Book Marks

Bathrooms: Creative Planning for Beautiful Bathrooms
By Vinny Lee
Ryland, Peters & Small,
New York, NY

Vinny Lee’s bright, beautiful Bathrooms is an idea book for designers that comprehensively examines each aspect of bath design and how each element comes together to work for a personalized look. Lee lays down the principles of planning, design and installation, before tackling more in-depth, style-based topics such as designing for small rooms, selecting the right lighting, complementary fixtures, furniture and fittings, and the pros and cons of various materials for flooring, countertops, wall coverings and more.

With eye-popping photography by Chris Everard, Lee’s colorful and artfully designed tome is set apart from similar design books by the attention paid to niche designs and micro-details like the potential of a hastily-selected, mismatched fixture to change the way the entire room flows and is interpreted by the user. Lee gives excellent tips for creating an atmospheric bathroom personalized for the client. For instance, he suggests that a survey of the client’s favorite images, colors and themes might work better than asking the client to select a color from a color wheel. The array of answers gives the designer a clue into the client’s tastes which will allow for the selection of complementary colors and themes.

The author has a solid sense of the typical bath and its more-often-than-not diminuitive dimensions and lays out her ideas in such a way as to be realistic for any bath size.

On the nuts-and-bolts side of things, Lee lays out all of the current trends, from elaborate thermostatic shower control systems, to radiant underfloor heating, next generation, nearly-silent ventilation fans for the bath, and luxury items growing in popularity such as heated towel rods and fog-free mirrors.

Lee encourages bath design that incorporates not just bath products and accessories, but any product that fits the theme of the space, like specialty mirrors, cabinets and furniture. If clients have the space and know that in their powder room, someone might be sitting to wait for them, why not trot out a selection of chaises for lounging?

Lee uses a combination of the current, quirky and personal to inspire truly creative bath design.

Kitchens: A Design Sourebook
By Vinny Lee
Ryland, Peters & Small,
New York, NY

With a distinctly European flavor to the kitchens it showcases, Vinny Lee’s Kitchens is every bit the designer’s source book its title suggests.

Combined with light-filled, color-rich photographs by James Merrell, Lee’s examination of beautiful kitchens feels more casual than its bath counterpart, partly because the kitchens featured are elegantly casual, each displaying a kind of bright and breezy sophistication.

The same useful tips are peppered throughout; from devising a plan for your clients to list all of the functions their kitchen will serve, to sussing out the right color, décor and accessories which will best serve the clients’stemperament and personal style, Kitchens attempts to cover all the important points in design.

In the styles chapter, traditional, simple country, simple modern and new professional styles are each tailored to fit today’s kitchen dimensions, ideas on how to mix in or disguise today’s appliances – a bright, shiny Sub-Zero hidden behind custom cabinetry panels to fit the décor and mood of a simple country kitchen theme, for example.

Equipping a kitchen is more complicated than equipping a bathroom, and lighting, surfaces, plumbing, appliances, accessories, cabinetry, furniture and display spaces are all detailed in the third chapter. Attention is paid to current trends such as dishwasher and microwave drawers, various sink varieties, and cabinetry that meets the needs of each client, like accessible drawers and lowered wall cabinets, and how these disparate elements can come together to form, or adhere to any style a designer can think up.

“Do not skimp on a ventilation unit,” writes Lee. The importance of ventilated air in a kitchen, she goes on to say, is important not just for filtering out smells and steam, but also for temperature regulation, something necessary if your client is doing any kind of entertaining in their new space.

On the topic of decoration, the author delves into a quick but thorough color lesson on how a color can visually and conceptually change a space.

Flooring is the last topic covered, the pros and cons of each material discussed at length. The environmental impact of material choices like hardwoods versus softwoods is noted, as is the need to seal surfaces in kitchens to prevent the growth of mold.

The book concludes with a product source guide for every category noted.