A friend of mine who designed her home in Malibu laughed when the men on her design team said they'd put the laundry room in the basement.
"If I'm going to be folding laundry," the working mother of two said, "I'm going to do it with an ocean view."
Her adage emphasizing utility over aesthetics is easy to forget when hitting Dwell on Design, the design show hosted by Dwell magazine at the Los Angeles Convention Center this past weekend.
For a blogger hitting the aisles with no cash to drop and no intent to buy, it's easy to be seduced by the outré decadent items, the dazzling in-kitchen wine cellars for all those expensive Cabernet Francs and beautiful French Grenaches you don't have the bank for. Or the mini-village of prefab ensconced in the back of the West Hall, which are essentially dollhouses for the day unless you have the cash to drop on a Los Angeles lot.
While cruising this fantasy world, it's easy to forget the grind of daily life. Yet on Monday that's where we all return. With that in mind, we got practical in the pick to share for this year's show.
Here's to one very sweet vacuum cleaner.
It's Miele's Jasper, one of the German manufacturer's canister varieties. It's sleek, light, soft green body is a dreamy machine to hit the detritus of supertight living quarters or wide open lofty expanses. Let us count the ways.
5. It's strong. Its sealed system means higher suction levels for carpets and floors, but it's also soft and gentle. Tired of your vacuum sucking down everything in the vicinity, including your curtains? This one has a tender level specifically for drapes. Or try the upholstery level to handle the hair left behind on the couch by your favored French bulldog.
4. It doesn't make a mess. Its vacuum bags, which lock as you click them out of their sleek compartment within the canister, mean that if you're the type to get a little behind on your housecleaning, you won't be breathing in the dirt that's been accumulating on your floor for the last year.
3. It's as thoughtful as it is good-looking. Never mind the beauty of its body -- the underside of its power brush/floor tool includes suction channels as well configured as everything you can see.
2. You can take it anywhere. The 360-degree caster wheels mean you can get into a tight corner and still escape. In total, its wands and extensions offer a 33-foot range.
1. It won't bail on you at the first sign of trouble. At least according to a U.S. distributor of the German product (which, for our purposes, we'll have to trust), Mieles are designed to last for 20 years. Even if they're pummeled by a scope of work that few home appliances face, Mieles still last for 10 to 15 years, the distributor told us. That's four to five times longer than our last vacuum purchase, and not bad for an appliance that's pummeled in a way your fridge and toaster aren't. And the company provides seven-year motor and casing warranties -- find a car manufacturer that will do that.
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All this, of course, comes at a price -- the product retails at $519. But if Dwell on Design teaches us anything, it's that we can always dream. Miele teaches us: Sometimes it can be about a vacuum cleaner.
UPDATE: After we posted this story, we received the following email from the woman who told her all-male design team that if she was going to be folding laundry, she wanted an ocean view.
"BTW, this is my vacuum, and it is the best vacuum cleaner I've ever had in 65 years! No shit." Evidently she defied her husband's protests over the price tag to purchase it.