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Honor Mother Nature with Style at TOTO

“People First Innovation” is the guiding principle behind Toto, the world’s largest manufacturer of bathroom fixtures and fittings. TOTO is an un paralleled luxury brand creating beautiful and functional fixtures for the bath.  What really impresses me is that at the same time the are heavily focused on water conservation, a leading global concern that needs more attention here in the US.

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Notice the "Aubrey-esque" graphics in the back. The thing is I love the faucet too!

I know my last post was all about the plumbing but I’m not done yet.  As I peruse my ever growing roster of press releases this little tidbit caught my eye.  It’s a sleek beautiful sexy faucet with one hell of a marketing strategy.

Meet Salome' by Riobel

The new Salome faucet by Riobel is going to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting public on June 7th at Koko Bar and Restaurant in Montreal, should you be in the area.  What makes it so special you ask?  Check it out.  Need I say more? I just love it when art history intersects with design.  I think it just adds a whole other layer.

Salome' by Aubrey Beardsley


Yes it’s all about the looks, you know a faucet can never be too thin or rich expensive, which I’m sure it is.  The marketing brilliance is in the name and inspiration for this design.  She’s (yes this faucet is a girl) called Salome’ after the work of Aubrey Beardsley, the 19th century bad boy famous for his erotic Art Noveau illustrations.  Here’s what Riobel has to say in their press release:

“In Harmony with this (Art Noveau) artistic concept, the faucets of Riobel’s SALOMÉ Collection are based on the aesthetics of curved lines. Due to their round profile and arched shape, Salomé products exude finesse, refinement and elegance.

Turning on a SALOMÉ faucet is reminiscent of an exotic cascading waterfall, deep in the forest where all is pure, a significant aspect of these wall-mounted fixtures.”  So I lied when I said it’s all about the looks.  This water-as-in-nature concept seems like a great way to tame the stress and put a little Zen in your life.










































































Elements Converge In Dream Kitchen

The after effect

Another year is winding down.  We have been blessed  again with many interesting projects.  As we are in “finishing up mode” I thought I’d share with you one of the best of 2011.  This project was a true collaboration.  Our clients, a couple of sweet snowbirds from Chicago, were very hands on which made it fun to see this kitchen take shape.  The existing space was on the small side, the cabinets a little dated.

This is the before which is not the worst but these girls had bigger dreams...


Still before

Our assignment was to add a whole range of  state-of-the-art appliances and a clean unique contemporary feel that would flow into the existing family room.  Naturally storage and function were also of the utmost importance but the real challenge was in fitting it all in!!

Here's one of numerous perspectives during the design process.

They chose a rich coffee bean stain for the cabinets to match existing cabinetry in the family room.  The cabinet fronts were not ordinary doors, no way.  Together, with our clients, we designed the Soldono and the Soldono Pacifica Doors just for this job.  The Soldono custom door features a cherry frame around a horizontal grained oak center panel all stained in a rich espresso color.  The center panel is beveled on one end with stainless steel grip strip inset on the frame.  No hardware sticking out in this kitchen! A select few of the upper cabinets sport the Soldono Pacifica custom door which received center panels in olive ash burl veneer for a huge shot of “unique”.


Close up of the Soldono Pacifica door featuring Olive Ash Burl veneer center panel

Stainless steel serves as an accent finish and is found in the appliances and in the monster-multi-functional Hafele appliance garage.  Refrigerators are Subzero, ovens are by Gaggenau, cooktop is by Miele and the dishwasher drawers are by Fisher Paykel.  Thank you to Linda Roberts at House of Appliances for her guidance.   Counter tops are Caesarstone quartz by Stone Palace and the backsplash is painted glass by Florida Shower Door & Mirror, Inc. Clearly they do much more that shower doors!  Perhaps the “piece de resistance” however is the glass tile behind the hood.   It truly looks like water cascading down the wall behind the hood!  The sink is a Precision by Blanco and the glass theme is picked up again with the glass table.  You can find a listing of all the trades on the Local Resources page here at Kitchens for Living.



Blanco Precision Stainless Sink. We love the square bottom.


Counter between Subzeros offers handy landing space

Is it water or is it glass? I think it's sublime...



Panels around peninsula reflect architecture of the house. Cool bar stools by Kyle Wells Design.

Ta daaaaa!  Another beautiful kitchen is complete, and yes it’s white with Shaker doors.  Surprise!  Not.  There were two main challenges about working in this home.  First of all the architecture is very unique and is an integral part of the space.  It’s comprised of posts and beams, angles and open lofts which remind me of a ship.  The second challenge was a lack of unity with way too much going on visually.  The existing kitchen had three different types of counter tops, two different types of cabinets and more stuff than space.  In addition, hinges and drawer slides were failing and paint was chipping.

The homeowners came equipped with the most valuable of traits, an open mind.  They were willing to see their kitchen and laundry area in a new way.  Every step of the design process we would ask ourselves “does this unify and simplify”?  Think “nautical zen”!

First off I decided to make peace with the posts and beams.  The layout remained the same and we didn’t even change the door style or color!  What we did was improve the fit and function.  Using all white counters unified the space and allowed the blue granite back splash to be the star of the show.  Here are some “before” pix and “after” solutions which will pave the way for smooth sailing in this new kitchen.

This was the peninsula before. See the new and improved above!


This existing refrigerator just didn't fit. It overlapped the casing of the door on the right. This built-in model was not built-in!


Before we also had a traffic jam on the left of the fridge with beams, posts and different ceiling heights!


The homeowners had to face facts and downsize the fridge. What they gave up in space they made up in style. Oh, and they kept the other one in the garage. Now it's built-in and it fits! We dealt with the beam by allowing the refrigerator cabinetry to stand alone.

Traffic jam on the left is also solved. By clearing the beam we were able to go higher with the upper cabinet plus we added an appliance garage below to keep things neat and tidy.

This is Mindi showing off her new kitchen.


Before, radius drawers were failing from weight and inadequate slides and guess what? The cook top didn't fit either.


We unified the space by using matching cabinets and creating a proper fit for the new Wolf gas cook top. Acid etched glass subtly conceals contents of cabinets.


This is Max. He's into hockey, he likes to dream big and he loves to cook so he's really happy about the new kitchen.


We added some hidden conveniences. This is the spice cabinet extraordinare!


This is the pantry/laundry room before


...and here it is after.


Last but not least, this cute little family member was very accommodating through the entire process.



Every year high end appliance manufacturer Subzero Wolf sponsor a kitchen design contest.  This year’s winner is Jose Eduardo Calma of Lor Calma & Partners, Makati City, Phillipines.  I must confess I LOVE this!  The juxtaposition of materials and calm yet sublime use of color puts me in a Zen state of mind.  Well done, Jose!  If traditional styling is more your cup of tea, stay tuned.  My next post will show you the winner in the traditional category. Photo is courtesy of Subzero Wolf.  

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