The dog days of summer are upon us and we can all use a little pick-me-up. You and I can take off to the spa, but the house could often use a little TLC as well. It doesn’t have to be a big thing — a fresh coat of paint, a new coffee table, new tableware. Whatever the case, it’s not necessary to wait until the New Year for new toys.
The time has come for sipping mint juleps, lemonade and other fruity beverages (umbrella optional). It’s also barbeque season, which means rubbing some rosemary on the chicken to grill. Assuming you can find nice rosemary. With the weather being unusually wet two summers running (so far), that herb garden on the terrace or on the windowsill could be looking rather wan. Well, kiss that hit and miss spice rack goodbye. The new under-counter Herb Garden, by Electrolux, makes growing fresh herbs a year ’round affair. The still conceptual Herb Garden is hydroponic, and so it’s soil-free, making mess a non-issue. The Garden has two trays that grows from seeds but also accommodates pre-grown plants. No self-respecting cook would be without their fresh basil, parsley, sage, mint or any other spice to perfectly finish a dish and now they don’t have to be. The Herb Garden made its debut at EuroCucina in Milan this past April, so it hasn’t arrived in Hong Kong yet. Stay tuned.
Staying in the kitchen, if it’s time to jazz up the counter or you simply have dull or leaky faucets and want new ones, you may want to consider Dornbracht’s Cyprum for its Tara, Tara Classic and 360-degree motion Pivot fixtures. While gold can be associated with chintz and OTT interiors, it’s also one of the most “in” metals in design these days. The Cyprum finish is galvanised 18-karat rose gold and copper and it adds a warm tone to most contemporary kitchens, assuming you don’t have too much already going on in there. It’s an ideal way to add some colour to industrial-style kitchens without losing the aesthetic, and changing the hardware is one of the easiest ways to freshen up the kitchen.
Next up is the new Inissia by Nespresso. A lot of us want a nice jolt of espresso to start the day but have neither the time nor the early morning hand-eye co-ordination to crack out the Italian moka pot. Often it’s a matter of space. Nespresso has made a name for itself by being ultra-efficient, easy to use and nearly foolproof — but some of its machines are too big for many of our tiny kitchens. That’s been remedied with the Inissia. The ultra compact model sticks to the basics; there’s no milk frothing function on this machine but it does have Nespresso’s signature 25-second heat up time, 19-bar pressure extraction system and automatic pre-programmed options. Available in black, red and sky blue, a separate Aeroccino, for milk frothing if you insist on cappuccino, is indeed available.
Finally, for Snowball or Fido is the La Maison Noire pet house by Revozport. The medium-sized (no Labradors, please) dual indoor-outdoor glorified pet house is constructed from carbon composite fibre and reinforced plastic (materials that reduce thermal conductivity), and is designed to maximise natural light and circulation. At a time when far more decadent pet toys are available, the Maison doesn’t seem all that odd. And in a city where many pets, primarily dogs, are crammed into crates and cages indoors, Fido may as well have a nice crash pad. The Maison is available in customised Pantone colours and your pet’s name can be engraved on the house. You have to really adore them though: La Maison Noire runs a whopping $28,000. But at least it’s not wood that the cat could shred to bits.