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 partner at the Kitchen Design Network and I were asked to be a part the 2015 Design Panel for DXV, the luxury kitchen and bath division of American Standard.
There was an interesting twist for this years team of designers. In addition to incorporating their beautiful products in to our designs, we had to choose a classic piece of literature and design two independent vignettes around the story. We were tasked with two kitchen designs and all the other designers completed bathroom designs.
Below are the indoor and outdoor kitchens inspired by our chosen story, “Like Water for Chocolate” Enjoy!
Here’s the thing, when Veronika Miller, CEO of Modenus, the visionary behind the designer/brand collaboration calls to ask you to join a top secret design project with a major international brand you listen and then you say yes.
Even if it’s balls to the wall busy and a “where on earth will we find the time” kind of moment, you do it.
This opportunity left me speechless on the final day of our shoot, thankful for such an amazing opportunity and enriched as a designer to be able to work with incredibly talented 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 in the Spanish Revolution in the early 1920’s. 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 and how the main character Tita’s passion is transferred to loved ones through food and cooking. Our two designs, the inside kitchen and the outdoor area for the wedding, literally became a modern version of the main character and the materials a reflection of her passion, tears, romance and fantasy.
Below are the indoor kitchen and outdoor wedding scene sketches we sent 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 and vision. The team of people that work with Veronika Miller worked their magic to make our material wish list a reality. There was an amazing team of people from food stylists, builders, set designers, onsite chef who fed us daily, talented prop stylists, photographers and editors from the Earl Kendall Studios in Minneapolis, this luxury design experience was a career milestone and one I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of.
For the indoor kitchen the blend of past and present meant we wanted to incorporate a mix of modern and traditional materials throughout. We presented some traditional pieces designed 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 small kitchen or as a modular addition to a large kitchen that has the space. It allows you to incorporate dual cooking areas for diverse cooking needs. Above the cooktop we used DXV’s Contemporary Pot Filler with beautiful 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 like a heat seeking missile and we knew we wanted a tile wall to convey that and we knew just the right place to find it. Filmore Clark is an exclusive tile shop in the tony design district of West Hollywood, CA. We chose a 4 x 4 beveled bronze glazed tile from Pratt and Larson.
I think you’ll agree it’s pretty hot as tiles go. The black and white cement floor tile is from artisan tile maker Sabine Hill. Check out their website because they have a really fun interactive rendering tool that allows you to pick your pattern and try out many color combinations. It’s a favorite of mine. I can’t wait to use it in another project.
For the second vignette we chose to reinterpret the wedding scene which we found moving, funny, sad, sultry and romantic all at the same time. At a favorite L.A. importer we discovered some unique fountains, already old with perfect patina that were just calling our names and thats when we knew we wanted operational outdoor fountains like you see on many old world homes. We used DXVs Hillside 20″ Apron sinks as the initial vessel hung on the exterior stone wall fed by the Percy Tub Spout to transfer the water from the sink to the lower fountain vessels using the Lyndon tub spout.
DXV Hillside 20 ” Apron sink with the Percy Tub Spout at the top and the Lyndon Tub Spout on the lower fountains.
There’s nothing quite like the tranquility provided by running water in a garden, don’t you think?
Thanks to Lori Gilder, my partner in crime at the Kitchen Design Network for providing her own California kitchen that fed us for days and her kitchen table that 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.
In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing the bathroom displays from fellow designers 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 that also created some amazing designs I think you’ll want to see.Here’s to a fabulous weekend to all. Thanks for stopping in to share this with me.