This quote resonated as we put together this issue, which is devoted to two very important rooms of the house—the kitchen and the bath. It’s within these spaces that we are our most ritualistic, connected to the actions and thoughts that define how we live.
Exploring the balance of aesthetics and utility is especially meaningful in the context of the domestic spaces that sustain us. These are rooms that must perform for us, and, in turn, allow us to perform the most basic functions of being alive. It is no wonder, then, that the kitchen and the bath are always at the top of the renovation punch list: They reign as objects of domestic fantasy. Preparing a meal or washing away the day in a clean, comforting, and safe space is a common dream in the modern world.
Good design implies longevity. Our homes need to offer flexibility and accommodation for a wide variety of users. Human bodies are not identical, though all need protection and comfort. Yet it’s perplexing why we do not demand a higher level of flexibility from our homes. Surely it’s advantageous to design a space with the years to come in mind, but so often we find that our homes can limit us when we need them most. Luckily there are myriad decisions, small and large, one can make in both the kitchen and the bath that are forward-thinking. We explore this notion with two infographics—one on the bathroom, the other on the kitchen—by canvassing design and building experts, we’ve assembled a visual checklist for universal design concepts.
Sustainability is always top of mind, and striving for water efficiency in the kitchen and bath is paramount. When purchasing appliances, installing systems, and outfitting these spaces, consider that the market has made great advances in water-saving technologies. Industry executives and high-design aficionados concur: Conservation is our collective duty. If you agree, demonstrate through the choices you make. Judging from the latest products we see emerging, there have never been so many options for doing the right thing, and doing it beautifully.
It’s amazing what can be accomplished by capitalizing on the resources that are closest to us. We offer small glimpses throughout the issue, from the choice of integrating a Chilean lava stone for an unforgettable sunken tub to the decision to leverage community artisans to create a trio of whimsical bathrooms in Vancouver. We also visit a couple in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where they’ve updated a midcentury kitchen with the right amount of sensitivity and ambition.
In the feature well, we consider the entire home, with a focus on the kitchens and baths as the main catalysts of each story. To us, the poetry of these homes is evident only through a series of experiences—it’s never one moment, one material, or one room. By visiting a trio of residences in Hamburg, London, and Brooklyn, we note a wide variety of architectural challenges, budgetary restrictions, and residential needs. Each home is successful and enviable by its own merits, each realized through a long, creative journey (and not without a little anxiety).
This is the most exciting and satisfying thing about delivering stories of good design at home—the idea that modern homes are not cookie-cutter, should never be predictable, and need not hew to any preconceived rules. Modern homes, like human bodies, are not one-size-fits-all. Design is a language that communicates what makes us at once the same and individual. It’s good to be reminded every now and again.
Amanda Dameron, Editor-in-Chief
firstname.lastname@example.org / @AmandaDameron