The Charming Toni Sabatino

Toni Sabatino Interior Designer

Right off the bat, one thing you notice about Toni Sabatino is she enjoys life and lives it to the fullest. Read through her blog or tweets, or talk to her on the phone, and you get the sense that she infuses fun into everything she does, charming and delighting those in her association. This is not to say that Toni shouldn’t be taken seriously – anything but. She’s definitely a force in the industry: she’s designed kitchens & baths for over two decades, is a member of the KB+B Editorial Advisory Board, is featured on houzz.com TV, and is a member of the Sustainable Furnishing Council.

This holiday season, Native Trails caught up with Toni just after she put up a client’s Christmas tree, adorned with holiday ornaments that embody the holiday spirit: whimsical, charming, elegant. We chatted with Toni about her design style, inspiration, and her Christmas tree tradition.

NT: You have been decorating a client’s Christmas tree for over ten years, and it is has become a holiday tradition for you. Tell us about that.

TS: Aside from decorating for my own family and a few offices, I have had the joy of "bringing Christmas" to a client family by decorating their home for the holidays, including trimming the Christmas tree. For the past few years, my son has helped me, so it truly has become a family tradition for us. Let me just say, this is a BIG tree. Four men set it up and wire it to the wall - then comes the actual decorating. When we started ten years ago the tree had a grand, department store look, with huge, gold dipped pine cones, bows of ribbon and sparkly, red garland. Over the years, as the family has grown and changed, we’ve added paper angels and stars, class pictures attached to paper trees, and the like; giving it an intimate family feel. We incorporate pieces that are meaningful to the family.

NT: This year, you specifically wanted to include Native Trails’ copper star ornaments. What led you to select these?

TS: Every year, I bring the client a little gift – this year, that little something was your stars. As a grandmother, I am very concerned about the future of our planet, so I incorporate sustainable products and materials into my designs whenever possible. I guess you could say this has been even a bigger focus for me this year. Earlier this year, while on a furniture pilgrimage to High Point Market, I learned about and joined the Sustainable Furnishings Council, then took their GREENLeaders training course. So when I learned of Native Trails’ recycled copper holiday ornaments, I felt they were the perfect addition to the tree.

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NT: Thank you so much for sharing your story and tree decorating with us. It turned out beautifully! You’ve been a kitchen and bath designer for over 20 years, and started your own interiors business two years ago. Is it your commitment to sustainability that led you to Native Trails?

TS: Actually, I was first introduced to Native Trails by a client who specifically wanted your copper Farmhouse sink. The family wanted a rich but organic feeling with a rustic quality that would work with the adjoining spaces of the home, and the warmth of the copper sink was a perfect choice. The sustainability was a huge added benefit.

NT: We’re intrigued that your client led you to us. Are your clients often a source of creative inspiration?

TS: Yes, definitely. I like spaces to be congruous and I like clients to wear their spaces well. I gain inspiration from the space I am working on: its natural surroundings, view, architecture, and ultimately the client’s closet! It’s part of my job to get a good handle on the clients’ needs and style and find the products to make it happen. What I love about this is that I’m always adding to my product knowledge and seeking out the newest product innovations.

NT: If your blog is any evidence, you have a good handle on the newest product innovations, and your product knowledge can definitely be seen in your design style. How would you describe your signature style?

TS: I would describe my current aesthetic as contemporary with a nod to old world elegance and a touch of whimsy added in. I love whimsy. I like to incorporate whimsical touches and organic elements in my designs.

NT: We’ll definitely be keeping our eyes peeled for your future designs. Happy Holidays!

For more information on Toni Sabatino, view her website: http://tonisabatinostyle.com/

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