Welcome to my Musings on Design

interior design

Another Suburban Remodel Lives Happily Ever After…….

Updating a home can become very expensive, and the ability to make reasonable dreams come true within a reasonable budget is one of my best “Fairy Houzz Mother” tricks…..Dark cabinets don’t have to make the kitchen look smaller. This kitchen was a 1980’s white formica laminate with radius ends and a truly dated look. This alder wood cabinetry in a rich dark finish mixed with sunny golden tones creates warmth without giving the kitchen a “closed in” feel. Reworking the plan within the existing footprint created more storage and a better work flow without the expense of an addition….and so both the budget and the kitchen lived happily ever after……

TONI SABATINO     tonisab@optonline.net    516-972-5455

Installation by Ross Portenoy,         

 Touch of Class Home Improvements, Long Island, NY


Kitchen for a Sunny Seaside Retreat

This kitchen remodel took it’s inspiration from some wooden wall art with a boating motif. The room needed updating but there was a desire to keep some of the home’s cozy personality. The artwork and charts reflected  the home owners’ love of the sea and created a wonderful pallette for texture and color. We decided to keep the old natural pine panelling, painting it a sunny shade of Benjamin Moore  MACADAMIA NUT 191. Cabinetry with “pegged doors” from Dura Supreme was chosen to keep with the rustic textural theme. Stainless appliances with a more contemporary hood style add visual interst and give the room an eclectic balance of elements. Cambria solid surface counters in “Canterbury” color and mosiacs with copper accents in the backsplash add vibrancy to the look. Sunny, warm, functional space by the sea…………..

TONI SABATINO                          tonisab@optonline.net                         516-972-5455


Richly Remodeled………

Everything about this Long Island, New York, kitchen is indeed Lovely! As part of a design team including A.B. Lake Construction, Bruce Spenadel AIA (architect for project including kitchen addition and other remodeling enhancements), Introspect Interiors (tile, granite, paint, lighting and fabric selection), I was responsible for space planning, window placement, cabinetry design, banquette and bookcase design, molding design and implementation of all. I wanted the cabinetry to have a sense of importance, a feeling of richness as the room was to have high ceilings and tall windows. Working with an existing commercial hood, commercial grade range and subzero refrigerator, I decided to forgo reuse of the stainless hood and instead used a wood hood and devised a way to panel the refrigerator to add warmth. With the hood as a center focal point, I used large scale cabinet doors and trims to create balance. The room also incorporates a  table area that includes a wall of cabinetry with a banquette bench and bookshelves that not only allow for additional seating and storage but also add rich personality with cookbooks and personal momentos. Finished room…………..yes, rich and lovely…..

TONI SABATINO                                tonisab@optonline.net                                  516-972-5455


Long Island, NY…….”Linda Cookin’ Good”

This kitchen remodel comprises elements of rustic finishes, antiques and  contemporary architecture with the vaulted ceiling. The owners wanted an open airy space complementing the adjoining family room with a rustic theme, soft beigy rose tones and rustic knotty alder wood cabinetry. Cookin’ good!

TONI SABATINO                     tonisab@optonline.net              516-972-5455


Benjamin Moore Experts Exchange……yes, you can find me there!!!


Featured Members – housemags

I am a Featured Members – housemags…………..thanks, HOUSEMAGS!!!

TONI SABATINO              tonisab@optonline.net                   516-972-5455


Dining In……….

When designing a spatially challenged suburban kitchen, I often have a conversation that starts something like this,  “I want to eat in my kitchen but I have no room. I don’t want to just stick a table against the wall and I don’t like the idea of a breakfast bar where we are all line up…….it isn’t conversational. What can I do?” My favorite solution is some variation of what I like to call a “dine in peninsula”.  This solution provides a conversational place to have a meal while adding off meal time working counter and additional storage. This home in Garden City, New York is an example of a simple, but decorative and functional “dine in” space. The use of glass cabinetry gives it personality and the “chandette” adds warmth and intimacy.

TONI SABATINO                  tonisab@optonline.net                     516-972-5455


Her Room For Everything………….

                                      Her “room for everything” is a room that incorporates attractive storage for the “stuff” that just happens……..a desk to keep the clutter of catalogs, recipes and scrapbooking projects out of the kitchen, a place to sew, a place for toys to amuse the granchildren, a place not far from the kitchen to print emails, new cooking and entertaining ideas, a place for household files, a place for post cards and notes………well, simply “everything”. We chose a rich dark walnut wood complemented by happy light teal fabric corkboard and wallpaper to create her soothing space. The innocent looking desk consists of custom cabinetry that incorporates a rollout printer station, a place for the sewing machine with it’s own hidden rollout table and plenty of other storage. We also incorporated lots of open shelving for family photos, trophies, figurines, momentos and books. Our finished product is visually inviting and super functional.

TONI SABATINO                  tonisab@optonline.net                     516-972-5455


Kitchen Cohesiveness

I like to think of decorating as creating an outfit for a room. Of course, it does have to be an outfit you will not mind wearing for a good, long while. Seriously, though, the care one takes to coordinate an outfit is quite similar to room decorating. Just because you “like it” doesn’t means it works! Too many accessories, more than one large bold pattern and colors that are not complimentary will take down even the best of the individual items being used. Cohesive design where each item has not only a purpose but is in proper scale and has  a good relationship with the other items in the room, will make a room inviting no matter what the style.  The selection of flooring, cabinetry, counters, backsplash, and wall color can really be done in any order as long as each element builds upon the last. Take into account colors and themes from adjoining rooms as well. This will help to create a flow in the home that really shows off a sense of style. Kitchens require special attention as plumbing and electric codes as well as appliance clearances all have to be taken into account while creating a visually pleasing, functional space.  It is my opinion that a good ” kitchen designer” will guide you to find your style and showcase your unique treasures while creating that cohesion that makes a room really special.

TONI SABATINO     tonisab@optonline.net      516-972-5455

The pallette to the left incorporates soothing neutral tones of cream for walls, tile flooring and cabinetry, while adding color and texture with the gold stone for the counters and stone and glass linear mosiac for the backsplash.


Butler’s Pantry

You can almost hear him pouring the champagne and slicing the strawberries……this butler’s pantry is used to store wine, glassware and serving pieces, as well as preparing canapes and hors d’oeuvres and all the luscious bits of “tipple and snack” that make for truly opulent living……..  ah,salut……la bonne vie!

TONI SABATINO  tonisab@optonline.net  516-972-5455


Bathing In The Opulence of a Single Family Palace

This luxurious home can truly be described as a “single family palace.” With vast open expanses, state of the art electronics, fabulous art and furnishings, it gives a feeling of understated opulence. This master bath was created in calm tones of tea green and taupe with particular attention to detail. The “T” shaped inlay pattern in the floor along with the columns, ceiling vault, light fixtures and taupy, maple woodwork invite you in to relax.  A seperate toilet and bidet room and a large steam shower with seat create the full spa at home experience.

TONI SABATINO       tonisab@optonline.net      516-972-5455


Bathing In Blue….(and GREEN)

The remodeling of this beautiful bathroom was inpired by the “pre-war” buildings of Manhattan. This look incorporates detailed moldings and millwork along with interesting floor tile design using smaller mosaics to give an old world grace to a newer home. Cabinetry in Alder wood, a “green” product as it is fast growing and thereby environmentally sensitive, was chosen and includes storage specific to personal grooming aids for him and her. The dresserback styling of the carrera marble counters and glass cabinet knobs add a touch of elegance.

TONI SABATINO        tonisab@optonline.net        516-972-5455


Give Me Shelter

The remodeling of this summer home on Shelter Island, New York,  had to create a casual but elegant feel. The challenge was to create an “eat in” kitchen in an area open to the main dining table. As a standard island with stools wouldn’t work due to space restaints, I opted for attaching it to the wall with some book shelves, glass cabinets and a spot for a small tv. The “eating island” allowed me to incorporate additional storage and a comfy place to have a cup of coffee or glass of wine. The slightly distressed, inset cabinets, beadboard splash and brick laid stone tile floor give the room homey warmth and a casual grace.

TONI SABATINO   tonisab@optonline.net   516-972-5455


A Kitchen All His Own……….

When asked to design a kitchen for this new home, I had very few specific requests…….serious stainless range, island seating, bar sink but the most important request was the look. Richly detailed but “NOTHING GIRLY!” I started with the color scheme of rich dark wood and hand distressed off white. I chose a heavily detailed wood hood to keep the kichen from becoming too industrial. The granite incorporates the shade of gold we used for the walls and the tile design was created to add a regal but manly feel. The room truly has an inviting warmth and a wonderful flow for cooking and entertaining, but no…….there is “nothing girly”.

TONI SABATINO                     tonisab@optonline.net                                        516-972-5455                    


Homey…… NEW HABITAT

In this project I worked in the capacity of cabinetry expert and salesperson for Daniella Ravn, talented architect and design professional, as well as owner of NEW HABITAT ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN, PC, WMBE. Our goal was to create her personal dream kitchen. The room was to function for serious cooking and entertaining.  A flow had to be created to service the adjoining living space and “complement” the architectural limitations. I modified Daniella’s original “J” design to a more open plan with a separate island. This change, coupled with her choices of color and materials make for a kitchen that is pleasing to the eye and cook alike.

TONI SABATINO      tonisab@optonline.com      516-972-5455


Kitchen Condo Corner

I am not such a big fan of  “after and before” as my nature is to constantly look forward. What can we do?…… as opposed to what we did. However, a client sent these to me and was truly amazed at the transformation of her space, so I thought I would share that. Part of the challenge of working in a small space is to find innovative ways to get appliance clearances to work without using a lot of “fillers”. Our cluttered little corner now incorporates inovation as well as wine storage and high style with bamboo cabinetry, glass splash and solid surface counters.

TONI SABATINO               tonisab@optonline.net                   516-972-5455


Color Specialist

Masterful color specialist, Tami, also owner of the Harborview Salon, of Northport, New York, requested my assistance in updating her space and creating some badly needed additional storage. We chose to create some espresso colored cabinetry with mirrored inserts to be installed over the washing stations. Next came the Benjamin Moore classic color pallette. We chose a two tone theme in warm hues that complement most skin tones, much like the current trend for two tone hair. Truly, Tami has been doing two tone hair for almost a decade now and has always been ahead of her time. After the paint came some inserts of grasscloth look vinyl wallpaper to update the existing beech colored laminated cabinetry and reception and a few pieces of fabulous art from the Lamantia Gallery and the masterful colorist is surrounded by masterful color.

TONI SABATINO  tonisab@optonline.net 516-972-5455


Transitioning to the Suburbs

This kitchen was part of a major home remodel. The new homeowners wanted to create an open, airy environment that would enable them to meld their eclectic tastes and the furnishings from two homes in the boroughs of New York City. The desire for an island and an eat-in kitchen led us to open a wall and create a dual level island to serve as work space and table. The addition of white glass tile and a fabulous contemporary chandelier balanced the wood floor and traditional chairs. The result is user friendly for cooking and entertaining alike.

TONI SABATINO                   tonisab@optonline.net                   516-972-5455


Art in the Kitchen

Collaberating with Judi Green of JUDI GREEN DESIGNS, Huntington, New York, to create a kitchen for this home was a joy. The home owners, Jan and Dave, have been collecting art and distinctive furnishings for many years. It is displayed throughout the home and the kitchen was to be no exception.  The kitchen had to serve as a quiet backdrop to the collections of copper and ceramics and the handpainted tiles the clients had collected on various European excursions. I created a floorplan for the room from a purely functional standpoint, using simple maple cabinetry with clean lines, allowing Judi to create focal points with the color and texture of the floor, accessories and wall tiles. The result is a fabulous feast for the eyes that functions superbly for creating culinary masterpieces as well.

TONI SABATINO                      tonisab@optonline.net               516-972-5455


R & R…..A Reading Room

Amazingly, this entire library was built and prefinished by a “factory custom” cabinet manufacturer some 2000 miles away from it’s suburban New York location. On this project, I was working in the capacity of designer, salesperson and project coordinator at delivery and installation. After the initial approval of the design concept (furniture placement, closed storage capacity, book display, lighting and panel detail), by the homeowners came measuring, measuring and more measuring, as well as tight factory communication and verification. Every piece of millwork floor to ceiling, including window sill and door, had to fit together like a New York Times crossword puzzle. Even the electrical outlet covers were crafted in matching glazed maple wood. We pressed the “factory custom”  mentality of Dura Supreme Cabinets to manufacture something special for us by creating our own custom pieces to coordinate with the facory standards. The result is an American made, warranteed, cost effective piece of design and a happy, relaxed homeowner.

TONI SABATINO         tonisab@optonline.net          516-972-5455


Component “Cupboards”….Family Media Center

Cabinets, cupboards…………Isn’t it all really just built in furniture?

The coordination of audio-visual equiptment to be  integrated into a “smart house” system requires some serious forethought as well as good communication by all represented parties. Aside from the components there was also a massive amount of programming to create the full experience desired by the client. To do justice to this commitment, the cabinetry, or in this case, built in furniture, had to be beautiful, practical and versatile.  Working with size, weight, wiring and ventilation requirements for the various components involved, this media center was designed to hold the audio-visual “rack system”, (with two empty spots for future technological advances), speakers, cd’s and dvd’s, games and controllers, and display space with room to spare for other storage. The clean lines and glazed maple wood give this family room warmth and style as well as fantastic storage so it always looks clutter free.

TONI SABATINO                 tonisab@optonline.net                516-972-5455


Keeping FUN in the Functional Kitchen

I would someday love to be known as the “Julia Child” of greater New York kitchen design. Yes, this is ambitious and no, I don’t plan to start speaking with an accent. It is my desire to bring that sense of fun, that “add a little of this” and “a pinch of that” to the collaberative design process. Sure, there are building codes and industry standards but what fun the evolutionary process of designing a kitchen for a family that cooks in a suburban home can truly be. Getting to know the nuances of how they function, shopping style from 144 boxes of pasta and 120 cans of tomato paste from COSTCO to almost daily fresh market shopping, storage needs, seating needs, entertaining and appliance wishlist as well as how this space relates to the rest of the home are all of importance to me and can make for some interesting conversation. I do really love the work and have actually been invited back to cook in a few of my designs………….So thanks, Julia, for inspring me to ALWAYS have fun in the kitchen, no matter the task at hand.

This is actually a great Italian Cheescake Recipe. I do add a pinch of this and a little of that, but a great basic recipe none the less. Bon Apetit………….

TONI SABATINO tonisab@optonline.net 516-972-5455


A Room with a View

Asked to collaberate on the interior layout of this classic post and beam mountaintop home, I arrived to find that the view was spectacular. One problem…………no walls to speak of for kitchen cabinets and appliances. Inspired by that view, the owner had chosen to remove all the first story interior walls  from the original plan.  Armed with the owner’s massive list of professional grade appliances (including an IL FORNO wood burning pizza oven!) and storage and seating needs,  I got to work. The theme took it’s cues from the massive 2 story stone fireplace and rustic support beams. It came to shape as a fully functional space that would showcase the stunning view. Creating a central bar with the same stone for both back wall and backsplash really pulled the space together.  Cabinetry with ” pegged”‘ doors and a distressed alder finish custom built by Woodharbor Doors & Cabinetry, were chosen to give the open floorplan a homey but luxurious feel. 

   

                  TONI SABATINO       tonisab@optonline.net                         516-972-5455


Chef’s Master of Form and Function

Designing this richly detailed kitchen became quite a challenge. This was due primarily to the appliance wish list of the client as well as  the window placement necessary to keep the exterior architecture in sync. The result is a true chef’s dream.  The integration of a steamer and deep fryer along with double ovens, dual warming drawers and a  60″ cooktop complete with grill and griddle  create endless possibilities for the creative chef to dazzle guests with cuisine as well as personal style. The room incorporates a refrigeration wall with a full height wine cabinet to complete the entertaining at home experience.                                    

                                                 TONI SABATINO tonisab@optonline.net 516-972-5455