Wednesday, 10 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: Victoria + Albert Baths

Victoria + Albert Baths, a sponsor of BlogTourNYC, are a British company who create beautiful bath tubs and basins. They use QUARRYCAST® to make their bath tubs which is a blend of volcanic limestone and high performance resins. Naturally white, each item is individually hand-finished by craftsmen at their factory based in South Africa. 

What I really like about Victoria + Albert is that they cover the whole design spectrum for bathrooms with styles ranging from minimalist contemporary to classic roll tops.

Victoria + Albert Baths || Toulouse 

My favourite bath tub from the Classic collection is the Toulouse - it looks wonderfully luxurious. I also love the styling of this photograph with the wooden painted floors, distressed doors to the right, and the delicate cabriole legs of the table housing the wash basin. Definitely my cup of tea.

Victoria + Albert Baths || Toulouse 

Doesn't that look relaxing? I love the exposed brick walls too in the photograph above. Having said that, my eye was also caught by the Cabrits which is completely different to the Toulouse.

Victoria + Albert Baths || Cabritis

Victoria + Albert Baths || Cabrits

The Cabrits bath tub is contoured to fit the body which makes it a very comfortable fit. How do I know this? I tried it out at the AD Home Design Show - fully clothed of course.

Victoria + Albert Baths || we saw their stand at the AD Home Design Show and got to try out the baths!

Victoria + Albert Baths || me and Gem Barton, fellow BlogTourNYC blogger

As you can see, BlogTourNYC is terribly hard work. It was actually lovely after being on our feet all day at the AD Home Design Show to put our feet up - if only for a photo opportunity!

Thank you Victoria + Albert Baths for sponsoring BlogTourNYC and making it a trip of a lifetime. If you'd like to find out more about Victoria + Albert Baths in the UK, there is a showroom in the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour or you can visit their website to find your nearest dealer.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: Miele

Miele, pronounced 'Tequila', were one of the fabulous BlogTourNYC sponsors. We had such a wonderful time thanks to their incredible hospitality. Miele, together with Corcoran Real Estate organised a real estate tour on the afternoon of Day 1 which was, frankly, mind-blowing. We were able to view some of the most incredible apartments available in New York and there was one in particular which I completely fell in love with... separate blog posts coming soon. Sorry, there is way too much to cover... you'll thank me afterwards, I promise. 

Anyway, after the tour we were invited by Miele to the Architects & Designers Building in Manhattan to visit their Miele Gallery. There are ten Miele galleries across the US, and each of these inspiring resource centres has its own calendar of events that are open to the public, including, product cooking presentations, MasterChef Classes, Wine Tastings and lots of other events.

We were invited to a special dinner, with chef Joey Campanaro from Little Owl, who used local, seasonal produce to make a spectacular 4 course feast using Miele appliances. For someone like me who learnt to cook on an Aga, it was kind of amazing to see the combi-steam oven in action. With a mind-boggling 100 automated programme settings to cook a variety of meats, vegetables and grains, plus step-by-step instructions as you go, not to mention five specialty Miele MasterChef gourmet programmes which incorporate slow cooking techniques, you can imagine why it was so cool to see it in action. 

Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - Joey Campanaro is in the red jacket
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - Little Owl serving canapes and drinks - we were so spoilt.
Gem Barton acting as Joey's sous chef, Tina Ramchandani on the right tweeting away.
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - lovely ingredients
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - cooking the first course
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - Poached Maine Lobster with asparagus flan, endive and basil vinaigriette
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - BlogTourNYC bloggers Zoe Brewer and Lori Gilder

Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - Tina Ramchandani, BlogTourNYC bloggers Emily Blunden and Mike Welton
Miele Gallery, A&D Building, Manhattan - our goodie bags all lined up (told you we got spoilt!)
Thank you so much Miele for spoiling us bloggers absolutely rotten and sponsoring the wonderful BlogTourNYC. It was such a fun evening with amazing company, incredible food and a fabulous chance to see such innovative and inspiring Miele products in action.

Monday, 8 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: Du Verre, The Hardware Co.

One of the perks of BlogTourNYC was being able to spend time with the representatives of the sponsors. As a small business owner myself, it is always fascinating to me to hear how others started up. So that is why meeting and spending time with Gina Lubin, CEO and Creative Director of Du Verre Hardware, was such a huge pleasure. Du Verre design and manufacture cabinet hardware. They work with a raft of highly respected designers to create unique collections of knobs and pulls for fine furniture and interiors. I love that the hardware is finished by hand, which means there are small variations in the final colour. So, not only does this add warmth and beauty to each piece, it makes each piece completely unique. 

Images kindly supplied by Du Verre Hardware || Clock-wise from Top Left: TORONTO KITCHEN with Scot Laughton and Heinz Pfleger // POMEGRANATE by Heinz Pfleger // LOTUS by William Harvey // RIO COLLECTION by Gina Lubin 

We got to spend time with Gina at the dinner on our first night at Isabella's. After a long day of travelling, my chat wasn't up to much (when is it ever), but luckily there were plenty more opportunities to catch up. Gina kindly agreed to do a short interview focusing on the business side of things which was super interesting. 

So, I'm always curious to know how others work when they run their own businesses. Can you describe a typical day for you?

My days at Du Verre are quite varied. My office is full of samples, prototypes, hardware, photography equipment, drawings and inspiration pieces. Did I mention computers?! There is always music playing.

On a good day, there is a hum of activity and we’re all in the zone each doing our part. We might be approving a new range of hardware, contemplating new finishes, planning a product launch or trying to figure out the Internet! Our head office is our think tank and laboratory all at the same time.

You personally designed the Rio range (see above bottom left), are you working on any new designs currently?

Yes. We have a new collection coming out very soon. It is another great William Harvey design. It’s all curves! I love it.

As for me, I am always drawing and sculpting. There should be some more original Gina Lubin designs by the end of the year. I’d love to have more of my pieces on offer but work sometimes gets in the way.

When you and Gavin set up Du Verre Hardware, how did you divide up the responsibilities between yourselves?

Gavin is not only my partner but my husband as well. We have worked successfully together for many years. I am the upfront person. He is more behind the scenes.

We both work on the design side. Gavin is our photographer and has created all the beautiful imagery that we use on our website and in our catalogues. I curate the designs, bring the ideas together and transform them into hardware.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud of the hardware that we produce. Sometimes when I see the incredible people and companies that are using our hardware, I am blown away. We are a small boutique firm and yet we have earned the respect of the design community.

What advice can you give to anyone thinking of setting up their own business?

Having your own business is not for the faint of heart but I always knew that it was what I wanted. I guess it comes down to passion and hard work. So, it helps to do something you love. 

My business, while quite small compared to some, has been the most fabulous experience. It has taken me around the world. I have met incredible people and worked in several countries. And, we have managed to do it on our own terms. What more can you ask?

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I found Gina really inspiring and motivating and I hope you have too. She has spurred me on even more with my business West Egg, for which I am very grateful. Thank you Gina so much for sponsoring BlogTourNYC, it was amazing to meet you and I can't wait to see you in London in September! 

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: Silestone by Cosentino

In my last few posts about BlogTourNYC, I've mentioned Silestone by Cosentino a few times without properly introducing them. Lorenzo Marquez, VP of Marketing, gave us an introduction to this family owned business at the brunch at the Poggenpohl Kitchen Design Studio. Consentino, a world leader in the natural stone sector, have been working with Silestone since 1994. This family owned business originated in Almeria, Spain, is dedicated to the innovative development of kitchen surfaces so it's not surprise they chose to work with Silestone, a naturally beautiful but also durable quartz. 

Silestone is the only kitchen surface made of quartz that also encompasses antibacterial properties. No one else is doing this, I love that. 

Lorenzo talked us through some of the 60 colour shades available. Interestingly, white, which was their 36th best seller a few years aho, is now their No 1. And, Silestone gurantee that White Zeus is the whitest counter top on the market today. 

Neutral kitchen design has always been the safe choice because as everyone knows, kitchens sell houses. And not everyone likes a red kitchen. Now however, with the progression of new neutrals - whites, blacks, greys, there are so many more possibilities to personalise your kitchen space without compromising on the re-sale value of your home. 

I love this kitchen above, the matte finish of the Silestone surfaces are so perfectly modern and fresh. They also offer one more advantage over the polished marble; low maintenance. You just use good old soap and water. Simple. 

Thank you Silestone by Consentino for sponsoring BlogTourNYC. It has been such a pleasure learning about your products and company. 

All images reproduced with kind permission from Silestone by Cosentino.

Monday, 1 April 2013

BlogTourNYC || Sponsor Profile: BLANCO

I never thought I would get excited about a kitchen sink. Having lived in army married quarters for several years, I can get annoyed and frustrated. Definitely not excited. Then I went on BlogTourNYC and my eyes were opened. Wide. 

As one of the sponsors of BlogTourNYC, BLANCO, together with Poggenpohl and Silestone by Consentino, invited us to a special brunch held at the Poggenpohl kitchen design studio on Park Avenue. As I mentioned in my last post about Poggenpohl, it was a lot of fun! But I also learnt a great deal too because we were introduced to Christy Emens, the Marketing and Social Media Manager for BLANCO America. Christy's talk about some of their new products, and in particular, the Modex kitchen sink workstation, was a highlight of the brunch. Christy's passion for her work and her pride in BLANCO's heritage, engineering and design were so inspiring and a great reflection of the company. 

{From clockwise: 1) Ricarda Nieswandt and Lisa Goulet, 2) the ultimate kitchen sink: Modex by BLANCO, 3) me and Zoe Brewer, 4) Sarah Sarna and Tina Ramchandani and 5) Christy Emens. Photos 1), 3) and 4) by Courtney Price. Photos 2) and 5) by Louisa Blackmore.

So, anyway, this kitchen sink. It's pretty clever. The Modex sink, part of the BLANCO SILGRANIT® II collection features a distinct raised profile and innovative dual draining system. Simply put, this means the water actually drains into the sink basin rather than collecting on the surface. A fellow BlogTourNYC blogger, Gem Barton, wrote a fantastic post comparing the Modex to the drainage of a flat roof called "3 Degrees of Perfection" - take a look here to read more. 

As beautifully designed as it is, the Modex also ticks all the boxes from a practical and functional point of view. Because it's made from BLANCO's patented SILGRANIT II fornula, the Modex sink is resistant to heat, chips, scratches, food acids and also incorporates a Hygienic+Plus shield again bacteria and dirt. See, I told you it was clever. Available in 3 colours - Cinder, Anthracite and White, this sink also won a Red Dot International Design Award in 2012. The Modex sink above is shown in "Cinder" which is a newly available colour by BLANCO. Cinder has a little black and a little brown mixed in, so it's versatile, classic and looks really good with stainless steel too.

We also saw some of the equally fabulous BLANCO faucets, sorry, taps for us Brits. The designs coordinate with the BLANCO stainless and SILGRANIT II kitchen sinks. Naturally, they are made from the highest quality materials so, as well as beautiful design, you also get spectacular craftsmanship and unsurpassed functionality. And all in a tap! Pretty amazing.

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Thank you to Modenus and the sponsors of a BlogTourNYC Miele, Mr. Steam, Silestone by Cosentino, Blanco, Poggenpohl, Du Verre, Barber Wilsons, NKBA, Jenn Air and Victoria + Abert for the trip of a lifetime!