Monday, May 21, 2018

Sneak Peek: A Roomy, Contemporary Master Bathroom by Fiorito Interior Design

I realized I often post my finished projects but don't share the process. Sometimes clients come to me whose only exposure to interior design has unfortunately been through home improvement television channels like HGTV which feature shows making design seem quick and simple, shows that remodel a room in a few days, shows that give a false impression of speed and economy (I don't think any of my clients have ever wanted me to design a space as crucial as a kitchen or bathroom where quality and longevity are of utmost importance "on a dime").

In reality, design is a process that takes--or should take--time and deliberation. I love working with clients and collaborating on a space that makes them feel comfortable and me feel proud to have created something unique. It is always very fulfilling for us--all of my clients--to have conjured up something wonderful out of nothing.

With that in mind, here is a sneak peek of a master bathroom I have been working on for quite a while. After doing this client's guest bathroom and seeing how a refreshed and energized space can make a difference in how one feels about one's home, he decided to embark on the process for his master bathroom. This is a truly large bathroom that includes a shower and separate bath tub. The vanity comes in at nearly 11' long! And a separate water closet makes the space feel incredibly roomy.

The layout was clearly not an issue so we decided to replace all the dated elements that were installed in the 1980s when the home was built. We are replacing the extra-long vanity since the old one was too low at 28" (a common issue with older bathrooms) and had an antiquated seated-vanity spot. Another oddity was how the sinks were shoved into the corners...perhaps so they could be centered under those dreadful fluorescent-lit overhead soffits (which are also being removed)?

The new vanity configuration will not only look better but will function better for ease of use and storage.

My client liked his full-wall mirror so my original concept involved framing it and mounting vertical sconces on the mirror itself.

Instead, in collaboration, we are mounting these long, slim sconces above the mirror itself.

The entire shower and tub wall are being clad in a gorgeous marble-look porcelain tile that comes in a mammoth 3' x 3' format.

And the floor will be covered in a textural grey tile based on Zebrano stone, and laid in an engaging herringbone pattern. The striations in this porcelain tile will make the floor a point of interest.

For sink, shower, and tub hardware, I am using Brizo's wonderfully sleek Odin collection.

The old built-in tub is being removed to make way for a larger walk-in shower and a free-standing tub with a modern but sinuous form from MTI.

Finally, I wanted some kind of impressive statement pendant light to preside over the entire space since the volume is there with a cathedral ceiling that peaks at 12'! I had shown some choices to my client but nothing seemed to hit the spot. But then while on vacation in Italy, he texted me a photo of a light fixture from a restaurant in Florence. I loved the vibe and I was able to find something that matched it. This modern mobile-like chandelier can be fitted with either Edison or globe lamps.

All the components are waiting in the garage for the contractor! I am eager to share it with you once it is done and photographed. Stay tuned!

Happy designing!

Monday, May 14, 2018

"Akari: Sculpture By Other Means"--The Lighting of Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Nogchi was a multi-disciplinary Modernist master. Born in Los Angeles in 1904 to a Japanese father and white mother, Noguchi grew up in Japan until he was 13. During these formative years, he clearly absorbed the respect and love of craft and form. He studied art and sculpture (with Constantin Brâncuși among others!) and created a vast body of work ranging from environmental design and sculptural gardens to product design to children's playgrounds to furniture design to sets for choreographers Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, and George Balanchine, and composer John Cage. “Everything is sculpture,” Noguchi said. “Any material, any idea without hindrance born into space, I consider sculpture."

I previously created a post here about Noguchi's iconic cocktail table consisting of two boomerang-shaped pieces of wood delicately supporting a glass top. And I have been meaning to follow up that post with one about his equally iconic paper lanterns which became part of Mid-Century design as well. Since the Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, New York is currently presenting "Akari: Scuplture By Other Means" featuring an unprecedented collection of his paper lanterns, now seems the perfect time.

The museum exhibition information says:
"Akari: Sculpture by Other Means occupies the Museum’s second-floor galleries. It includes several installations that allow visitors to experience ways that Isamu Noguchi’s Akari—a modular ecosystem of lightweight, collapsible paper lanterns—can create and transform space.

Noguchi’s electrified paper, bamboo, and metal Akari light sculptures have quietly become among the most ubiquitous sculptures on Earth. Their origins lie in 1951 when, on a trip to a still devastated post-war Japan, Noguchi was asked by the mayor of the small town of Gifu City to help revitalize the local lantern industry by creating a modern lamp for export using the traditional washi paper (made by hand from the inner bark of the mulberry tree) and bamboo.

Inspired by the lanterns that illuminated night fishing on the Nagara River, Noguchi worked with local firm Ozeki & Co. to combine the elements of the traditional paper lantern with electricity. He designed a dizzying array of new forms—creating contemporary art by marrying ancient craft with the defining technology of the twentieth-century. He would go on to create more than 200 models of Akari, including an entire line for his exhibition for the American Pavilion at the 1986 Venice Biennale, in the process receiving five American and thirty-one Japanese patents.

The installations in Sculpture by Other Means create a series of environments that convey the essential values of Akari, drawing on the organizational, structural and ephemeral qualities of nature, and exemplifying Noguchi’s concept of light as both place and object. These include the chamber-like Akari PL1 and an eight-foot cube made of illuminated PL2 panels.

Also featured is the Akari 200D, a two-meter wide globe Noguchi made for his 1986 Venice Biennale presentation (titled, tellingly, Isamu Noguchi: What is Sculpture?). Designed in 1985, the 200D is the largest Akari that Noguchi ever created. It is displayed here as it was at the Biennale, in a large wood-frame box, based on a Japanese display niche, that Noguchi made for that exhibition."

All exhibition photos above by Nicholas Knight via Design Boom

"Akari: Sculpture By Other Means" shows through Sunday, January 27, 2019. If you are in, near, or will be near Long Island City, this is a great opportunity. Contact the museum for more information.

Happy designing!

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Light, Airy Kitchen by Fiorito Interior Design

Acquiring a new house is an exciting occasion but often has many challenges. So when my clients moved here to California from the east coast and purchased a home that was built in 1967, they came to me to help modernize and update the house that clearly had not been touched since the 70s. For the kitchen, we removed the dated orange oak cabinetry, tile counter tops (with pesky large grout lines), and cracked terra cotta flooring. This enabled us to start from scratch so we could create a light, bright kitchen in the soft fog and forest colors of the coastal mountain region of our area here in Northern California.

White cabinetry and light neutrals in the space create an airy, open feeling. European white oak flooring contributes to the organic feeling and grounds the space. New appliances (including a French-door Sub Zero refrigerator and a Wolf oven with coordinating microwave), hand-forged iron light fixtures, and a luxurious Crema Marfil marble counter and mosaic backsplash elevate this kitchen while the custom drapery panels, trestle table, and custom chairs in the dining area allow the kitchen to retain a casual, contemporary-California atmosphere.

All after photos by Bernardo Grijalva

Here is what it looked like before we gave it a new lease of life!

And here is the empty kitchen, just in drywall and ply sub-flooring, waiting to be made beautiful.

Do you have a dated kitchen that needs a lift? Call me!

Happy designing!

Monday, April 30, 2018

A Kitchen Light That Kills Bacteria and Germs!

Here is an amazing new product I must share with you. A company called Vital Vio in Troy, New York has created a light fixture that actually destroys germs and bacteria. This promises to be a valuable addition to the design and lighting of hospitals, gyms, restaurants, airplanes, and offices, but also residential kitchens as well, where germs on counters are prevalent and food safety is a top priority. Called ellumi™, Vital Vio’s White Light Disinfection™ LED Technology uses photo-activation to produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) which causes irreparable damage to the cellular structure of bacteria and germs.

Their website states:

Make ellumi™ work for you

*Continuous around the clock cleaning so you don't have to

*Built in dimmer switch so you control the amount of light

*Direct-Mount or Plug-in let's you choose the best installation for your home

*LED light provides energy savings which means more money in your pocket

How ellumi™ Works

University researchers have proven that specific wavelengths of light actually inhibit bacteria reproduction and destroy cells.

This is effective on Strep, Staph/MRSA, E. Coli, Salmonella and 18 other bacteria.

The light excites certain molecules in harmful microorganisms through photo-activation.

These molecules produce Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), causing cell wall damage and death over time.

The units are available in four sizes and range in price from $100 to $200.

While the profile is a bit chunky, it can be hidden with the addition of a rail. And eventually, I am sure they will make a tape strip like most LED under-cabinet lighting available now.

Happy designing!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Michael Aram's Orchids By Artistic Tile

Every now and then, my design radar picks up a product that boggles my mind. And these three dimensional tiles are doing just that.

Based on Michael Aram's White Orchid Collection of dinner and housewares, these inspiring tiles he created in conjunction with Artistic Tile are simply jaw-dropping. Orchids are waterjet sculpted out of white Thassos marble and placed on a background of grey and white Bianco Carrara marble for a stunning look. While they are not suitable for wet locations like a shower, the tile could be applied to a vanity wall in a bathroom--or it could be used as a very special tile accent in a kitchen area.

I hope these tiles inspire you the way they have me.
Happy designing!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Crazy or Cool? Wood Sinks

It may seem crazy to make a sink out of wood, but if created and finished properly, a wooden sink can function like a sink made of porcelain or glass.

Happy designing!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Curated Floating Vanities From Robern

Robern, a leader in bathroom amenities and furnishings has introduced a new program of floating vanities. The Curated Cartesian Vanity collection is a great opportunity to being a high-end look to your bathroom or powder room. Vanities come in single, double, or triple drawers in white, grey, or smoked mirror. Features offered include spacious drawers and tip-out storage options, in-drawer electric outlets, hot storage, and LED night lights. And conveniently, Robern has paired with Cosentino, makers of Silestone to provide quartz counter tops for this line, which is fantastic for designers since it is always difficult finding a remnant small enough for a single vanity like this. Problem solved!

Visit their website here to see more!

Happy designing!