Choices Among the Design Styles

Times Staff Writer

Traditional or contemporary?

You could go either way these days in achieving a certain style for your kitchen or home and still be in mode. If you're biased towards contemporary or high tech or favor mixing new with the old, consider some of these kitchen-related items that somewhat express a modern statement.

"Where's the hood?"is what you might ask at first glance toward a range ventilated by the Broan Silhouette hood. In contrast to the prominent visibility of an old-fashioned copper or tile hood, all you see out of this new "hood in hiding" from Broan Manufacturing Co. is a black or white metal strip below the kitchen cabinet that's above the stove.

Sleek and Innovative

A sleek drawer or door made of clear glass glides out smoothly, activating the blower and the 24-inch fluorescent light for bright cooktop illumination. Equipped with a solid-state speed control with memory for automatic setting, the hidden blower features a high capacity (300 cubic feet per minute), dual centrifugal system that enables powerful but low-noise ventilation. One innovative feature is Broan's exclusive heat sentry, which automatically turns the blower to high speed when excess cooking heat is detected.

The Broan Silhouette is available in white (from $477) or black (from $425), in 30- and 36-inch sizes. Easy to clean, the unit comes with a recessed foam filter that is washable.

Would you pay $20 for a small kitchen timer? Some people would for a spot object that promises to be out of the ordinary or makes a fashion statement. Designed and manufactured in Venice, Italy, It's Time timers (from $20 to $25) from the Markuse Corp. make little conversation pieces. No, they are not architecturally designed nor do they have electronic controls or gold plating. In fact, these high-tech looking timers still function like the old timers that have to be turned to 60 minutes before setting to the desired time.

The three fun designs consist of the Drinn timer, which looks like the nose of a space shuttle, in black, white or silver; the Funnytime 105 timer, designed in three concentric circles that combine several primary colors or plain black or white, and the Funnytime 70 timer in three condensed rings, also in various color selection.

Riki Kane hit the right target with her highly polished, stainless steel cocktail shaker called the Bullet. She not only introduced a recognizable modernistic, Art Deco shape but rediscovered the consumer need for a bar shaker. (Are we going back to the Cole Porter era when these shakers were big?)

President of Metrokane Corp. in New York, Kane got the tip from a housewares buyer in Bloomingdale's that there definitely is a trend toward martini drinking. "He was getting a lot of calls for cocktail shakers," she related, "and there wasn't a good-looking one in the market. And naturally, as soon as we introduced the shaker, every buyer said 'Yeah, we had calls for that.' "

Designed by Kane's husband, Bob Larimer, who is also marketing director for the company, the Bullet is a fine metal sculpture that comes either in 18-karat gold plating over hand polished stainless steel ($65), or in 100% hand-polished stainless ($45). Under the lid is a cover for shaking and an ice strainer for pouring. The silver and gold Bullets are going fast, according to Kane, who has already shipped 12,000 pieces here and abroad since last May.

In the case of this big salad bowl, passing it for an art object is not unlikely. But made of plastic? New York jewelry designer Kirsten Hawthorne's hand-made 12-inch wide bowl (it's her popcorn bowl too, she says) is molded from Plexiglas material. Whimsical with two unevenly shaped flat triangular pieces "nailed" on the rim for handles, the tilt-a-bowl sits on a black rubber ring base; when illuminated, it's frosty green tone almost resembles a Lalique glass.

'Water-Washed' Look

A reflection of its maker's background in photography and painting, the cool sea-green Hawthorne Bowl ($180) is intentionally scratched and brushed so it looks like it's "water-washed from the lost city of Atlantis," as the artist described. To go with the bowl, which also comes in charcoal black, is a pair of salad fork and spoon ($80) that's equally frivolous with its two-toning of green and charcoal black and a play of geometric pieces. Hawthorne also makes similarly styled coasters, which were created before the bowl.

Versatile and lightweight, the bowl is also a fruit bowl, a bread and rolls bowl, or a jewel bowl, a towel bowl, a cotton bowl, a flower bowl and so on. "It plays with you and makes you think," Hawthorne said, "people ask, is this a bowl?--it's a great hat." Better yet, just leave it alone as an art object because Hawthorne (who finds the sandblasted piece too expensive to make in her own studio) claims, "relatively speaking it's a limited edition."

The Broan Silhouette Range Hood is available at Familian Pipe and Supply, A-1 Appliances (Long Beach), Kitchen Queen (Oxnard).

The It's Time timers are available at Mrs. Gooch's, Montana Mercantile and L.A. Culinary (Thousand Oaks).

The Kirsten Hawthorne Salad Bowl and servers are available at Tesoro's and Zero Minus Plus--Fred Segal (Santa Monica).

The Bullet Cocktail Shaker is available at Geary's (Beverly Hills), Lawry's Foods (Los Angeles).

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