13 March 2011

I apologize to the world for my design crimes

Over the course of my career as an active kitchen and bath designer, I designed more master baths that looked like this than I care to admit. I always hated these cookie-cutter exercises in more is more, but clients wanted them and they were happy with the finished projects. No harm done, right?


Wrong. A little part of me died every time I set out to design one of these things. Look at it. It's utterly devoid of character or personality. It's as if it were designed for a future listing agent instead being designed for the person who paid for it and uses it every day. In fact, it was designed for a resale might happen in some time in the future. How is that any way to live or to make your house a home?

It's beyond ironic that as the sun was setting on my career as a retail designer, I ended up at two major trade shows in Europe that showed me another way to look at bath design. Another show over there I'd love to see  starts this week in Frankfurt. That show is ISH and it's the holy of holies of the bath world.

In advance of ISH, German manufacturer Duravit released the Onto series by designer Matteo Thun. Onto is everything the bath above is not.




Duravit's Onto is beautifully designed and unique. It's made to last and it thumbs its nose at that future listing agent. It has a few other things going for it that aren't so apparent. It uses fewer resources, look great in a smaller room and it provides adequate storage. I'm calling it adequate storage for a reason.

I used to think that the world's ills could be solved by providing people with more storage. But the more I think about it the more that I see that providing more storage only encourages people to fill that storage with more stuff. Now I think the answer isn't to find more storage, it's to accumulate less crap. Adequate storage means enough space to put away a reasonable amount of stuff. Keep it coming Duravit.

28 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more, at least at Smallbone where I have been designing kitchens and baths for years now they also have come up with 2 gorgeous collections the Alchemy and the Shagreen the challenge of convincing the owners to design for themselves still lies!
    Dionne Trifiro

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  2. Stunning vanity- Can't stop looking at it.

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  3. Yup! The answer is never more storage. It is BUY LESS CRAP. Unless we're talking books. Then, build shelves on every wall and buy as many as you can mortgage the house for. :-)

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  4. a modern convert, the best. that is a stunning vanity. just bring me my daily crap on a trolley. a gorgeous sleek minimalist one. Dog Rufus got it right, I'd gladly trade storage for beauty. cindy @urbanverse

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  5. Duravit has some beautiful stuff!

    I think anyone who has worked in retail feels the same way. If I had a euro for every over-furnished and boring kitchen solution I've made (by request, of course..) I would be a rich man.

    It's so true, DogWalkBlog: "Don't get more storage - BUY LESS CRAP"

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  6. I am in awe of this bath collection. In awe. Thanks for agreeing with me gang.

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  7. let me guess, they walk in and say "We want to re-do our bathroom, and we're thinking of raised panel cherry cabinets" and your heart sinks.People will kill you with their unwillingness to take chances.

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  8. Actually, they say "I want a bathroom that looks like my sister's, my neighbor's, my boss's." Ugh.

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  9. I'm looking at the set-up in the first photo and trying to do a mental inventory of what it would take to fill all that cabinetry. Craziness.

    On a related note, our master bedroom has 5 closets including two walk-ins. I consulted with a handyman to remove the largest because we just don't need that much storage. He managed to scare me into keeping it for "resale value."

    *sigh*

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  10. Resale value is a false idol.

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  11. Hi Paul - this Duravit line is beautiful and I completely agree with your rationale of more storage = more crap. I'm trying to reduce it myself. The entire BRIZO design and product teams are going to ISH this week so stay tuned for some brilliant products in the near future.
    Thanks for sharing this post!
    Jai

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  12. Wait a minute, you're going to ISH? That's fantastic! Keep me posted on all the wonders you see.

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  13. I love Duravit, but then again, it's a high-quality manufacturer. You get what you pay for, no?

    I've never been so aware that our industry is like that scene in "The Devil wears Prada" as I have the past couple of years - you know, where the Meryl Streep character talks about the flow of high-concept ideas down to mass production.

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  14. I agree Paul. Beautiful simplicity!!!! -Brenda-

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  15. You make a great point. Why do so many homeowners design renovations around what someone else might want to buy 10 years from now? You are the one who has to look at it day in and day out. Let it make you happy.

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  16. Not a big fan of cookie cutter design builder designs that everyone on the block has but I do think there's more functionality in the first photo. The modern ones are a vast, impractical waste of space. I don't see a whole lot of convenient utilitarian design present. They look cold and austere to me, not the kind of character I look for in a home. Maybe refreshing for a short stay at a spa resort.

    I will envy and take all that storage any day, living in a small home.

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  17. "You are the one who has to look at it day in and day out. Let it make you happy."

    A bathroom like the first makes many people very happy! It also translates to home value in many a market. So if you like them and need the real estate investment, a bathroom like that will sell faster and add more investment dollars to the home than the highly individual spare space that's void of its day to day functionality.

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  18. Why not just have less crap?

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  19. Um, cause it's not ; )

    You can never have too much storage.

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  20. Maybe you have too much crap. Life's a lot easier when you don't have 20 towels, believe me.

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  21. I have two towels.

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  22. So if you only have two towels, why is storage such a problem?

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  23. Personally, I live in a small house. I just installed a lot of cabinets in the bath so I can store all sorts of things like the humidifier, vaporizer, linens, a place for bulk stock up items like kleenex, paper towels, toilet paper, even the extra tile for the bathroom is in there beyond grooming supplies. Love the look of the cabinetry itself even if it were not fully used.

    Outside of the bathroom, I love the look of built-ins and to feel a room around me. Storage anywhere possible for day to day function, along with collections, hobby supplies, work stuff, lots of books and magazines. I have a lot of interests.

    No I don't want to get rid of my things that interest me and I like to conveniently stock up on supplies so as not to run out of things quickly.

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  24. Our consumerist economy thanks you. Since no one make things like TVs or cars here anymore, our economy is buoyed by buying stuff in bulk. Accumulating crap is a deal with the devil.

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  25. Excuse me but I don't appreciate your attitude and calling my interests and the way I like to do things or other peoples houses vulgar names just because you like or prefer to live differently. I don't see your style as functional moreless better.

    Talk to yourself. We're not living in the military. You live on another planet.

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  26. Leaving anonymous comments is a cowardly act.

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Talk to me!

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