Category Archives: kitchen design

“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.

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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.

 

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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 :)

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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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.

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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!

 

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.

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up-cycled piece

 

The “Magic Box” We Commonly Call The Oven

Great neck cottage 1As a kid I was obsessed with magicians and magic tricks. Alacazam!! and the rabbit disappears in the hat…. Alacazoo!!!! and a bauble appears in what was an empty hand. I was amazed. As an adult, I am still obsessed with what I consider a certain magic although it can also be explained as technology. I consider appliances, especially ovens, to be magic boxes of a very special sort. Allacazam! I shout to my grandson as I put the gooey egg mixture in the oven. Alacazzoooom!!! I shout this time, 16 minutes later when a perfect cheese soufflé emerges from the magic box we commonly call the oven. “Wow, look what happened!” he says as I did back when I was a kid. Ovens were magic back then. Now, although totally explainable they are still magic to me, nonetheless. Todays’ breed of appliances is even more amazing with the introduction of steam as well as the convection I have come to love. Although I love the cooktop and wall oven arrangement above, my current favorite “magic box” is the Pro Grand Steam range from Thermador.photo 2 This 48″ magic box includes seven cooking options. All of them are impressive and sure to thrill the home chef. I love this piece because everything is in easy reach for my “cooking station”. The built in warming drawer can warm my plates or allow my cauliflower gratin to stay moist and serving temperature while I’m searing steaks and my rosemary biscuits are magically rising in the conventional oven with convection option. The steam oven can be used to quickly make healthy meals from fresh wholesome ingredients without the need for added fats and oils. The steam oven can also be used for proofing. A nice feature for home bakers. The griddle option is perfect for that leisurely Sunday morning pancake breakfast, warming drawer so useful for warming plates or keeping the pancakes just perfect so everyone can eat together. All in all, I find the amount of cooking versatility built into 48″ to be a pretty magical thing. Cooking appliances are where I start when planning your magical dream kitchen. The rabbit and top hat are optional!

Summing Up Design and Construction Week

show collage 4So what is Design and Construction Week? Let me sum it up with this little equation: Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) + International Builders’ Show (IBS) = Design and Construction Week.

As a new member of the K+BB Editorial Advisory Board, I made my best effort to walk the entire show, seeking out beauty, function and innovation. I really enjoyed the fabulous booths from some of my industry favorites like Kohler, Wellborn, Robern and Brizo. I also loved the retro Merillat kitchen set up as a mid-century modern photo booth. A show highlight for me was finding the booth featuring the Falmec Mare E.Ion hood that I helped to select as winner of the Kitchen Product of the Year in the K+BB Product Innovator Awards. Another highlight came on Thursday morning. During a light drizzle, I took the bus ride out to The 2014 New American Home. The home was fabulous! Although a two story, indoor water fall may not be practical for most of my market, I was inspired to see some stunning wall treatments, innovative outdoor living spaces, beautiful baths and …you guessed it… an open kitchen plan.

Now for my show favorite, and let me say it is true I might be biased in favor of certain lines. I have long been a fan of Thermador . From the introduction of the pro grand range and refrigeration columns through to the steam ovens, coffee systems, and now the frameless induction cooktop series, I have enjoyed showing my foodie clients all that this line has to offer. My unabashed enthusiasm for this appliance company with the tag line “No Dinner Party Too Large”  has actually led to a position on their design council and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Thermador + Bosch + Caesarstone + Genius Design of Mick de Giulio = One Killer IBS Booth!

So, yes, happily biased, but all that aside, the IBS booth featuring Thermador, Bosch and Caesarstone, designed by Mick de Giulio was amazing! The simple, clean lines, open flow and textural choices were stunning. I especially loved the use of polished steel in one of the Caesarstone countertops. I really enjoyed watching Chef Kyle create the perfect tuna bite on the new induction cooktop with accessory Teppanyaki pan. I enjoyed eating it, too! Relaxing in the lounge area adjoining the functioning kitchen, I took in the Caesarstone presentation of the “House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year Retrospective”. It reinforced all that I believe about kitchen-centric design. I have always felt that open kitchen plans honor the foodie, the entertainer and most simply, the family.

So I will close with this equation: Open Kitchen + Innovative Design + Friends and Family = Good Living!

Are You Happy In The Kitchen?

Well. are you?

If you are a foodie, a kitchen that makes you happy is a true necessity. Having gadgets and makers, a few great cookbooks and recipes, along with great cookware and a good set of knives are essential in my view. Gramps always said that you need the right tool to do a good job. I find that there is nothing like standing at the rangetop and grabbing the wisk from the adjacent drawer as you whip up that Hollandaise! Or looking into your well organized, partitioned drawer and grabbing your pancake flipper just before that batter starts to bubble. Maybe you need a lowered counter surface for baking and rolling out dough. A cookbook shelf may be something you need or a spot for that European style coffee maker you just have to have? What about that cheese curler you can also use for chocolate. Such a great gift, just what you wanted but where, oh where, are you going to put it? Designing a kitchen that flows with organization and looks like a dream is where I come in. I am knowledgeable and actually passionate about such things as warming drawers that will take a full sized catering sheet, ventilation cfm’s and convertible refrigeration. I will discuss your shopping habits, fresh food needs and storage requirements for both the things you already have and those you haven’t gotten yet because you had no place to put them. And then? I bet you’ll be truly happy in your kitchen!

Because design is simply everywhere…

design perspective 3

According to Miriam Webster design is a verb, defined as : to plan and make (something) for a specific use or purpose.

Why do I love being an interior designer? Well, because design is simply everywhere, in everything we see, everything we use…

The past few weeks brought a set of ups and downs that had me looking around long and hard for directional cues. Breakdowns in technology hardware and software had me assessing the benefits of purchases to upgrade my tools like never before and really focusing on what design really means in my world.

Early this week, working on the total renovation of a kitchen on suburban Long Island had me assessing the needs of a family with young children, drawing out the space, providing computer aided drawings, and offering algebra advice to the daughter of a client.

Spending time with Andrea, a man from Italy, here in the US to establish a brand presence for an Italian cabinet company had us talking universal design, changing lifestyles, durability of materials, cost factors and the emotion that an interior creates when we are in it. We spent time walking the kitchen showrooms of the A&D looking for innovations and making comparisons in the myriad of products meant to enhance the enjoyment of this all important room.

Attending the “What’s New, What’s Next” event at the NYDC had me viewing the latest and greatest at some of the designer showrooms and I learned from a colleague that “slipper chairs” were actually designed for women in corsets to be able to reach their feet to put on their slippers. Form following function…….

An internet twitter chat yielded a great conversation on the benefits of radiant heat. A company called Warmboard has a newish product that actually performs well with wood flooring. I find this to be truly innovative and a great benefit in the kitchen. I have always loved toasty toes and the ability to design a cabinetry filled room without the encumbrance of baseboard heat. Truly a good design.

A visit from my daughter’s family to celebrate some family milestones had us enjoying the large scale beauty of Oheka Castle, designed for Otto Kahn as a true single family palace before the Great Depression, and appreciating the design of Central Park, with play grounds, ball fields, food carts, restaurants, nature conservancy and much to amuse worked into the 778 acres centrally located in my favorite city. I also thought about someone actually designing that brightly colored sippy cup that kept the spring water from pouring all over my grandson’s jersey.

So where did that leave me? Loving the career I have chosen and excited about my new computer, printer and in particular the new version of software I have chosen that will aid me in presenting my room designs to the clients I serve.

If your kitchen isn’t the “HEART” of your home, maybe it should be…

Thanks to my wonderful client for sending me this photo.

Thanks to my wonderful client for sending me this photo.

As an interior designer I find my work to be Kitchen-centric. What do I mean? That the kitchen is the heart of the homes I work in. I don’t think you can overstate the importance of the kitchen and bath industry in our ever changing culture. There is the desire by “Boomers” to “age-in-place” and the economy has created the necessity for more multigenerational families. This combined with the popularity of the FOOD NETWORK and what is being referred to as the “slow food’ culture really accentuate the need for good design in these all important spaces in our homes. In regard to the kitchen, our fast paced lifestyle has given rise to the need for quality down time, enjoyed sharing meals with our family and friends. Creating a space that meets cooking, entertaining and storage needs can really enhance your life. Most of my clients are foodies or they would like to be. I have also noticed more people shopping with increasing regularity at the fresh markets popping up all over my beloved New York City and Long Island. Sales of luxury appliances are on the rise at my favorite local appliance haunt, showing that people are willing to invest in this all important room. I feel that having a kitchen open to an adjoining space really makes for better living. It just needs to be well designed so that the chaos and clutter are minimized. Even creating a simple dinner seems less of a chore in a well designed open environment. Have the tools you need at hand and ample storage for the ingredients and it all seems so much simpler. Thinking about the mail and magazines and matchbox cars on the counter? We can make a place for that. Need a computer station or TV in the kitchen to catch the morning news while having breakfast? We can make a place for that, too. Maybe it is that all important family command center with calendars and notices, or drawers for crayons and kids things…regardless … life happens in the kitchen. Creating your perfect kitchen-centric design is my job. If you’re looking to get your home in working order for a life that works start with the kitchen and drop me a note.

The Land Of Milk And Honey

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Given a big great room-kitchen addition and a blank slate, I was dreaming up ideas for a client that loves to cook for her family. I started thinking comfort food…. Rice pudding? Chicken soup? Steak and eggs?
Then I thought of honey. As a kid, I would happily watch the golden drizzle puddle on my toast. That rich amber tone of a glistening bottle of organic honey became my inspiration.
The water jet deco glass tiles in the splash really bring that honey amber tone to life. Paired with the milky tone of the glazed white cabinets, it was a natural. These warm tones mixed with the cinnamon in the stone tops create homey warmth that doesn’t overpower in a large room that doesn’t have a high ceiling. All in all a recipe for comfortable family living.

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