Category Archives: interior design

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 :)

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.

zephyr-bloggers dsc_2920 dsc_2906 dsc_2887 zephyr-showroom

 

 

 

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 :)

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

ad show 2016 20 ad show 2016 10 ad show 2016 19

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.

 

Nostalgia with a Modern Twist!

mid century world kitchen llc I was invited by my fab foodie friend and cookbook author Leeann Lavin to an event held by World Kitchen LLC to show some product they are launching and fell in love! The colorful and somehow sophisticated-ly whimsical Vintage Charm Brand is a winner! The updated Pyrex and Corelle tableware give the comfort of Gramma’s kitchen and the luxurious feel of something curated to be modern and artful even though it’s meant for everyday. Mid Century Modern design has those clean simple lines and vibrant color that make for happy, easy living and these haute housewares are simply perfect to accessorize with things you can actually use! Check them out! Coming soon to a retailer near you!

pyrex 2 world kitchen llc 4 world kitch 1 Continue reading

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.

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!

 

Copper Stars

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to YA!

As the year’s end rolls around I find myself reflecting……. This year has been amazing! I have had great clients, fab projects, fun family time and a little love from some digital and print media. Native Trails, a company with values I admire for it’s commitment to environmentally conscious manufacturing, chose to honor me with this Holiday blog story and I hope you enjoy it!

Designers We Love: Toni Sabatino

Toni-Sabatino-Interior-Designer

Right off the bat, one thing you notice about Toni Sabatino is she enjoys life and lives it to the fullest. Read through her blog or tweets, or talk to her on the phone, and you get the sense that she infuses fun into everything she does, charming and delighting those in her association. This is not to say that Toni shouldn’t be taken seriously – anything but. She’s definitely a force in the industry: she’s designed kitchens & baths for over two decades, is a member of the KB+B Editorial Advisory Board, is featured on houzz.com TV, and is a member of the Sustainable Furnishing Council.

This holiday season, Native Trails caught up with Toni just after she put up a client’s Christmas tree, adorned with holiday ornaments that embody the holiday spirit: whimsical, charming, elegant. We chatted with Toni about her design style, inspiration, and her Christmas tree tradition.

NT: You have been decorating a client’s Christmas tree for over ten years, and it is has become a holiday tradition for you. Tell us about that.

TS: Aside from decorating for my own family and a few offices, I have had the joy of “bringing Christmas” to a client family by decorating their home for the holidays, including trimming the Christmas tree. For the past few years, my son has helped me, so it truly has become a family tradition for us. Let me just say, this is a BIG tree. Four men set it up and wire it to the wall – then comes the actual decorating. When we started ten years ago the tree had a grand, department store look, with huge, gold dipped pine cones, bows of ribbon and sparkly, red garland. Over the years, as the family has grown and changed, we’ve added paper angels and stars, class pictures attached to paper trees, and the like; giving it an intimate family feel. We incorporate pieces that are meaningful to the family.

NT: This year, you specifically wanted to include Native Trails’ copper star ornaments. What led you to select these?

TS: Every year, I bring the client a little gift – this year, that little something was your stars. As a grandmother, I am very concerned about the future of our planet, so I incorporate sustainable products and materials into my designs whenever possible. I guess you could say this has been even a bigger focus for me this year. Earlier this year, while on a furniture pilgrimage to High Point Market, I learned about and joined the Sustainable Furnishings Council, then took their GREENLeaders training course. So when I learned of Native Trails’ recycled copper holiday ornaments, I felt they were the perfect addition to the tree.
ToniBlog2
NT: Thank you so much for sharing your story and tree decorating with us. It turned out beautifully! You’ve been a kitchen and bath designer for over 20 years, and started your own interiors business two years ago. Is it your commitment to sustainability that led you to Native Trails?

TS: Actually, I was first introduced to Native Trails by a client who specifically wanted your copper Farmhouse sink. The family wanted a rich but organic feeling with a rustic quality that would work with the adjoining spaces of the home, and the warmth of the copper sink was a perfect choice. The sustainability was a huge added benefit.

NT: We’re intrigued that your client led you to us. Are your clients often a source of creative inspiration?

TS: Yes, definitely. I like spaces to be congruous and I like clients to wear their spaces well. I gain inspiration from the space I am working on: its natural surroundings, view, architecture, and ultimately the client’s closet! It’s part of my job to get a good handle on the clients’ needs and style and find the products to make it happen. What I love about this is that I’m always adding to my product knowledge and seeking out the newest product innovations.

NT: If your blog is any evidence, you have a good handle on the newest product innovations, and your product knowledge can definitely be seen in your design style. How would you describe your signature style?

TS: I would describe my current aesthetic as contemporary with a nod to old world elegance and a touch of whimsy added in. I love whimsy. I like to incorporate whimsical touches and organic elements in my designs.

NT: We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for your future designs. Happy Holidays!

For more information on Toni Sabatino, view her website: http://tonisabatinostyle.com/

Thanks so much to Native Trails for the LOVE and I wish all of you the Merriest of Christmas’ and the Happiest of New Years!

XXOO

Art Deco

And The Mandatory Ingredients Are…

I am a huge fan of the the show “chopped” on FoodNetwork. The idea of having several ingredients, not of your own choosing, as the highlights of a sumptuous and well presented meal you are to prepare is so intriguing. I always think that it is the other items in the pantry and fridge, chosen by the chef, that rescue the meal.

I felt like one of the surprised “chopped” chefs when interviewing to remodel an east side apartment. “Make it gorgeous, really glamorous!! Make me love it and my husband will be happy. And… make sure we can use my Icarts, my Lalique glass and my French art collection. Oh… And I have a dog, Oscar, he’s a Cotton de Tulear. It has to work for him, too.” Art Deco, loving husband and a cute white dog. The mandatory ingredients worked for me.

This living room is soft and strong. The furniture is large scale and black accents balance the feminine art work. It is my sort of Ying and Yang tribute to classic romance. Creating the floor-plan and balancing new custom couch, heirloom chairs that we reupholstered, cherished accessories and art and new additions became a six month labor of love.The sparkle of the kitchen and the glamour of the master bath became the stuff of legends in the building while we worked. At one point Tal, the head of our contracting crew rolled his eyes at me. “Really, silver guilt on the cabinets? It’s already full of crystal and glitter….” “Do it…” I said and when it was finished he said he would not question my judgement again.

The vision to create an alluring, inviting space that IS my client is one part clairvoyance, one part whimsy, and two parts trust in myself. The way to make the vision a reality is with a true kick-ass contracting team and I thank West Village GC for keeping my trust in the process.The kitchen and bath have been featured in fabulous consumer publication Embark Magazine as Grand Illusion and trade publication K+BB as Art as Life. I look forward to sharing more of the “salon de familie” , the master bedroom and “Oscar’s room”.

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!