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Zephyr, refining the art of the cooker hood #BlogTourCali

November 20, 2014

The humble cooker hood has a bad deal, it’s usually overlooked as an essential element of kitchen design. A standard stainless steel chimney is then specified or if you don’t want to see it maybe a hidden hood in a cupboard. An even worse crime is to just dismiss the requirement stating your room is large enough to cope without it or you will just open a window. To create a clean healthy kitchen good extraction is essential. As we include kitchen design in our services at APD Interiors it was really interesting to spend one of my evenings on BlogTourCali with sponsor Zephyr. At their spectacular showroom in San Francisco they hosted a dinner for us and explained their range.

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In business since 1997, Zephyr have transformed the humble cooker hood into a beautiful piece of sculpture. One of my favourite collections is Arc, designed by Robert Brunner. With simple lean lines these hoods would fit perfectly into many European style kitchens.

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My favourite hood in the Arc range is the Horizon wall hood. Given Robert Brunner worked for many years at Apple this influence can clearly been seen in this design. The glass front sweeps up and rests around 30 cm from the wall. Available in either white, black or red glass the discrete controls on the front panel finishes the minimal style.

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In the last few years Zephyr have worked closely with Fu-Tung Cheng to design a range of hoods which resonate with his design ethic. Fu-Tung is known for the extensive use of concrete in the homes he has designed, and his first project many years ago was his own kitchen. His Trapeze hood is the first island hood Zephyr have manufactured. With very simple supports to the ceiling the hood does not crowd the visual space above an island, while still providing great extraction rates.

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Head over to the Zephyr website to read more about their range and if you find yourself in San Francisco do visit their showroom. Thanks Zephyr for sponsoring BlogTourCali, it was great to learn about your amazing hoods.

DXV, setting the way for a new American Standard #BlogTourCali

November 19, 2014

As I design and specify many bathrooms I’m always interested in viewing new product ranges. Fixtures and fittings often go through many life cycles and we’ve recently seen products in an Art Deco style reintroduced by some suppliers. Also brass and bronze taps have started to appear in bathrooms again.

One of the BlogTourCali sponsors this year was DXV, a new brand that was launched earlier this year by American Standard. The brand celebrates and represents the 15 decades that American Standard has been in business. In many homes across the USA you will find their products, they are known for good and long lasting quality. Many people still have their toilets that are over 30 years ago! I discovered this on our first #BlogTourCali dinner at Petit Ermitage, a rooftop restaurant in Hollywood, which DVX sponsored. I seemed to be the only person without American Standard in my bathroom!

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The morning after the welcome dinner we visited their stand at the WestEdge Design Fair. All of the products have been designed and launched within the last 12 months and the product lines currently numbers around 70. They fall broadly into 4 movements – Classic (1880 – 1920), Golden Era (1920 – 1950), Modern (1950 – 1990), and Contemporary (1990 – today).

The Contemporary range of products is my favourite, and features fittings that would easily meet the brief for the European style of bathrooms we design for clients. The Lyndon bathtub has very clean simple lines and makes a beautiful statement piece. With an internal depth of 44cm it certainly lives up to its name of ‘soaking tub’.

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Another fitting from the Lyndon range I love is the wall mounted sink. The level of design specification seen on this piece sets it apart from many ordinary sinks. In particular the ceramic drain cap is a brilliant idea. It hides the chrome plug hole and adds a layer of high end detail.

Probably the most fascinating product I saw at WestEdge was the DXV SpaLet toilet – who knew a toilet could do so much? No more worrying about the toilet seat been left up, the seat on this toilet raises itself. It can even work out if a man or woman is using it! The toilet also features a soft mood light so you don’t have to switch on your bathroom light in the night. No need for toilet paper either as the toilet washes and dries you! Also how about a heated seat for those chilly winter nights? Finally flushing is now a thing of the past, the toilet selects the right flush needed therefore consuming water. This is definitely a first class toilet!

Thank you for sponsoring BlogTourCali DXV. I may not have an American Standard toilet at home but I want one now! Head over to their website to learn more about their full range.

The joys of Steam #BlogTourCali

November 12, 2014

For a very long time I have appreciated of the joys of taking a steam bath. From regular trips to the magnificent Porchester Spa in London to the delights of Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall in Helsinki I understand how good for your health steam can be. So when BlogTourCali sponsor Mr Steam added a trip to a spa onto our itinerary I was the first person off our tour bus that day!

The gorgeous Bacara Resort & Spa is located in Santa Barbara and after a short trip up the highway from Los Angeles we arrived around lunchtime for some ‘activity’ – yes, they made us work for our spa! I ploughed up and down their pool for 30 minutes while others took a yoga class by the ocean, Southern California living at it’s best I think. We then all retired to the Spa area where we enjoyed the steam and sauna.

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As the lovely Martha from Mr Steam had explained earlier there are over 40 ways that Steam can improve your life. Some examples from the list include Cleanse the skin; Helps with detoxification; Boosts metabolism and Increases circulation. After a couple of hours in the Spa I was more than willing to believe these and all the other suggested benefits. As we ate lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean it was a moment of perfection – completely appropriate as BlogTourCali was all about exploring Wellness and a Well-Designed Life.

Many homes in the US are now considering the installation of a steam unit. This reminds me of my many trips to Finland where saunas are installed in homes and the family takes a sauna together. It is a very relaxing way to interact with your family members!

At Mr Steam they have developed the iSteam control panel for use in your own steam facility. Seen below it allows you to control your steam experience via an intuitive interface – and there is even an app for your phone! Designed by renowned Industrial designer David Farrage the control sits seamlessly into any bathroom design – you can even head over to the Mr Steam website and start building your own virtual spa.

More and more people are understanding the joys of adding steam into their daily lifestyle. Always wanting to share the love of steam the clever people at Mr Steam have recently introduced a range of products, TALA, to allow you to enhance your experience. We all enjoyed a face mask with Moroccan mud and I’m not sure if I looked younger but I certainly felt it! The full range of TALA products can be seen on the website.

Thank you Mr Steam for supporting BlogTourCali. I think we all appreciated the joy of steam just a little bit more after you explained all the health benefits to it. Now all I need to work out is how to squeeze one of your units into a London bathroom??

Room of the Week #BlogTourCali remembered

November 3, 2014

Just over a week ago I returned from BlogTourCali so this week I have chosen a Californian living room as our Room of the Week. I really embraced and enjoyed the lifestyle in California. Outdoor living in eternal sunshine is pretty amazing and the homes are often designed to make the most of the exterior views. The huge picture window in this room allows the majestic sculptural qualities of the Aleppo Pine tree to be appreciated.

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This room features polished concrete floors that help to make the most of the natural light. While in San Francisco I spent an amazing evening with the architect Fu Tung Cheng who explained about his experience building with concrete. The dinner was held in the showroom of Zephyr, who are a BlogTourCali sponsor. With a broad range of cooker hoods to suit your kitchen style I rather fell for design of the Horizon hood. This range was designed by Robert Brunner, who was Director of Industrial Design at Apple Computers … ah, that’s why I like the styling!

Through his association with Zephyr Fu Tung Cheng has designed his own range of hoods for the company. For a large island the Trapeze hood would certain add a signature style to any kitchen. So often island hoods become large and cumbersome, but this one has been designed to add a stylish element to any room.

Join me through this week as we explore more of my #BlogTourCali experiences. The tour was arranged by Modenus, and the other sponsors of our design trip through California are Miele, Mr Steam and DXV. I’ll be featuring them, and the events they organised for us throughout this week. So if household appliances, bathroom fittings or the enjoyment of steam are your thing be sure to sign up to receive updates from our blog.

This room was originally featured in the extensive galleries of House to Home. Take a look over at their website for room inspiration, and be sure to check back here every week to find which one of the room has been showcased.

Next stop San Francisco #BlogTourCali

October 18, 2014

We are now a few days into BlogTourCali and have been immersed in a design and wellness adventure and thoroughly spoilt by Modenus and the sponsors. Our trip to the Bacara Resort and Spa organised by tour sponsor Mr Steam was pretty amazing, and emphasised the point that exercise and looking after yourself is so important.

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Today we are continuing our roadtrip up the Pacific Coast Highway after an overnight stay in Cambria. As someone who is happiest when I’m by the beach I’m enjoying the inspiration a rugged coastline always gives me.

We stopped off for dinner at the Caliza Winery in Paso Robles last night. Dinner under the stars was amazing, the quality of the wine matched only by the fantastic menu of local food. The Harvest supper was attended by 80 people, and one of my most magical BlogTour experiences ever.

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As always the sponsors have been so very generous on our tour. Dinner on our first night, at a rooftop restaurant in Hollywood no less, was sponsored by DXV, a new brand launched by American Standard. Their range features bathroom and kitchen products in styles from very classic to ultra contemporary.

Another sponsor for this tour is WestEdge Design. After spending a day at their show I now have a mountain of information to pour over and so much inspirations for client interior design projects when I am back in London.

Tonight we will be at the end of our roadtrip and arrive at our hotel in San Francisco. You can’t but help to love this city, I first visited over 20 years ago and always have fun on my visits. We will be enjoying a dinner with sponsor Zephyr here with the legendary architect Fu Tung Cheng. Known in part for his work with concrete it will be really interesting to learn more about his collaboration with Zephyr. The bold home below was design by Fu Tung in Mammoth Lake, and has an interior that features materials including concrete, stainless steel, zinc and maple.

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On Sunday, our final day on the tour, we will be exploring San Francisco on a design tour lead by a local interior designer Courtney Lake. With an amazing architectural history and a naturally beautiful landscape I’m looking forward to learning secrets from a local and discovering the hidden SF!

Our farewell dinner will be hosted by another tour sponsor Miele in their San Francisco showroom. As leaders of technology in the kitchen I’m know the Mixology Class will be a highlight of the tour. Let’s hope they pop a steam oven into a goodie bag, I’ve specified this for clients and its healthy cooking at it’s best.

I’ll be spending a few extra days in San Francisco after the tour ends before flying home to pick up on client design projects. You can follow me on twitter or Instagram throughout #BlogTourCali and beyond as I discover and share all the California design scene has to offer.

Hello California #BlogTourCali

October 10, 2014

Well I can think of worst ways to spend your birthday, today I will be packing to leave tomorrow for BlogTourCali run by Modenus. So it will be goodbye wet and windy London and hello to California sunshine. I was so delighted to be asked by Modenus to join the roadtrip through California over 5 days next week which starts in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Prior to the tour starting I’m heading to Palm Springs tomorrow for a few days rest and relaxation. It just happens to be Moderism Week there so this weekend I will be able to explore some of the architecture of the city. The show aims to celebrate the appreciation of mid-century architecture, which is certainly on show in abundance in Palm Springs. High on a hillside in the Coachella Valley the house below was designed by John Lautner and owned for many years by the late Bob Hope. With architecture tours and open houses Moderism Week is a great start to my California adventure.

Bob Hope

Modenus has been running Blog Tours since the first group of design bloggers arrived in London for the Design Festival back in September 2011. I have previously attended a Blog Tour over to New York and made life long friends with other bloggers while exploring the design of the city. This tour is starting in Los Angeles and finishes in San Francisco so we have the added excitement of a ROADTRIP!

A tour like this wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the sponsors. This time our sponsors are Mr Steam, Zephyr, Miele, DXV and WestEdge Design. I’m really looking forward to getting to know our sponsors as we travel on our roadtrip with them.

After settling into Los Angeles, and the obligatory roof top Hollywood dinner, we will enjoy a brunch the following morning with Miele. A long-term sponsor of Blog Tour they are my supplier of choice for kitchen appliances so it’s always great to hear about their new products.

Next stop will be to the WestEdge Design Fair, which launched last year. Bringing together the best of West Coast and International design I’ll look forward to walking the show and getting inspiration for design projects back home. I’m really excited to see exhibitor Graypants at the show, I recently specified their products for a project in London.

After partying in the evening at the Fair it will be an early rise as we start our trip up the Pacific Coast Highway. This tour has a strong focus on understanding about how design can help wellness so it’s appropriate our first stop is at the Bacara Resort and Spa. Here we will be enjoying a class of yoga and exploring the fabulous spa facilities.

After the morning at the spa we will be continuing our journey north for an overnight stay in beautiful Cambria. The evening will be spent exploring the Caliza Winery in Paso Robles. With 20 acres of land we will be tasting and discovering the delights of California produced wine.

Come back next week and I will share the rest of our amazing BlogTourCali adventure. You can also follow me on twitter or Instagram as we travel through California.

Room of the Week

October 6, 2014

I’m currently working on a large luxury bathroom for a project in Highgate. We are creating a signature bathroom for the house and the client has asked for a marble like finish but with little maintenance. The look of bookmarked marble as shown below is beautiful, but it can also be prohibitively expensive so I need to find an alternate material that can give me the same look.

While at Decorex recently I discovered the latest porcelain tiles from Stone and Ceramic Warehouse that we are now considering using on the project. Generally I don’t like ‘faux’ products as so many of them are often poor quality – who wants to use a tile with a bad photocopy on it? So I was delighted to see these new marble effect porcelain tiles on the Stone and Ceramic Warehouse display and love the quality and look of them.

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The samples have arrived on my desk this morning and I couldn’t be more happy with them. The Duomo white tiles shown in the parquet pattern are my personal favourite and I can’t wait to specify them for clients. This tile is also available in 60x60cm and 60x120cm formats. You can find more information on this stone, and their full range of marble effect porcelain tiles on the Stone and Ceramic Warehouse website.

If limestone is more your style the company also do a reconstituted limestone which allows you to enjoy the look of limestone with minimum maintenance. I originally used this product on one of my own projects but have recently used it for a client’s bathroom. Available in both a cream colour and a purer white I can really recommend this product.

This room was originally featured in the extensive galleries of House to Home. Take a look over at their website for room inspiration, and be sure to check back here every week to find which one of the rooms has been showcased.

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