The Glass Barn, 1207 Spruce St., Berkeley, California 94709. 415/841-6359.

After long evolution, kitchenware has grown to look rustic and homely or sleekly color-coordinated. But the anticipated takeover of the metric system has reminded us that the kitchen is indeed a laboratory. And laboratory equipment is efficient (as well as appealingly simple in design) for kitchen use. But, since doctors and other professional now do a lot of their work on computers, simple lab equipment is hard to find on a small-order basis. The Glass Barn has gathered appropriate laboratory equipment in a small catalog to sell by mail. They have pyrex beakers with pouring lips, which serve as accurate metric measures and could be used also as pitchers or glasses. Their tall, thin graduated cylinder is handsome as a bud vase as well as a handy receptacle for skimming the fat off sauces. They have decanters with glass stoppers, Erlenmeyer flasks for storing and heating liquids and a terrific glass mortar and pestle, which not only grinds nicely, but easily washes free of smells. While prices are, in some cases, higher than the usual kitchenware for equivalent uses, beakers start at $2, and nothing costs more that $12 (plus $1.75 shipping per order).