Alton Brown is known for a lot of things: his Food Network show, "Good Eats"; his ability to fashion makeshift kitchen appliances (he once transformed a paper shredder into a pasta maker); and, of course, his culinary prowess. But the thing that most fascinates many a Brown fan is his custom-painted KitchenAid mixer emblazoned with hot-rod-style flames.

"It's insane how much interest has been generated by that mixer," says Brown, who receives hundreds of inquiries from fans wanting to know where to get one. Others send photos of their own tricked-out mixers that they've painted themselves or hired airbrush artists or auto detailers to do for them.

Customized appliances are a great way to set your kitchen, or even your laundry room, apart in today's white-bisque-black-and-stainless-steel-centric world. Just think of the reactions you'd get with racing stripes on your range, or mermaids on your washer. "Whoa, hold on there," you say, "I'm no grease monkey, nor am I a salty sea captain." Relax. You have classier options.

Big Chill, for instance, is now offering the Architectural Series of designs that transform its colorful 1950s-style fridges into art pieces. The hand-painted patterns are inspired by the works of such famed architects as Frank Lloyd Wright. The company is also working on another line, called the Beach Cruiser Series, which will feature a two-tone paint
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