The Best In Bath and Beyond

I’ve been missing for three days, and for good reason. I was traveling. Not for vacation (although there were R&R moments). I was in a state known for “cheeseheads,” lakes, and beer. What I was soon to find out, however, that there was a side to Wisconsin that took my breath away. Okay, it was cold (that explained a little breathlessness), and there was the scenery-endless trees displaying leaves in warm tones of fall lining the streets of a seemingly sleepy little town. One that bears the name of a brand that is a leader in the world of kitchen and bath fixtures, tubs, tile and bath furniture. Have you guessed it yet? If not…well it’s Kohler. Yes, this industry giant (the best in bath and beyond), has a thriving village of over 2,000 of the nicest “down-home” people that I have ever had the pleasure of shaking hands with. Kohler, Wisconsin was originally built in the early 1900′s for Kohler employees, complete with pockets of botanical gardens, art & memorable architecture. All master-planned by the Olmsted brothers (of Central Park fame, and Thompson Park in my hometown). The center-point is a century old factory defined by a symbolic smokestack rising up to meet the clear Wisconsin sky. I wasn’t sure if I was going to arrive in Allentown, PA or a sleepy little New England style town. But behind this picture perfect facade is where some of the most cutting edge product in the kitchen and bath world is not only being developed, but produced. Yes, the buzz words that designers crave….”Made In America.” My Tory Burch clad feet had touched down in a town that centers around a company that is the gold standard in the bath industry (www.kohler.com). But, don’t let the phrase “factory town” fool you because Kohler, Wisconsin is a destination complete with a historic hotel that went from a dormitory for migrant workers decades ago, to a swanky five-star resort complete with a world class championship golf course on the shores of Lake Michigan.

As part of Kohler’s Bloggers Conference 2014, we were treated to a peek inside a warm “family style” corporate culture, “The Beacon” building designed by renowned Chicago architecture firm of Gensler, and a “jaw-dropping” factory tour immersing us in the production of five star products. (Did I mention that Kohler is still a family owned company?). I’ll be sharing the sights of Kohler periodically over the next month starting with the Design Center featuring vignettes from some of the most iconic talent in the design industry. One of the many things that I walked away with was that the tub is not just a tub, and a toilet is not just a toilet- it’s a work of art (crafted with pride in Kohler, Wisconsin). So welcome to the world of Kohler, the best in bath and beyond. I’ll share some of my favorites from the Design Center…but as always there is inspiration in everything we see. All the images you see highlight Kohler products from their fabulous bath lines.

TRISTAN BUTTERFIELD

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 Photos/ Courtesy of Kohler

The hidden room (one of my favorites) was designed by Tristan Butterfield as homage to his years with the National Trust. Although, it’s hard to tell -the room is actually a fabulous shade of pale pink.

JONATHAN ADLER

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 Bottom photo courtesy of Kohler

Yes, I have always loved the eclectic & creative genius of Jonathan Adler, and his “Roccoco Bourdoir” is based on the 2001 Space Odyssey which inspired this surreal environment.

BUNNY WILLIAMS

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Photos/Courtesy of Vicki Gladle Bolick

I love Bunny Williams, and I had the honour of spending a few hours with her and John Roselli at Treillage in NYC this past Spring. She brought such warmth and English sensibility to her space aptly titled “Bath in A Garden Folly.” The bath space was inspired by 18th century Europe and layered in texture, from the marble to the textiles. Of note is the lattice wall treatment reflected in the mirror…

ERIC COHLER

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Top Photo courtesy of Kohler-Bottom photo-Vicki Gladle Bolick

This bathroom was FABULOUS. Pictures simply do not do it justice. This “spa tower” design was the brain child of Eric Cohler, featuring a 14′ castle like shower as an entryway. It was elegant and simply stunning. 

I do want to mention that all the vignettes showcase Kohler product, and I have no doubt that you will be inspired to create your very own dream bath or spa. While my travel expenses were paid courtesy of Kohler, all musings and opinions are as always uniquely my own. I’ll be featuring a few more posts in the next month highlighting my visit to Kohler, Wisconsin.

P.S. Check back tomorrow for the first installment in our new series called “Design Crushin’, ” featuring the incredibly talented and funny, Brian Patrick Flynn.

Don’t forget to follow us on social media for more design inspiration and happenings.

As always.

BE INSPIRED. BE AMAZING.

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Operation :: Kohler Master Bathroom

Next week we begin the total gut of our soon to be utterly fabulous Kohler master bathroom. Our contractor called yesterday and gave me a hard date (next Thursday). So now I’m in panic mode, once the tile is installed there is no time for second guesses, or thirds. We have the tile selection picked out, well sort of. That was until Mr. B. decided that he may not want to go with my idea of a bathroom encased in Carrera. Say what? He’s actually interfering with my dream bath selections? Let’s face it men are in and out of bathrooms unless you are John Stamos, who looks like he spends a lot of quality time in front of the mirror perfecting his pouf. Not so much for Mr. B. for reasons I won’t go into on this post. So it was back to the tile showroom (this morning), I’ll budge on the flooring, but I absolutely will not on the walls and counter-top surfaces, for one thing Kohler supplied us with a positively gorgeous vanity top. Then combine that with the fact that I have dreamed of Carrera subway tile since I took my first baby steps, and you can understand my frustration. In all honesty I’m more concerned with the shower niche in the master bathroom than making any last minute material changes. Yes, I am agonizing over every detail, because unless we move out of state I’m going to be at Casa B. for quite a few more years. So I want it to be a space that I am going to enjoy spending a lot of quality time in…and I can’t wait.

I humoured Mr. B. by making the last and final trip to the tile showroom and with our time constraints I have a feeling that I am going to win this design battle. As most designers know there is a lot you can do with different size tile in the same material, in our case Carrera. So with Herringbone, 12″x24′s,” and subway, the latter of which is going to be an “offset joint” pattern giving the most timeless look, and Herringbone tile on the floor and in the shower niche (I think), I am back to making another flooring decision. In this case, I may have to keep him happy because I want a boat next year. Fair trade off wouldn’t you say? So these are some of the flooring options I’m willing to consider to make my boating dreams a reality in 2015. P.S. As of this moment I have made a decision for the master bathroom floor tile, it was between the two below and I went with honed limestone. Also, stay tuned because next Friday, I’ll give you sneak peek into our progress…

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Yes, I found the “one,” it was a difficult choice but instead of the herringbone Carrera, I decided on the limestone…the showroom lighting was not conducive to photos…

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via homedesignideas9.jpg

When I was considering Carrera this was one of my favorites, I was obsessed with the hexagonal tile…

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Source/desiretoinspire.com

Yes, this was almost a reality  including the tub deck encased in Carrera…

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Designer/ Steven Gambrel

If I had an unlimited budget, I would have flown in Mr. Gambrel on a private jet and given him free reign on the “Master-bath Project”…

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Source/ linenandlavender.net

After seeing the inspiration photos, I’m having second thoughts about the limestone…


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Finally, having a functional niche will be a dream come true. Top image-via Lisa Ferguson, Lower image-via decorpad.com

Next week I’ll be in Kohler, Wisconsin for their Bloggers Conference, and I’ll be reporting back on all the latest and greatest in product design from Kohler.

As always don’t forget to follow us on social media for more design inspiration…

Until then.

BE AMAZING. BE INSPIRED.

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Kohler :: Design With A Vision

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I am a full-fledged interior designer (before I became a full-time design blogger). There were a lot of nights that I made the trek into Atlanta to attend the Atlanta College of Art before it became SCAD (six months shy of graduating before finishing at Vanguard). I can hand draft (and prefer too), read blueprints better than I can my handwriting, and I see the world in terms of balance, symmetry and scale. So when I have a chance to use my hard-earned education, I will. So let’s go back to Spring 2014, I received an e-mail from one of my favorite P/R firms out of NYC, Sharp Communications, and the team of Josh Schoenfelder (Lauren and Kate). Josh wanted to see if I would be interested in designing a vanity with Kohler and then installing it in our home. Well….I thought about it for less than an NY minute, and never looked back. (I do want to mention that one vanity morphed into an entire bath outfitted with fabulous product from Kohler). The opportunity to partner with the leader in kitchen and bath fixtures and furniture was a chance to not only flex my design muscle, but upgrade our builder grade bathroom with cutting edge product and luxury bath cabinets constructed from premium hardwoods. Collaborating with Kohler is a great honour, and with boxes of product filling our garage, I feel like an (overly) excited child eagerly waiting to open her much anticipated Christmas presents. We are a few weeks away from the demo, and have signed on a fabulous contractor, purchased our tile (our master is going to be swathed in Carrera marble, hexagonal tiles for the shower floor, 12″x24″s and subway for the shower walls). All of which will be upstaged by the Kohler vanity, fixtures and lighting. Yes, lighting. Kohler has included every last lavish detail in the Tailored Vanity Collection (you can view the product brochure here) http://kohler.dirxion.com/tailoredvanities/app.php?RelId=6.1.8.2. It’s an opportunity to choose your exterior, choose your interior, choose your top and coordinating components. They have made it easy to customize your bath from a stunning array of choices, for Mr. B and I the challenge was making a decision since we both had our vision of what the master would look like. Typical marital discord over design choices, sound familiar? In the end we chose a 72″ dual sink vanity from the Poplin Collection in Woolen Oak complete with custom drawer dividers, his and hers. Mine has a roll out appliance tray, make-up tray and drawer dividers. Mr. B. chose the side mount power strip and drawer dividers (we’ll share the appliance tray). From the inside to the outside we customized our vanity to reflect the way we live. Kohler has created a collection that is not only “thoughtfully designed”, but beautifully tailored. The vanity is topped with a Solid Expressions top (field trimmable) in white, which will pair beautifully with the Carrera. I love contrasts and the warm woods, paired with subtly veined white marble will transform our bath into a luxe and stunning sanctuary complete with custom features courtesy of Kohler. I want a bath that feels sleek and chic, and this pioneer in kitchen and bath fixture has afforded us an opportunity to create our dream bath including a designer commode, automated shower controls, towel racks, matching vanity mirrors and sophisticated lighting. Kohler’s Tailored Bath Collection truly has something for everyone from cottage style to urban chic, offering an array of choices.

If you followed my personal tour of HGTV’s Urban Oasis 2014  (www.urbanoasis) then you know that Kohler is a sponsor, the baths are resplendent in Kohler product http://www.us.kohler.com/us/Bathroom-Vanities-&-Console-Tables/category/1018351/429204.htm, and all are stunning. I’m so excited to have my readers be a part of this transformation from the demolition of our old master to the “afters.” I’ll be sharing the process from start to finish including tips on how you can build your dream sanctuary. We are even video taping the renovation to document our progress every step of the way and sharing it online. Now for the pictures showcasing some of the product we’ll be using in the transformation, I’m even biting the bullet and using wallpaper in the toilet area (if any of my former clients are reading this I know I’ve always said “no”to wallpaper in a bath, but it’s going to be in the separate toilet room). It’s time to make bold choices in our bath.

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Our Vanity is from Kohler’s Poplin Collection, and we chose the finishes, the inside, sink and top allowing us to customize our choices…

KohlercollageA design concept board for our bathroom, showcasing our product from Koher. (1) Our tile choices, using hexagonal & rectangular Carrera & subway tile. (2) A Kohler Hydrorail Shower Column. (3) The focal point of our bath the Poplin Vanity (ours is dual) from The Tailored Vanity Collection from Kohler. (4) From the “Memoirs” Collection a comfort height toilet. I love the elegant architecture of this piece. (5) The wallpaper for our toilet room, “Mr. Blow in Atlantis” from Walnut Wallpaper (It’s a Blowfish, and I have been obsessed with this wallpaper for a very long time). (6) My plan called for three Puritan Sconces from Kohler, two flanking the mirror and one in the center.

I’ll be sharing more of our selections in the coming weeks as the Master-bath progresses…I want to give a huge thanks to Kohler for making all our Master-bath dreams come true…For more information about The Tailored Bath Collection visit http://kohler.dirxion.com/tailoredvanities/app.php?RelId=6.1.8.2

As a side note: we received product as compensation for our collaboration and blog posts, but as always the musings and opinions are purely my own.

Until next time,

BE INSPIRED. BE AMAZING.

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