A luxury design experience comes knocking every so often, and although you may find yourself so busy with your everyday design practice, the unending needs of clients and life in general, you have to take the time to explore these new opportunities. This was the case this past winter. My Kitchen Design Network partner Lori Gilder and I were asked to be a part the 2015 Design Panel for DXV, the luxury kitchen and bath division of the tried and true brand American Standard.
There was an interesting twist for this years team of 6 designers. We were asked to design two kitchen design/lifestyle vignettes with their product and interpret the story through our eyes and through our vignettes.
We were tasked with two kitchen designs. The other designers completed bathroom designs.
Step into our design and experience our theatrical version of Tita’s modern day kitchen in “Like Water for Chocolate”
Veronika Miller, CEO of Modenus, is the visionary behind this newly minted collaboration ( CIRCA 2014) between select designers and luxury brands. She selects a handful of designers, , charges them with their task and timeline to sketch concepts , submit plans and work with the design/build teams to build and bring our imaginations to life.
The opportunity was incredible. It left us literally speechless on the final day of our photo shoot.
I’m thankful and I feel lucky and enriched as a designer to be able to work with such a talented group of people along the way who took our ideas and made them into reality.
“Like Water For Chocolate” is a a story set around a traditional Mexican family at the turn of the century .
It’s a story of forbidden love, passion, cultural traditions, food and family. The entire story unfolds at the kitchen table and the movie, almost in it’s entirety revolves around the kitchen table, the food and cooking.
Ever-present is the power of food. Tita’s passion is transferred to loved ones through her food.
Our two designs, the inside kitchen and the outdoor wedding, literally became a modern fantasy interpretation of the main character and the materials a reflection of her emotions and passion.
Below are the indoor kitchen and outdoor wedding scene sketches sent to DXV to them to convey our design concepts.
As with our “real life” projects, the colorized rendering was done once we made our final selections for all the materials. Because this was a modern interpretation of another place in time, it was important that our materials reflect the past and the present. Along the way while procuring materials, (yes …even we have budgets) slight alterations were made to the final design to accommodate design dilemmas (yes… we have those too) but the finished design was almost identical to our original conceptual design vision.
The team of people that work with Veronika Miller at the Earl Kendall Studio in Minnesota were amazing.
They worked their magic to make our material wish list a reality. We had food stylists, builders, set designers and an onsite chef who fed us daily, talented prop stylists, photographers and editors who made the story come to life.
This luxury design experience was a career milestone and one I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of.
The indoor kitchen was all about the past and the present. We wanted to incorporate a mix of modern and traditional materials throughout and present some traditional materials in nontraditional applications.
For the indoor kitchen we selected the Pop Rectangle Vessel Sink from their Golden Era Collection with the Isle Pull Down Kitchen Faucet from DXV’s Modern Collection.
Above in the left corner of the kitchen is the Miele 24″ Gas Cooktop, perfect for any tiny home kitchen, city dweller or as a modular addition to a large kitchen. The addition of small appliances allows you to incorporate dual cooking areas for diverse cooking styles and needs. Above the cooktop is DXV’s Contemporary Pot Filler with clean modern lines.
When designing with architectural pieces like this, the point is not that any single piece jumps out at you but that there’s harmony and balance created between all materials. This story exuded passion and we knew we wanted a fiery tiled wall to convey that. It feels warm and sensual and had the reflective qualities we wanted. The tile found at Filmore Clark, an exclusive tile shop in the tony design district of West Hollywood, CA. A 4 x 4 beveled bronze glazed tile from Pratt and Larson was the piece de resistance.
The black and white cement floor tile is from artisan tile maker Sabine Hill. Check out their website. Its a homeowners dream with a really fun interactive rendering tool that allows you to pick your pattern and try out many color combinations to consider in your design. It’s a favorite of mine. I can’t wait to use it in another project.
The second vignette is an reinterpretation of the wedding scene which we found moving, funny, sad, sultry and romantic.
At a favorite L.A. importer we discovered these unique copper vessels, already old with perfect patina that were just calling our names and we were sure they could become operational outdoor fountains like you see on many old world homes.
These fountains fed the DXVs Hillside 20″ Apron sink hung on the exterior stone wall fed by the Percy Tub Spout to transfer the water from the sinks to the lower fountain vessels using multiple Lyndon tub spouts.
There’s nothing quite like the tranquility provided by running water in a garden.
Thanks to Lori Gilder, my Kitchen Design Network partner for providing her own California kitchen that fed us for days and her kitchen table where we tirelessly forged through the design and details of these two vignettes for DXV.
It turned out to be a design experience filled with new friends and an opportunity to work with some of the nicest and most creative people in the industry.
The magnificent and creative bathroom displays were created by fellow designer colleagues Tami Ramsey and Krista Nye Schwartz of Cloth and Kind for Water for Elephants, Justin Shaulis for a Room with A View, Lisa Mende for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Regina Sturrock for Anna Karenina . Please check out their beautiful work.
Your time here is so appreciated.