Author Archives: tonisabatino

Ingredients for Luxury Kitchens…… my look at JENN-AIR

jenn air collage 12 I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Whirlpool Corporation’s training facility in Chicago. The trip was a wonderful experience. The facility is in a remodeled historic building, and the Whirlpool facility includes an amazing rooftop lounge where we ate several of our site prepared gourmet meals. jennair rooftop 2 jenn ait trip 4Whirlpool, for those not so familiar, is also the parent company behind KitchenAid, Amana, Maytag, Gladiator garage systems and Jenn-Air luxury appliances. Jenn-Air may be known to some for the “down-draft” kitchen ventilation system invented in the 60s but the renewed commitment by the parent corporation to luxury cooking at home has brought with it many more innovations and conveniences. The color touch-screen operated wall oven is one I find particularly noteworthy. The straightforward and simple options had me smiling at first touch! Easier than an ATM and something an older, less tech savvy guest could easily navigate without the instruction book. OK, you say, it’s easy to use but how well does it cook. The meals we sampled, all made by a talented on site staff led by Culinary Training Chef Ann Nolan, were perfection. Crusty but moist bread, flaky pastry and wonderful roasted vegetables were a few that stick in my mind.cooking jennair 2 jennair food 5 jennair food 2 jennair food 4

The line has an impressive induction cooktop, several models in gas, with or without down-draft, and also a series of modules to allow a “create-your-own” that can include a 15″ chrome griddle or an induction wok module. Ventilation options include wall models, island models and of course the down-draft that made them famous! Great options for creating slow simmer soups, crepes and all sorts of culinary masterpieces. Now on to the coffee system!coffee at jennairjennair coffee demo

DeLonghi, of Italian coffee maker fame, actually partnered with Jenn-Air to create their built in coffee system. It is simple to operate, has minimal installation requirements (110V) and makes great coffee. Well thought out, it will also give ample warning for cleaning so there are no surprise shutdowns during dinner parties. The steam oven also operates on 110V and requires no in wall plumbing. The addition of convection allows for many cooking options from reheating to original temperature and texture to steam cooking to baking. Again, easy to navigate without a PHD or instruction book. The dishwashers in the line include drying and steam features but the depth needs to be considered when doing initial planning if inset cabinetry is being used. An under counter ice maker for those looking for “clear ice”, several tall and under counter refrigeration models, including wine storage, round out the kitchen suite offering.jenn air obsidian

Notable is the “Obsidian” refrigeration that makes your ingredients look like model food for a cooking show. Fun for the home culinary enthusiast! As a designer, I look forward to the new series of column refrigeration ideal for personalization and full integration due out early next year. I encourage those of you looking for appliances for your new kitchen to experience these gourmet appliances with simplicity and a great price point at your local showroom or appliance specialty store.jennair collage 4

Thanks so much to Ellen Cheever-Giorgi and the entire Jenn-Air team!

-Toni :)

 

“Digging” Natural Stone

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White Cherokee natural stone island counter from Georgia Marble.

Over the years, I have had mixed feelings about surfaces. The look is all important but durability, longevity and performance have always been key when making selections for clients. On the emotional side, there is also environmental impact to consider. There was a time when I favored man made materials because of quarrying desecrating the planet. A few years ago I visited the quarry of Georgia Marble, operated by Polycor, and found out how wrong I really was! The process is simple and clean. There are no toxic agents and the best part was seeing new life that had come to the quarry in the form shrubbery, trees, birds and animals that were truly flourishing there. This was a truly thrilling personal discovery! The beauty and feel of natural stone cannot be imitated and the feel good quarry moment, emotional reaction I had makes it easy to specify the real deal. There are so many varieties of natural stone, each with it’s unique features that can be researched. MIA+BSI, marble-institute.com the website of the Natural Stone Institute is a great resource for stone research to find the stone that is right for your project. Choosing stone that is less porous for heavily used surfaces like kitchen and bath counters is fairly simple and there are so many to choose from. Proper maintenance is also key to keeping the surface beautiful and there are also a variety of good products on the market for that as well. Natural stone can also be integrated into home designs with wall panels, mosaic tile, flooring and furnishings. Marble cocktail tables have always been a classic favorite of mine. Organic modernism is a style I have embraced. It incorporates simple lines, metal, and the beauty of wood and stone. properly curated, it is an elevated casual look for easy living with an air of sophistication and authenticity.

Whether your look is classic timeless elegance or organic modernism, or anything in between, natural stone adds that special “je ne sais quoi”. Here are a few of my latest loves for incorporating the sophistication and durability of natural stone into home design.

stone accent tables

Natural Stone tables from ANNA by RABLABS make a beauteous statement.

Natural stone from Artistic Tile makes a beautiful accent wall in any room.

Natural stone from Artistic Tile makes a beautiful accent wall in any room.

 

marble-wine-chiller-c williams and sonoma

From Williams and Sonoma ~ marble wine chiller

Natural stone and metal water jet tile from Studium maker an incredible Art Deco statement in this NYC bath.

Natural stone and metal water jet tile from Studium make an incredible Art Deco statement in this NYC bath.

Custom book matched marble shower~ Centre Island, NY, September 23, 2015: --- Interior designer Toni Sabatino worked her magic and created this beautiful living space at this Centre Island home on Long Island. © Audrey C. Tiernan

Custom book matched marble shower~ Centre Island, NY, September 23, 2015: — Interior designer Toni Sabatino worked her magic and created this beautiful living space at this Centre Island home on Long Island. © Audrey C. Tiernan

Marble cheese board from Peters of Kensington (petersofkensington.com.au)

Marble cheese board from Peters of Kensington (petersofkensington.com.au)

Stone fireplace accent wall is simple and chic.

Stone fireplace accent wall is simple and chic.

White marble table lamp from Fine Art Lamps.

White marble table lamp from Fine Art Lamps.

I hope you are inspired to take a look at where natural stone fits into your decor!

-Toni :)

 

 

 

 

 

My “VANITY” project with Baden Haus

 

Retro is coming white matte baden hausThis Sunday is the opening of ICFF in New York where my Retro collection with Baden Haus will debut. It is a collaboration of design love and incorporates years of bath design thinking to bring a beautiful, modular, really user friendly product to market.

“I wanted my creations for Baden Haus to have practicality and personality. The attention to detail gives the feeling of luxury but without the “sticker shock”.
Quality, a timeless retro vibe and affordability were our main points when brainstorming the ideas into build-able units.
The areas for make up, first aid or grooming product organization and towel and paper storage make these cabinets perfect for any bathroom!
The option for wall hanging or floor mount is also available to make the installation simple and easy whether retrofitting, remodeling or building new.

My collection is a hybrid of simple, quality, European construction and American pop culture.”

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“Gotham City” pictured above, my creation with spattered mirror is my homage to “steam punk”, a kind of historical industrial look meant to work with today’s industrial designs.


Toni Sabatino Style for Baden Haus resize

“Paisley Tie”: Swanky. “One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art,” said the famously flamboyant Oscar Wilde, a lover of paisley. The history of this iconic pattern that has spanned centuries is quite colorful and I love it for its sophisticated, arty bohemianism.

“Gold Lame”: I love the glamour and fashion of “Old Hollywood”. The golden shimmering glass brings that golden age feel to the bath.

“Matte” pictured at top comes in both black and white. White: Timeless grace, simplicity and elegance. The panels have the look of wainscoting to create the mood of old world charm and tradition. Black: The drama of film noir.

I look forward to the debut over the weekend and if you are in NYC, I hope to see you at the show!

Toni :)

 

 

 

AD DESIGN SHOW : stand outs and resource

ad show 2017 4The annual Ad Design Show in New York City is not just an inspirational collection of artisans, haute homewares and innovations but also a social event on “trade day” for the design community. It is an opportunity to walk the show with colleagues while perusing new offerings over wine and canapes  and share thoughts on the industry. I love the show for the networking and the sheer fun of it but have also come to think of it as a major resource for my business. Noting product that moves me as I see it in person has always been a favorite way to source for jobs. Meeting the makers and distributors, creating relationships and understanding their procedures, policies and lead times is very beneficial for specifying materials and making recommendations to clients. I find it interesting that this show is also open to the public following trade day. The attention the design business gets from magazines, TV shows, and social media of all sorts have made goods from all over the world available to the public. Helping clients put it together and make sure it works is something I really enjoy, sourcing that artisanal piece for a client that really sets the space apart is something I enjoy even more! Shows like the AD Design Show are a great resource for doing just that. This year’s standouts included some amazing radiators that are wall art or are they art that diffuse heat? Hard to say… but innovative and noteworthy for sure. I am always on the lookout for practical but artful storage and some tambour storage cocktail and end tables caught my eye. Porcelain tableware, glassware, glass flowers, dog sculptures, dog beds, the new Steinway player piano, the “urban cultivator” for growing greens in your kitchen, and the new push to open refrigeration from Thermador were some of my other noted items for future use. Creating a home that you love to live in is the goal of all design enthusiasts. As you dream and “pin” and fall in love with that artful piece at a show or that look online or in the “decor” mag you just got, remember there are plenty of professionals like me here to help you connect the dots!

-Toni

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KBIS, “trends” and INSPIRATION

KBIS kbbThe Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, known as KBIS is part of a yearly home improvement and building convention known as Design and Construction Week. I love attending the show, networking with industry partners, checking out new products, absorbing industry news and information and generally having fun.

As part of the Kitchen & Bath Business trade magazine Editorial Advisory Board, I walk the show looking for anything really innovative or particularly beautiful to report on. I also keep an eye open for trends. Personally, I tend not to follow “trends” but feel they play an important role in our industry. The designer that is working for a higher end client can weave together a tapestry that is a combination of lifestyle, architecture, functional art and purpose. The retailers, DIY-ers, design students and budding HG network producers need to see what is new, sexy and available to the mass markets to keep our industry fresh and deserving of all the attention.

kbis metal 2 matte black 2 kbis matte black 1 kbis

This season, a movement toward “warmth”, earthy tones, deep tones, and mixed metals took over the show booths. Natural woods, mixed in innovative ways, with very simple straight lines has created a look of “organic modernism” that I really love. The blend of glass, slate and other natural stones, texture, matte finishes and artisanal accents creates a warm environment that is easy to personalize with pops of color or personal effects. A nod to industrial or chic glam or mid century can all be accomplished with lighting and accessories when working in this new warm neutral palette.

kbis mod

Classic square inset shaker cabinetry still seems to dominate. I am a believer in the theory that classic white inset shaker will never go out of style. I also love the use of inset to create modern and industrial moods as well. I was happy to see the classic lines of inset shaker in a new mix of wood textures, interesting colors and finishes to keep it fresh.  Another  “trend” of note I was experiencing is the move towards industrial styled “foodie” faucets in the kitchen.I love this trend and anything that adds fun and authenticity to kitchen life. Industrial inspired metal lighting in soft matte and satin finishes were seen in so many of the lifestyle vignettes. Mixing metals is another trend that I think is here to stay. The mis-matched metals for lighting, appliances, faucets, hardware add an authentic, personal vibe to a space as opposed to a “match-y” stiff feeling. The introduction of more copper adds warmth, too. Hoods, farm sinks, lighting and hardware with all sorts of functional art type styling were all over the show floor and should be available online or at a retail shop.

copper lav KBIS kbis foodie faucet

“Convenience is KING” is another thought that I take away from the show. Beautiful product that helps us to organize or is low maintenance is always a bonus. Of note this year? Opulent closet organization, vanities with personal storage compartments and a 3D printed counter surface that is impervious to burning, staining, scratching and UV fading. A pretty miraculous counter surface indeed, and soon to a retailer near you.

kbis luxury closet kbis baden haus vanity

KBIS 3d print surface I love this business. I love the impact that good home design has on our daily lives and I love to bring the best of the best to you! Happy remodeling :)

LOVE with an address…… Ronald McDonald House – Long Island

rmh-1Recently I had the pleasure of participating in “project Picnic” a fundraising event for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. I would like to thank Steve Schrenk and #Vetrazzo, Robert Rexrer and the Fabric Mill for thier generous donations. I would also like to thank my MOTHER!! Her patience and dedication to sewing my “picnic basket” bag are greatly appreciated. I have also included a few photos of the “house that love built”. Truly LOVE with an address.

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Food, Wine and Inspiring Design – San Francisco Style

Recently I was invited to experience a few days in San Francisco as part of the #zephyrbloggerretreat2016

Zephyr, an innovative range hood and ventilation manufacturer, had much to offer us in both product knowledge and company culture.

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The amazing few days included a  farm to table dining experience at Boulettes Larder, an educational in depth wine tasting and proper pairings at the Joseph Phelps Vineyard, an understanding of the beauty of the Napa Valley vineyards and wine grottos (as well as a wonderful lunch served in a wine cave), at the Rutherford Hill Winery and some truly incredible art and more wine(!) at the stunning Hall Winery which has thought provoking sculpture gardens. “But wait- there’s more!” Yes, there is more……..an inspired interior design walk through the design district of San Francisco (our group was welcomed by the Nido showroom, the Daltile showroom and the Coup d’Etat showroom), and the highlight of these action packed few days, a look into the design thinking and philosophical mind of Zephyr collaborator Fu-Tung Cheng, at the Zephyr Showroom.

The presentation was engaging, enlightening and seriously inspiring as we were shown through years of philosophy and design thinking resulting in some intense architectural outcomes.

I felt the emotion of Fu-Tung’s personal victory as the work of seven years concluded in the “Moon Door” entry to his family garden. I understood organic modernism in a new way as I watched a home take shape during the presentation. I felt Fu-Tung’s love of concrete as a design medium as well as building material with the introduction of Shapecrete, his venture into sharing that love in 20LB pails.

shapecrete

The Cheng Design philosophy, the organic connection of things, ease of living and homage to natural elements is a perfect pairing with the Zephyr Brand. The designs are simple yet thought provoking and at times playful. A model meant to be reinterpreted by applying decorative surfacing is actually lovely enough in shape and style that the majority left it as is. Another model, Horizon, the brainchild of Zephyr collaborator, Robert Brunner, is truly a sleek glass wall sculpture. It evokes that mood of organic modernism that works so well with the current trend of design for living interpreted as simple, personalized, functional art as home or common space.

horizon-red

So impressive to me is the Zephyr company culture, the how and why of their organic design philosophy, collaborations and marketing instincts. The generosity in sharing the things that they value that create that company culture is impressive down to John Smilanic, the showroom manager, creating our custom Zephyr pumpkin desserts as part of our showroom experience lunch.

zephyr-pumpkin-dessert

While the shapes and finishes of the Zephyr product line are thought provoking, the quality of the product is also extremely noteworthy. The DCBL suppression system technology used in the product makes the ventilation quieter, more energy efficient and practically silent.  A demonstration of this was a hood holding a piece of paper to the bottom while we were being shown the features. We could not even hear it. Better ventilation creates a healthier home environment. It seems to me that the culture of slow food, farm to table and healthier living will certainly embrace this technology in home design.

My brand of design is to bring out the passion of the inhabitants, pay homage to the lifestyle and enhance the environment of the space. I begin a home design with the kitchen and let the flow of the lifestyle emanate from that place where we feed our family, friends and ultimately our souls.

My takeaway from this experience is that Zephyr is a brand worth investigating when beginning the re-imagination of the home. Ventilation is a key ingredient to healthier living.

-Toni :)

Soaking It All In………… MTI Baths

mti iphone FO (27) toni blogThe act of bathing seems to have become a luxury. Time management seems to have necessitated quick showers in an effort to move on to the next task. The fast paced lifestyle that has so many of us striving for work life balance had actually caused me to think of “bathing” as a guilty pleasure. A recent field trip to the MTI Baths guesthouse and factory have me rethinking this altogether. I have realized that a truly luxurious state of being must include rest and relaxation. I was reminded of how that “guilty pleasure” of soaking it all in is actually necessary for the well being of my body, mind and soul.

The trip to MTI Baths, Sugar Hill, Georgia facilities was more than I expected! The accommodations are wonderful and our group enjoyed some serious southern hospitality. A combination of educational presentations, factory tour and down time to try out the MTI products in the guesthouse had me feeling great about the last few master bath tubs I had specified. The quality of the product and the innovative system that keeps the air jets, tubes and air holes sanitary are great reasons to specify the product but the company culture of MTI is what really impressed me.

The company is employee owned with all product made in the US. Kathy Adams, current CEO, glowed as she shared the company’s founding and back story with our group. The inclusion of the “3 Rs” – respect, responsibility and resourcefulness are imbedded in the company culture. The pride of the factory workers is apparent as you tour the facilities and the management is as committed to helping each employee feel their worth and reach their potential as they are to the continuous innovation and exceptional quality of the product. Impressive indeed!

Notable in the extensive product line are the inclusion of a foot bath and a jetted laundry sink for fine washables. There is also a selection of teak products for shower seats, shower floors and tub shelves.The ESS solid surface product can be poured into sinks, integral vanity tops and shower pans which can be hand polished to a high shine if desired. Tub designs made of both the solid surface and acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement include some truly artful shapes as well as many options for whirlpool features and custom placement of air and water flow for maximum personal comfort, Each piece is actually made to order! Made personally for your client or you and delivered in a very reasonable lead time.

If you are a bath designer I recommend that you inquire about the trip. If you are a home owner looking to remodel for a more luxurious lifestyle, I highly recommend that you investigate the therapeutic options MTI Baths has to offer!

Here are some more photos of our MTI Baths experience.;MTI trip tour group resize mti mr tubs trip (44) mti tubs (22) mti tubs (12) mti tubs (5) Chris and jeff mti trip mti mr tubs trip (88) mti trip factory toni and employee mti mr tubs trip (126) mti mr tubs trip (203) mti mr tubs trip (93)

 

Some Moments in the Sun

dallas ids trip with all thingsI recently went to Dallas for the annual Interior Design Society National Conference. The trip was so enriching on so many levels. My friend, Suzanne Felber, a fellow designer, Dallas native, and fellow member of the Thermador Design Council was my guest and Dallas tour guide. The Dallas Market Center, where the IDS conference was held, offers floor after floor of finely curated furnishings, some incredibly artfully displayed. Aside from the eye candy of the market, the conference offered education on topics such as building a better business, artful uses of LED lighting, Feng Shui and child safety related to window treatment cords. All good things to know.:) The conference closed with an awards dinner and I am proud to share that I won an Interior Design Society  “Designer of the Year” award in the kitchens over 50k category! Yes, a moment in the sun! My love for kitchen design is partly due to my love of food culture. I love cooking, entertaining and all things design that give you that space to feed your inner foodie. I think feeding your friends and family feeds your soul. I also think of art and music as “soul feeders”, too, and was amazed by the sculptures at Fair Park, the Nasher Museum, the Hilton Anatole, where I stayed the week and even the shopping area known as NorthPark Center. The feasts for the eyes were everywhere and fed my mind with inspiration. Speaking of feeding or “grazing” as I have come to know it, I was privileged to attend the Raiser Grazer event put on by Les Dames D’escoffier Dallas Chapter. The “Dames” went all out with food, drink, music and decor to transform a farmers market space into an elegant salon featuring the delectables of Dallas’ finest. The enticing dishes kept me grazing all right! Broth, soups, meat and vegetarian dishes, amazing desserts and innovative cocktails at table after table sent me to foodie nirvana. As the sun set on the evening and my Dallas trip, I was full with gratitude. :)

Behind Design (are some inspiring stories)

AD Design Show booth collaboration by black crow studios, Neptune Glassworks & (wh)ORE HAUS STUDIOS

AD Design Show booth collaboration by black crow studios, Neptune Glassworks & (wh)ORE HAUS STUDIOS

The yearly Architectural Digest Design Show, held on a west side pier in New York City, is some thing I really look forward to. I love getting together with friends at favorite booths like Thermador and viewing the new product offerings over a glass of wine. I love the artisanal offerings and I love the little worlds created with wall covering, lighting, tables, place settings and accessories in the DIFFA portion of the show. The eye candy from custom manufacturers like Ercole Home, Galas Studio and KOKET get my brain churning with ideas but this year I was also thinking about the “story” behind the design. I bought a great bag from Sustainable Furnishings Council member,Tucker Robbins. It is a great bag, indeed, but I also felt good about the story behind that bag. According to Tucker’s website, he has created thriving artisanal workshops around the world and uses sustainably harvested or reclaimed materials. That is a “feel good” win, win, kind of purchase..

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Michael McHale Designs

Michael McHale Designs

Lighting is something that I believe sets a tone. I loved the pieces displayed by Michael McHale Designs.The lighting from Hubbardton Forge has a story of “modern American blacksmiths” with it’s origin in a barn with some borrowed tools. Great success story, beautiful lighting.

ad show 2016 48The wall coverings from Black Crow Studio in the picture at the top of this post were partnered with some inspired lighting and furnishings like this bed styled with rumpled covers, under wear, liquor and lipstick on the pillow. Inspired urban living! I am sure there is a great story behind this!

ad show 2016 4 (2)The DIFFA offerings have stories all their own. The big story is a fabulous fund raiser giving grants for AIDS research, care for HIV/AIDS patients and public policy initiative but there are also the stories and inspiration behind each artistically imagined and realized dining space. Here are a few of my favorites. I loved watching an artist create part of the space from Knoll and Rockwell Group. I look forward to reading the press coverage of the spaces I photographed to get the inspirational stories of each vignette.

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creation of Tyler Wysler with Nourison rug

creation of Tyler Wysler whom I met in his space

I hope you enjoy the photos and they inspire you to tell a story through your personal design.