Wish list: a Swedish kitchen and a few other architecture and design elements NYC should borrow from abroad

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In the spirit of, as we often hear these days, an increasingly global world, one of the quickest and easiest ways to add non-cookie-cutter sophistication to our apartments is to add a signature design element from a foreign country of your choice. Here, some prime examples of the trend:

The telltale sign you're looking at a Parisian pad? White walls with moldings, tall ceilings and, especially, the ornate chandelier hanging in the center.

Japanese bathrooms come equipped with high-tech toilets we covet, with hands-free seats that open and close with the push of  a nearby button, and built-in bidets for hands free cleansing and drying once one's, er, business is done.

This one's harder to implement—one expert told us that roof work is a tricky thing to get a board to approve when it comes to renovations, among others—but consider it as a reminder that air circulation should matter when you look for an apartment or remake your space. The pitched roofs of Thai homes aren't just beautiful to look at, they allow the air to circulate, keeping the rooms within cool and comfortable no matter the outside temp and level of humidity (so handy in balmy months).

Capiz windows, like the ones snapped of Casa Manila (above) by Reni Orayani, are widely used in the Philippines as a chic way to provide privacy while still allowing natural light to shine through into the home—perfect for close-quarter living like we have in NYC. While we don't have much say in what kind of windows we install, this idea could be implemented when thinking of room dividers—they let light in—or installing shutters.


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