Category Archives: design

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..

ad show 2016 23

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.

ad show 2016 41

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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.

 

Design and Construction Week 2016

 toni at dcw2016

Design and Construction Week is such an energizer for anyone in the business or building and remodeling particularly kitchen and bath. The ability to network with peers from all over the country and all over the world is something I really look forward to. This year was special to me because of the personalization and artisanal quality presented by the exhibitors. On the KBIS, Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, side of the main exhibition hall, innovations from favorites like Robern, for which I an a Brand Ambassador, included technology and innovative storage for the bath that make a real difference in everyday life moments like “getting ready” for the day. The artisanal quality of the metal products, some with sculptural animals,  from Thompson Traders had me taking notes as well. Truly functional art that shows creative passion.

pinocchio dcw2016

A Pinocchio faucet, move the arms and water flows from his nose, was noteworthy from Italian innovator Emmevi,  and innovations in cabinet conveniences from Richelieu had my brain churning with ideas. The International Builders Show side of the conference center included a booth with new Themador product that I really adore. A new 60″ range with oven capacity for a full sized catering tray, a steam oven, a warming drawer and a 2 bay griddle is a culinary enthusiast’s dream. I salute them at their 100th Anniversary and am proud to be as member of their Design Council.

thermador 2016

The Freedom Column refrigeration has been branded as “preservation center”. The innovations in food preservation are perfect for clients as the options in beautiful integrated appliances allow the client to maximize space whether they are enthusiasts of wine, the farmers market, the need to freeze large quantities or all of the above. A class in business practice held at KBIS and hosted by the NKBA also had my attention.  IThe class was given by my colleague Scott Kohler and related to technology. I learned how to use apps for ease of informational flow to keep projects moving. All in all the Design and Construction Week experience helps me bring the best of the best in all aspects of this business to my valued clients and I am already looking forward to next years’ show.

October is Kitchen and Bath Month….

polycor vetrazzo trip (117)Toni in quarry with hard hatYes, October is Kitchen and Bath Month, celebrated by those of us in the industry to talk up our part in the new construction and renovation business. Of course, for me, every month is “Kitchen and Bath Month”, because I really love this business! So what does the hard hat have to do with my October celebration? I was invited by the fine folks at Vetrazzo to take a trip. The opportunities that come along like a quarry tour and hike in the mountains are little perks that make working in this business extra worthwhile. This trip was to Georgia, to visit the quarry and manufacturing facility of Polycor, responsible for Vetrazzo, an amazing recycled glass surface and Georgia Marble products, quarried and manufactured right here in the USA. The trip was amazing. There were breathtaking views, inspiring company camaraderie and I am grateful for the hospitality.

Aside from a good time, the trip was also very educational. I learned about the processing of the natural stone and have an understanding now of what makes the Georgia Marble a superior stone surface. I was also amazed by the different tones coming out of the quarry and the true natural beauty created by some innovative cutting creating a sort of cross grain effect in some of the product.

The Vetrazzo facility has bags and bags of recycled glass in colors like candy! The beautiful surface gives the term upcycled a whole new meaning! The mix of glass into their secret recipe creates a glistening almost luminescent sort of surface that I just adore! Another item of interest that caught my eye is the new cabinetry hardware from subsidiary Pierre Habitat. The glistening collection of knobs and pulls are truly jewels for the home. Enjoy the photos and Happy Kitchen and Bath Month! :)

polycor vetrazzo trip  quarry overview polycor vetrazzo trip (104) quarry close up

polycor vetrazzo trip (61) georgia quarry polycor vetrazzo trip (31) pierre habitat 1 polycor vetrazzo trip (166) resize glass blue polycor vetrazzo trip (28) resize pierre habitatpolycor vetrazzo trip (25) resize surface polycor vetrazzo trip (157) resize Georgia marble polycor vetrazzo trip (142) resize group 2 polycor vetrazzo trip (146) resize group polycor vetrazzo trip (159) resize quarry 2

Romance on a Grand Scale….

Joe Ruggiero Chair- Highpoint Spring Market

Joe Ruggiero Chair- Highpoint Spring Market

I declare that “love was in the air!” at the High Point Spring Market and I am a sucker for a good romance story. Yes, there was plenty of contemporary and modern and industrial and traditional but not so much that felt really new. What did feel new, however, was this feeling of amore. I found myself nurturing my softer feminine side as so much of what caught my eye had this “come hither, follow, me” inviting quality that really drew me in. Color palettes that were somehow soft yet bold, like celadon mixed with vivid reds or deep purples, and sexy backs on couches and chairs, butterflies, inspired florals, sumptuous bedding, and whimsical golden and rose gold accents had me feeling the love.

The teaser picture of the chair shown above is part of a collection from Joe Ruggiero. The large scale stylized rose Sunbrella fabric had me “at hello”, but the details are exquisitely noteworthy as well. You can see more on Joe and his new collection in his “Into The Garden” you tube video.

Here are a few of the other standouts that had me feeling romantic on a grand scale.

This large scale bed from Modern History has a strong sexy vibe that I adore. Available in several colors with optional accents, it is an ideal anchor for a master bedroom to give it that sultry, boudoir quality.

Bed by Modern History

Bed by Modern History

This photo of some really fresh floral bedding is just a tease! The website of Ann Gish is well worth a look for some inspired linens of superb quality. I really love the impressionist nature of the floral. It has a versatility that can just as easily soften contemporary furnishings or revitalize the more traditional.

 

Another tease was a beautiful golden butterfly I was shown at By Koket. Funny that their tagline is “Love Happens”…… I am waiting with great anticipation to see what the makers of these incredibly sexy chairs do with this new collection….. Butterflies are coming!

chandra-dining-chair-2

I’m mad about the back of this Elan sectional designed by Tina Nicole for Nathan Anthony! The urban expression, “Baby Got Back”, certainly applies here! A stunning look for a common dilemma that’s just hot!

NathanAnthony_Elan_041815 by Tina Nicole

Elan sectional from Nathan AnthonyThe bedroom from Eloquence, INC really brought out the romantic in me! I am normally not one for frills but the large scale pendants and the weightiness of the furniture gave this setting a substance that made it work for me.

Eloquence INCHappy Spring! And… hope you are inspired to add a touch of romantic freshness to your interior. ..xxoo

 

 

Tidbits & Trends from Design & Construction Week 2015

DSC_4711 KBIS (17) It’s a few weeks after design and construction week and I still can’t stop talking about it. Held in Las Vegas and comprised of several shows featuring the best in home furnishings and construction materials, this is by far the best trade show I have ever been to. The trends for simple lines, glitzy lighting, lush textures, fab faucets and fittings and amazing appliance configurations are all things that make me smile. My unabashed enthusiasm for the Thermador brand continues full force with the introduction of an apartment sized gas range with 5 star burners and the beauteous collection of refrigeration and wine columns that are the stuff “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” are made of! Can I really mean “gorgeous refrigeration’? YES! And what about wine? It seems that our “wine culture” is growing rapidly! Cooking with wine, wine pairings, wine dinners, and tastings are all on the rise and the home entertainer is taking note! With these beautiful columns, you can really add that entertaining experience so easily by creating your own custom wine and refrigeration wall. These pieces can be customized in so many ways………. and really integrate with any home fashion statement.

As a kitchen designer that believes in kitchen-centric living, I was happy to see continued trends for open floor plans that integrate the kitchen and more cabinetry millwork to adjacent spaces. There is also an increase in the popularity of banquettes. This casual dining idea is cozy and a great space saver. Welborn Cabinetry showed this trend well with a display that made you want to move right in!

DSC_4711 KBIS (201)

Another trend I see is to have less kitchen wall cabinetry in favor of more tall cabinets, open shelving and walk in pantry space. The New American Home has a stunning kitchen great space that is an attractive example of this streamlined trend.

DSC_4711 KBIS (119) DSC_4711 KBIS (111) DSC_4711 KBIS (104)

Other trends that I saw both on the show floor and at the this incredible show house were floating vanities and freestanding tubs. For more on my visit to The New American Home, please see the K+BB online blog http://kbbcollective.kbbonline.com/nahb-new-american-home-makes-a-statement-during-design-construction-week.html

And for my thoughts on bath trends please see the February/March issue of Embark Magazine…I am overjoyed to be a contributor to this exciting new platform.

I am truly captivated by the stunning array of new fashion forward products available from so many manufacturers. Brizo has a line of faucets by Jason Wu and Walker Zanger has put out Sterling Row, a tile line that actually includes houndstooth! I love it!! Rich textures, metallics, vibrant colors, and sexy silhouettes can all be found at the building supply! Design and Construction week is beginning to feel like “HOME Fashion Week” to me and I can not wait to see what the new looks are next year!

 

My thoughts on High Point Market

Highpoint collage A friend casually asked, “What is High Point Market?” Hmmm… I found myself replying that I thought of it as some sort of Disneyland for furniture lovers, a haute housewares theme park … It is the bomb….

Joe Ruggiero

Joe Ruggiero

Nod to Mod that is earthy and edgy from Demorais International

Nod to Mod that is earthy and edgy from Demorais International

Gray and green and fabulous tufting from Nathan Anthony

Gray and green and fabulous tufting from Nathan Anthony

Magical modern lighting from Fine Art Lamps

Magical modern lighting from Fine Art Lamps

As I expected, homage to Mid-Century design and shades of gray were prevalent trends. I loved seeing the gray paired with bright tones to give it a fresh, happy look. The influence of fashion trends on home design was getting some well deserved attention from Joe Ruggiero and I loved the pieces he was showing. I also love clean lines. My eye was continually drawn to sleek silhouettes and edgy shapes that nod to Mid-Century design. Here are a few other trends I noticed and my thoughts about them.

Trending- modular coffee tables, I say, “it’s about time!”

I have always loved nesting tables for the convenience and versatility they offer. I find this new breed of coffee tables to be a natural.

Modular coffee table from Regina Andrew

Modular coffee table from Regina Andrew

Modular coffee table Global Views

Modular coffee table Global Views

Trending- nail heads, I say, “Sorry Stud, it’s time to hit the road”

I do love nail heads, I really do! However, I asked myself what I really think of this trend after I had taken hundreds of pictures of studded pieces. I think there is a time and place to accent a gorgeous line with some metallic studs, other than that it is too much of a good thing. It’s like when there is too much sugar in my coffee… Yuck.

Nice lines accentuated by nail heads on ottoman. LOVE!

Nice lines accentuated by nail heads on ottoman. LOVE!

Too much of a good thing........

Too much of a good thing……..

Trending- blues, I say  “Love! It’s like beautiful music for the eyes”…  as Professor Mutti Clark said, ” We start our lives with blues… with music. It’s our first language. It’s the rhythm of the womb. It’s your mama’s heartbeat inside your head.”

Blue inspires me for so many reasons. Oceans, clear skies, Paul Newman’s eyes… I’m loving this trend.

Beauteous blues from Feizy

Beauteous blues from Feizy

Blue accessories

Blue accessories

Blue rug from AMER

Blue rug from AMER

Trending- Beach Bling, I say, “no, just, no”

i really love the beach and a little homage to the sand and sea can be found in quite a bit of my work but I found that the trend to hang shells from light fixtures was not something I would want to work with. I much prefer dangling crystals and shiny bling.

"Beach Bling" lighting doesn't work for me....

“Beach Bling” lighting doesn’t work for me….

Speaking of the beach, what I did like was a more sophisticated coastal collection from Stanley Furniture. It has a modern relaxed vibe with clean lines.

A new more sophisticated coastal from Stanley.

A new more sophisticated coastal from Stanley.

All in all, I loved much of what the market had to offer. The energy of the market and some of the innovative pieces have me inspired!

 

 

UPCYCLING….. Don’t Trash That Yet!

would be trash about to become something lovely

would be trash about to become something lovely

Upcycle is a catchy new word I really love. According to dictionary.com, it means to process (used goods or waste material) so as to produce something that is often better than the original. I am always inspired when I see artisanal furniture created from reclaimed wood and fabulous lamps made from old woodwind instruments but had never really thought about how to reuse materials from my own job sites.  While working on the remodel facelift of a kitchen in an old Long Island estate house, my client looked at the pile of rubbish cabinets we were creating and said, “You know, it’s too bad we can’t use those for something. Too bad we couldn’t find a way to make a sideboard out of all of that instead of ordering something…..” As the words were coming out of her mouth, I grabbed my pencil and sketchpad and started to draw. I had an idea to create a dish pantry in her breakfast room and she loved it. A talented carpenter, some new molding and a coat of paint and Voila! Our beautiful upcycled dish pantry gave what would have been a pile of junk new life.

up cycle 2

up-cycled piece

 

Handcrafted Feels Good

California Faucets buffing-spout

I had the pleasure of visiting the Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky a while back and it made a big impression on me. I was amazed at how many hands actually touched the car! Automation is utilized but the car is actually hand assembled by people taking great pride in their work. Watching as the energy in all those hands touched each car gave me a real feel good sense and also made me think of the car as more worthy of the sticker price.

I like to find handcrafted items for my clients when working on their homes. Finding affordable original art and handcrafted furnishings and rugs are key to my designs. I also love the idea of handcrafted quality in those items we take for granted like light fixtures and plumbing ware. Surprisingly, there are handcrafted faucets made right here in the USA. The products made by California Faucets give me that handcrafted feel good sense I love to incorporate into my work. Here is a quick take on their hands on approach.

http://www.calfaucets.com/video/the-2-minute-custom-faucet

Here’s to hoping you are inspired to add some handcrafted items in your home that give you that “feel good” vibe!

Corvette living the dream