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Monday, February 25, 2013

NIM: New Samsung Fridge with SodaStream


Do you have a SodaStream?  My brother and his wife do, and while I really like the idea of being able to have carbonated water whenever I want (I'm not much of a flavoured soda drinker) the thought of having yet another appliance on my countertop is enough of a deterrent to keeping the device out of my house.

I must not be the only one who feels this way because Samsung has just introduced a new refrigerator to their lineup that features an integrated SodaStream dispenser.

Using the same control panel they would use to select between water or ice, consumers can select up to three levels of carbonation for their sparkling water, giving them just what they are looking for to quench their thirst. The sparkling water dispenser uses a standard SodaStream 60L CO2 cylinder that rests in a small, concealed area inside the left refrigerator door, which is easily accessible to change when empty.

As of now the SodaStream option is only available in a 36" fridge.  I'm hoping it will be introduced in smaller models since this type of integration would benefit smaller kitchens.  The new fridge will be available in April 2013 ... just in time for KBIS perhaps?  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stilje Cabinet Doors - Bringing Texture To Contemporary

The strongest trend in cabinetry style that I see in my practice is easily the "slab".  Flat panels, either laminate, painted, or veneer are dominating the market place.  And while the coldness of a painted slab door can be offset with the warmth of veneers (engineered or otherwise) there is still something lacking in the contemporary world of slab.  Texture.

And while it may be true that the texture of a paneled door is too traditional for the modern aesthetic, I really feel the lack of depth (visual and actual) in the kitchen often leaves things a bit two dimensional.  So it was with great interest that I examined some door samples in the Schenke booth at the recent BUILDEX show in Vancouver.

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Schenke manufactures the Stilje series of slab doors.  All the usual players are there: high gloss (with glass no less), veneer, painted ... and then there's the Kitsilano series.  Kitsilano is a slab door offered in several different textures and colours each with varying degrees of texture.  

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Favourites are Ocean that as you would expect features deep, wave-like ripples in the surface, and Borke that appears as though it was ripped from the trunk of an ancient Douglas Fir.

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In addition to the wood veneers, the Kitsilano doors are also available in a paintable white foil allowing for it to be integrated into any colour scheme.















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I see these panels being integrated to create a feature area in a sleek painted kitchen (or a wood veneer kitchen in the case of the paintable doors).  An entire kitchen of Wave doors might be a bit much.  But use them for a run of upper cabinetry, or to make an island really stand out and you'll add a bit of that missing texture into a world of smooth.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

When Art Is Just Wrong

Maybe I just woke up this morning in a snarky mood, but I'm really struggling with how to write about this product without coming across like a total jerk. Perhaps that's impossible. After all, the idea behind the peel 'n stick appliance panels from ApplianceArt.com is simply brilliant. The vinyl panels are and inexpensive way to dress up old appliances, or to add a bit of perpetually changing whimsy to your kitchen.

Doesn't this belong on my doorstep?
The Appliance Art site is filled with hundreds of different designs for your refrigerator, dishwasher, wall ... pretty much any surface can be dressed up. But therein lies the problem. It's too much. Updating the dishwasher to have stainless steel panels is one thing (for $100 you can get yourself a whole roll of the stuff, enough to hander a dishwasher, a fridge and maybe a microwave oven or two), but since when did our appliances need to feature pineapples?





Oh, I've made a mistake allright ...
And before you can start to guess where this could all lead, while browsing through the galleries on Appliance Art you come across inspirational sayings ...











Shouldn't this sort of thing
stay on the internet?
... and puppies (yes, the feline world makes an appearance too).  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. 

So be forewarned.  This is an idea that will at first appeal to you.  And then you'll get sucked in to it and next thing you know you'll be changing your dishwasher panel weekly.  We cannot have that.  Resist.  You'll thank me later.







Peel 'n stick chalkboard - world map
However, if you want to put one of these on your rec-room wall ... fill your boots!





Friday, February 8, 2013

Even More Clever Storage Solutions

Ever since I wrote about the in-countertop electrical outlet options available to designers, I have been thinking about other things that could be hidden beneath countertops and then "popped up" when needed.  Apparently so had the folks at S-Box.  In fact they've been thinking about it a lot and have come up with a series of well thought out, nicely engineered options for your kitchen.

By standardizing the unit size, the S-Box accessories can be easily integrated into the space behind drawers in most cabinets (check with your line of cabinetry first - some modification to drawer depth may be required.)  S-Box offers several options for things to hide: keys, knives, spices, televisions and once it receives approval from North American authorities, electrical power.

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What I really appreciate about the S-Box system is the way they've considered how the device will look when installed into your kitchen.  Personally I think the standard stainless steel option looks terrific.

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But if you have a beautiful piece of granite or butcher block for your work surface you may not want to the S-Box to "blemish" the surface.  S-Box allows you to hide the lid by using the countertop material as the lid creating an almost invisible installation.

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For complete information on the S-Box line of accessories, visit their website.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Design in Neon: The Las Vegas Neon Boneyard

Neon is one of the most enduring symbols of commercial design, and no city on earth features the flicker of electricity running through a tube of argon or neon quite like Las Vegas, Nevada.  Even though neon is not as promenant as it was in the 40's, 50's, and 60's you can still get your fix of mid-century neon in Las Vegas at the Neon Museum and Boneyard.

The Neon Museum "boneyard" is located near the Fremont District of Las Vegas and features hundreds of pieces of historic neon which are only available through a guided tour.  The tour is essential; there's so many pieces crammed into the boneyard that you would no doubt miss something without a guide.  Besides, the guides add so many pieces of information it really brings the boneyard to life.

The boneyard is amazingly well organized.  For a photographer, the place is a dream.  It's as if each piece has been set up for the perfect photograph; the framing, the lighting, even the colour composition is almost Disney-esque.  I lost track of how many pictures I took.  You can check out the best of the lot in the slideshow below.

In addition to the exhibits inside the boneyard, the building that houses the offices and reception area of the museum is a piece of Las Vegas history in itself.  It is the original lobby of the La Concha Hotel, and was donated to the Museum in 2005.  The building, designed by American architect Paul Rever Williams, was broken down into 8 pieces and then moved 6 miles from its original location on the Strip to be reassembled at the boneyard.

For your next trip to Las Vegas, take an afternoon and schedule a tour at the Neon Museum (tours are mandatory due to the nature of the exhibits) and make sure you book online.
Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

If the Museum doesn't fit into your schedule, there's another option if you'd like to get a feel for the neon signs from Las Vegas's past. The Downtown Gallery (Fremont Street at Las Vegas Blvd) and the Las Vegas Signs Project (located on Las Vegas Blvd. between Sahara and Washington Street) feature 15 electrified, restored signs installed as public art throughout the downtown area. These signs are available for viewing 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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