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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Lights, Action And Fabulous Ceiling Lights

I’m on the hunt for three new ceiling lights at Casa B. two for the new Master-bath, and one for the guest room. I’d say the exhaustive search has been going on for at least three years or more. Originally I was going to put a Hicks Pendant in the guest room, then the worst thing that could happen did. It ended up in just about every home that graced the pages of every shelter magazine that I subscribe to and in numerous photos floating around on the internet. I say that with more than a hint of jealousy and frustration. Of course, that meant the search began again (because the Hicks Light went the way of the Schoolhouse Light, every lucky soul has one). I crave the unique and different. The fun side of me wanted to put a disco ball in the guest room, (the only person that really uses it is my mother-in-law and well…let’s not go there). Tommy Hilfiger gave me the idea when I saw one in his Miami Beach home (he can afford to have a lot of fun), but the practical side of me thinks I should keep up the search. Then I went to HGTV’s Urban Oasis and have been obsessing over the ceiling light from Golden Lighting. At over 2K, it’s going to be a very hard sell to Mr. B. However, there are other contenders and yes I am the type that always thinks something better is going to come along (sound familiar?). My pining for the perfect light explains the gaping hole in the middle of the ceiling in the guest room. Not big enough to swallow my mother-in-law, although she says it is. However, it is a reminder that I need to find the ultimate ceiling light. At the very least before January 2015 when I have to reveal the guest-room in Taylor Burke Home’s “Style It Challenge.” Yes, I’m honoured to say that I was one of the five bloggers chosen to participate, and with One Kings Lane as a partner and some serious talent, I’m feeling just a little pressure. We are (happily) required to use the iconic x-bench in a design, we had to pick a room (the guest room is my top choice), and then we reveal it at the beginning of the year. Of the five of us, they’ll be choosing a winner. I’d like to say “game-on”, but all the bloggers are so nice that I’m just thrilled to be picked. Where’s my competitive spirit? Oh, it’s here, it’s just resting for a bit before the push starts.

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via appartusstudio.com (www.appartusstudio.com)

Sculptural lighting is so hot right now, and its obvious why. I would gladly use one of  the”Cloud Ball” lights over the guest bed.

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via bocadolobo.com (www.bocadolobo.com)

Boca Dolobo has some positively stunning examples of scultural lighting, I dream of the Newton lamp in our guest room. 

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via shadesoflight.com

The Cassini light would give the right amount of glam to the space.

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via AllModern.com (AllModern.com)

This stunner is number one on my list of lights for our upcoming Master-bath project which is scheduled to start next week…

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via jonathanadler.com (www.jonathanadler.com)

Or I may go with brass in the guestroom, who doesn’t love Jonathan Adler?

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via Minka Lavery (minkalavery.com)

This is another option for the Master-bath, it has the right amount of glam and modern sensibility…

Soon, I’ll reveal my final choice…I just have to consult with Mr. B. (just to make him feel part of the process)…Also, we are excited to announce a brand new series starting soon. It’s called “Design Crushin” and we will interview a designer who will reveal their design crush, of whom will be the subject of the next interview and it will be continued indefinitely. It’s going to be fun to reveal each designers crush at the end of each post, and of course I’ll be starting it off with my design crush. I’m waiting to hear back from his P/R person. It’s going to be great fun, and I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for more design inspiration…

As always,

BE INSPIRED. BE AMAZING.

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