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.

 

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.

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

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Robern Brand Ambassador …. that’s me!

I am so excited to share my thoughts on design and my love for this great product!

Thanks to Robern for this great piece and wonderful opportunity to share the love!

From the “ROBERN BLOG”

Thinking big with designer Toni Sabatino

Good design should make a statement. Interior designer and Robern Brand Ambassador Toni Sabatino’s statement is clear: go big, or go home.

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Toni is the owner and lead designer of Toni Sabatino Style, an interior design firm in New York with a specialty in creating custom, distinctive interiors that mix an array of styles from classic to contemporary and grandiose to minimalist.

“I like to combine the lifestyle needs of a client with some inspiration that shows who they are,” Toni said. “I love the newly designed space to fit the client like a custom suit.”

Toni began her career in retail, followed by a stint running a plumbing supply company. She transitioned to design work as a kitchen and millwork expert for LIS Custom Designs, a New York cabinetry distributor, where she spent almost 20 years building a portfolio of more than 1000 kitchen designs.  She founded Toni Sabatino Style in 2012, and she has sat on the K+BB Editorial Advisory Board since 2013.

Toni often utilizes Robern products in her bathroom designs, including her personal favorite, the Uplift cabinet. She finds that the 6” depth and signature vertically sliding door make for amazing storage.

Each of Toni’s design projects begins with a lifestyle analysis of the client’s storage and furnishing needs, as well as their desires and personal styles. For example, she often takes color inspiration for a space from a client’s closet. “I like to dress the space in a manner that they would dress themselves,” she said.

Toni takes much of her design inspiration from fashion, art and music, interests that she has been able to nurture with ease while living near the Big Apple. “ I find the city very stimulating,” she said. She also finds inspiration in the natural world, especially from aquatic environments like beaches and waterfalls.

In her free time, Toni relaxes and recharges by spending time with her grandchildren. She also enjoys attending gallery openings, museum exhibits and performances in New York.

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!

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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!

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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!