide by 23 high. Gwenael Nicolas is responsible for the Sen tap and towel holder in anodized aluminum. And Benedini Associati contributed the 027 cabinet in oak and stainless steel with mirrored sliding doors. 39-0376-250311; agapedesign.it. circle 470
Not even highly trafficked kitchens and baths can dull the high-gloss sheen of HR-LAQ high-pressure plastic laminate. The 51-by-120-inch sheets come in 24 solid colors, among them orange, red, pink, and blue. 800-228-2238; abetlaminati.com. circle 471
Inaugurating the newly licensed Smithsonian Collection, the Ottoman Faience sink was inspired by the Turkish-style pattern on an 1878 vase found at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The sink is hand-thrown, hand-painted, tin-glazed earthenware with a 17-inch diameter, a 6-inch height, and a 1 ½-inch drain. 866-395-8377; linkasink.com. circle 472