December 16, 2018

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T Suggests: Abstract Gnomes, Japanese Breads and More

T Suggests: Abstract Gnomes, Japanese Breads and More
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Things Editors Like

A roundup of things T editors — and a few contributors — are excited about in a given week.

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A trio of colorful steel gnomes from New Affiliates.CreditZach Helper

Not Your Garden-Variety Gnome

The word “gnome” paints a pretty exact mental image — always a stubby and bearded fellow wearing a droopy red hat — but not for fans of the New York-based design practice New Affiliates. The studio’s co-founders Ivi Diamantopoulou and Jaffer Kolb have put their own spin on the traditional garden lurker by creating a line of abstract, steel gnomes. They come brightly colored in one of three shapes (there’s Gnome Without Hat, Gnome With Hole and Gnome Sleeping) and are “quasi-functional”; each is able to hold small objects on its narrow shelf. “We became interested in the history of the lawn,” says Kolb, explaining that they created the inaugural run last year for a yard-themed art exhibition he organized in Brooklyn with friends. “There’s a lot that’s been written on the subject,” he says. “From the 18th century, the lawn moved from agrarian landscape to one that privileged pleasure over productivity.” Plus, Diamantopoulou, born and raised in Greece, is perpetually intrigued by kitschy Americana, a category to which contemporary gnomes often belong. “I refer to them as guh-nomes,” she adds, laughing. “I’d never heard anyone speak about them. I kept thinking that was what they were called.” $298, mocastore.org — HILARY MOSS


From left: The Inn at Kenmore Hall’s resident dog, Dutch, at the property’s entrance; the inn’s interior.CreditCourtesy of The Inn at Kenmore Hall

A Fashion Designer Heads for the Hills

The couple Frank Muytjens and Scott Edward Cole always fantasized about eventually running an inn together — it was a long-term plan that made perfect sense given their shared interests in interior design, gardening and cooking. When Muytjens left his position as head of men’s wear at J. Crew last year and was suddenly free to cook up his next adventure, he gave up his Williamsburg apartment and headed upstate, where he had a weekend home near the New York-Massachusetts border. The pair decided they might as well “fast-track,” says Cole, an artist and chef who had lived in the area for the past 25 years. The couple fell in love with the first property they visited, a dazzling late Georgian estate in the Berkshires that the prosperous merchant Henry Sherrill built in 1792. The Massachusetts home later became a boarding school called Kenmore Hall, then a summer guest house frequented by Leonard Bernstein and other musicians connected to the nearby Tanglewood Music Festival. Most recently, it was a private residence that saw its share of visiting musicians.

“The home needed some updates to bring it up to code, but the bones were amazing,” says Cole, citing the nine fireplaces and intricate woodwork, including that of the entryway’s stately banister. So they rushed to strip, paint and plaster in time for the summer season, but they left the original details alone. The newly opened Inn at Kenmore Hall’s five rooms and separate cottage share a clean, stately feel, with a mix of classical, midcentury and country pieces. “We’ve been careful not to make it a museum,” says Muytjens. “It reflects the way we live today.” The innkeepers now live full time on the property, along with their dog, a caramel-colored Vizsla named Dutch (whom Cole reports to be “very excited” about the inn). So far they’ve only hosted friends and family, but they are getting in touch with Tanglewood Festival organizers about next summer’s visiting musicians — which means it’s entirely possible that Renée Fleming or Wynton Marsalis might be sliding down the banister before long. 1385 State Road, Richmond, Massachusetts, theinnatkenmorehall.com — LAUREN MECHLING


Yoko Kitahara’s new spa brings Japanese design and wellness to Tel Aviv.CreditCourtesy of Yoko Kitahara

Japanese Healing Comes to Jaffa

When Tokyo native Yoko Kitahara moved with her husband to the Jaffa section of Tel Aviv a decade ago, she fell in love with the city’s quiet cadence and diverse culture, yet she longed for access to the type of Japanese wellness that she had grown up with. With her new eponymous wellness center, Kitahara has managed to merge a serene Eastern aesthetic with the needs of the Mediterranean.

At the spa, notes of Japanese Modernism play off the space’s original high arches and stonework. Wide windows sit above the ancient city streets on one side and the sea on the other; a stained-glass window infuses the main floor with calming color. “We want our guests to connect with nature,” says Kitahara, who trained in Japan as a massage therapist before she worked in jewelry design. A visit to her spa begins with the removal of shoes at the door, per Japanese custom, followed by a quiet moment sipping tea sourced from Japan and soaking one’s feet in an ashiyu, a traditional Japanese foot bath. Then come the treatments, which range from massages and facials to acupuncture, shiatsu and bijin, a moisturizing full-body scrub. Omotenashi, a philosophy of Japanese hospitality, which values a spirit of openness, plays a part in each treatment. Kikar Kdumim 5, Tel Aviv-Yafo, yokokitahara.com — CATHLEEN O’NEIL

Tokyo’s Bricolage Bread & Co. sells top-quality sourdough.CreditKaoru Yamada

A New Bakery to Feed Tokyo’s Carb Craze

Though the cultivation of wheat in Japan traces back many centuries, bread was only incorporated into the local diet after World War II, when Americans began flooding the island with subsidized surplus wheat in the name of aid. The embrace of artisanal bread baking is a new trend in Japan, fueled by the proliferation of European-style bakeries in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. Offerings include pastries, as well as long-fermented rustic sourdoughs made famous by Paris’s venerable Poîlane and by Tartine and Acme in San Francisco.

The cafe and bakery Bricolage Bread & Co. opened its doors earlier this summer in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. It’s a three-way collaboration between the master baker Ayumu Iwanaga from Osaka’s Le Sucré Coeur (who briefly trained at Tartine), coffee connoisseur Kenji Kojima from Tokyo’s Fuglen and Shinobu Namae, chef of the esteemed Michelin-starred restaurant L’Effervescence in Tokyo. Bricolage purveys thoughtful but unfussy seasonal fare centered on its in-house bread production. The signature “bricolage bread,” a country-style loaf made with domestic whole-grain flour and local yeast, is intended to be an emblem of the renaissance of Japanese food culture, in which Western culture is not denied but rather integrated to enhance a native cuisine. Consider the following hybrid menu item: an open-faced tartine spread with tofu sour cream, mackerel, pickled ginger, shiso and nukazuke (traditional rice bran pickles).

The cafe’s interior, which was designed to reflect the clean style of Edo-period rowhouses, is as thoughtfully rendered as the food. The space draws on rescued materials from other historical sites — from wood to tin to antique speakers — as well as a number of striking design collaborations, including cast-iron cutlery forged by the knifemaker Tomonori Akahata and bespoke floral vessels made by the ceramic artist Kazunori Hamana. Less visible but still deeply felt are the relationships Bricolage maintains with local farmers. “I believe the restaurant can be a bridge between consumers and producers, to help them better know and understand one other,” says Shinobu. “I have spent a lot of time trying to imagine how I can make ‘slow fast food’ real. And through Bricolage, I believe we can make it real.” Keyakizaka terrace 1F, 6-15-1 Roppongi, Tokyo, bricolagebread.com — FANNY SINGER


Boosted Board’s remote-controlled Stealth model.CreditCourtesy of Boosted Boards

Battery-Powered Skateboards for Risk-Averse Rollers

I gave up skateboarding decades ago, when I realized my need for speed surpassed my ability to stop. But when I recently saw a young woman effortlessly gliding past me on an electric long board, I had to try it out, and so I ordered the Stealth model from Boosted Board. It turns out that riding this model, with its large surface and wide wheel base, is much easier — and safer — than its rattly 1970s predecessors. After a little practice, using the hand-held remote beats pushing and braking the old-fashioned way. As its name suggests, the Stealth’s elegant, all-black design is understated and all but conceals the compact motor mounted on the underside of the board. While hefty for a skateboard, it can fit in a corner of your closet or under your desk, making it perfect for city dwellers who may not have room for a bike. For as long as I can remember, New Yorkers have been looking for better ways to get around the city. The solutions often turn out to be passing trends, but I don’t think the electric board will go the way of Rollerblades. It makes my day-to-day travels quicker, and now that I’m not at the mercy of subway stops, it even motivates me to do things I might otherwise skip. And perhaps most important, I can stop. $1,599, boostedboards.comTOM DELAVAN



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