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RETRO Collection by Toni Sabatino for Baden Haus Debuts


RETRO Collection – Gotham City

Designers make dreams come true for their clients.

With the newly-launched RETRO Collection by Toni Sabatino Baden Haus – it is a kind of Italian two-cheek kiss.

See, it’s a dream come true for Toni – the interior design goddess – and a dream come true for Baden Haus’ clients and customers. And if I add in Baden Haus the company – well, that’s a lot more smooching.

Seriously, it was not a surprise to learn that it was amore at first sight between Toni and Baden Haus – (Baden Haus is based in Italy – therefore all the Italian nods to style and culture. Con affetto…)

I see the artistic relationship here as a bit of Carlo and Sophia; the Medicis and Michelangelo…

Fast forward to the finished product and one can almost see the mottoes suspended or floating above the Toni Sabatino designs whispering “classic, sensual sophistication, and enduring glamour.” I heard a show guest remarked, “This must’ve been designed by a woman.” Indeed. RETRO has all the right sensuality and smarts of the best divas.

This innovative collection is surely an expression of both brand’s guiding principles if there ever was one.

Viewing the premiere of the RETRO Collection at the recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair – ICFF show, I learned from Baden Haus Design Director, Marco Oddi, how the relationship first came about and the resulting collaboration.

(Full disclosure – designer Toni has become a solid Homegrown friend. I first met Toni through my first book: The Hamptons and Long Island Homegrown Cookbook – she contacted me to purchase some autographed copies so that she could add a special finishing touches to her kitchen design customers. See how thoughtful and detail-oriented she is? After more than a few of these Homegrown requests, I remarked to my husband, “Toni must be extremely successful – because she’s now buying the books by the case! Well, Toni is indeed successful, and our shared love of design, food and drink, cooking and gardens – soon led to a friendship.)

Marco and Roberto Osimi, Baden Haus officially met Toni at a Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) event in Las Vegas a year or so ago. Their shared design aesthetics melded much as their ready communication connections. “It was so easy to talk to Toni,” said Oddi.

The professional design respect is mutual.

Not long after, Toni found herself being whisked to Italy. But this was no Roman Holiday. It was a working session – while also a kind of first date, if you will.

See, while Toni got straight to the sketching and design phase of creating — all of which you can see in the oversized RETRO brochure.

photo courtesy of Baden Haus 

Toni was also conducting a kind of mental check list with her new-found partners.

Did they work with her standards of high quality materials? Check.

Did the company treat its employees with respect and provide a good, healthy working environment? Check and check.

Toni learned how Baden Haus’ quality mission was evident in all phases of their production process. After all, Baden Haus, located in Centobuchi in the Le Marche region of Italy, has been making luxury Italian furniture designed for the bathroom or home spa since 1979.

Piazza in Centobuchi, Italy

In fact, Baden Haus is the largest independent Italian manufacturer of bathroom furniture. A kind of crowning achievement for a brand that prides itself on using only quality materials to produce products “that combine aesthetics and functionality.”

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

When I asked if they had to alter their legacy production process in order to make the RETRO Collection, Oddi explained the company’s factory team needed to add a few more steps to accommodate Toni’s design specs – especially the inside utility of the vanity cabinet and drawers — features that Toni felt strongly about in terms of the user experience. The sleek one-touch sliding Blum drawer runners is one such example. “Beauty and product organization informed the drawer dynamic. Modularity and the option for “wall hanging or floor mount” are down to earth considerations that are built into the design – not an afterthought left to installers…

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Gotham City –

photo courtesy Baden Haus

More details on the show floor: I love that Toni filled the frame with a photo of her son, Ricky. How sweet… Tells volumes about Toni’s passions and love that weave their way into her designs and dedication.

photo: Leeann Lavin

When I asked Toni how she came about this design process and how it might differ from her custom work for her clients, she readily responded that here she needed to consider what would appeal to a vast, global audience, versus that one client or couple.

Undaunted by the task, and rather than conduct some sterile research to determine what was trending or forecast to be hot looks, Toni relied on her years of experience. Take into consideration she’s been designing and working with makers and artisans for more than 30 years.

In fact, she embraced the opportunity to create swoon-worthy furniture that would reflect her accumulated design aesthetic – and trusted that market-making metier: Women’s Intuition. Her confidence and style makes RETRO an exalted addition that you just know you will want to live with…

The RETRO Collection consists of four distinct lines or as I refer to them: “conversations.”

These designs surely speak to you – especially when you learn the narratives and personalities behind the design process.

  • Gotham City
  • Gold Lame
  • Paisley Tie
  • Matte 

If you’re like me – the artful interior and exterior design elements you bring to your home offer enduring “conversations” between you and the beauty of the piece.

Not to mention with your house guests and family.

And I daresay – if you’re so lucky (and surely you will after selecting RETRO for your home) there will be the attendant magazine media and tour guests who visit your home to admire the designs.

Like us, after all our hard work and designing and thoughtful compilations – to be recognized by a leading magazine and our local historical society — and then to be featured as a showhouse!

I have my eye on the RETRO Collection for a renovation of our Gotham jewel of an apartment. Stay tuned.

Already, Toni confirmed she’s sped’c out her RETRO designs to a number of her own clients — to massive delight, no doubt.

So, back to the dreaming stage. Toni began with periods, places, and art that have long been her muses — that would lend their “practicality and personality” to achieve a certain timeless RETRO frisson.

Gotham City

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Gotham – aka New York City — with its pulsating drama of iconic skyscrapers. She cites the Art Deco beauty of the Chrysler building, (my favorite), where you can almost hear Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” crescendoing in the background while gazing at these pieces – yet Toni swears it was the 80’s “Steam Punk” orchestration that inspired Gotham City’s moody industrial look. See how nuanced the art spectrum can be?

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Gold Lame

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Ok, this could be my favorite! Toni attributes this look to her “love of glamour and fashion of ‘Old Hollywood’. The golden shimmering glass brings that ‘golden age’ feel to the bath,” says the designer.

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Paisley Tie

Photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Wait, this could be my favorite! I’ve often said, “I’m crazy for paisley!” so imagine what a design delight it was to view these sumptuous runway-worthy looks.

No one would disagree that I couldn’t write anything as witty as Oscar Wilde – a paisley aficionado — and so I quote here from the RETRO catalog introduction to Paisly: “One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art.” Well, I might add: One could display a work of RETRO art! Maybe I am as witty as Mr. Wilde! See how RETRO inspires…

Seriously, I wish Paisley Tie was available when we redid our country house — I did one of the bathrooms as all tailored luxe – I even called it, “The Bespoke Suit Bathroom.” Next time…

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Toni wrote: The history of of this iconic pattern that has spanned centuries is quite colorful and I love it for its sophisticated arty, bohemianism.”

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

photo courtesy of Baden Haus


photo courtesy of Baden Haus

This RETRO conversation whispers Purity. A Balanchine Diamond in Jewels…

The black is all very dramatic and mysterious — it seems to whisper dark secrets…

Toni reveals: “Timeless grace, simplicity and elegance. The panels have the look of wainscoting to create the mood of old world charm and tradition.

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Who says things aren’t just so black and white in this world?

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

photo courtesy of Baden Haus

Toni is still floating on rainbows following the premiere. “I’m thrilled and overjoyed at this opportunity,” said the designer when I asked her how this felt to see her name on the boxes and in the catalog. Difficult to put into words…

photo: Leeann Lavin

photo: Leeann Lavin

As part of my post-show follow up reviews, I posed a series of detailed questions to Marco Oddi, Design Director at Baden Haus.

Here is an edited Q & A from our series of email exchanges.

Q. Can you tell me what your goals are for the line?

A. The RETRO Collection is fast becoming “Baden Haus’s business card” for the North American market. We embraced the idea of presenting ourselves to the American and Canadian kitchen and bath enthusiasts – professional and consumer – with a very special project, and surely Toni’s RETRO Collection can be considered a beautiful example of a special European and American collaboration or bond.

Q. Have you worked with a guest designer previously?

A. This was our first-ever project officially working together, or alongside a designer. In few previous Collections we have received advice (or input) from some Italian designers but we’re just talking about small little conversations.

In the case of the RETRO Collection, we’ve met few times with Toni, in Italy and in the US, we have had long conversations. Furthermore, our internal Design Department has been in contact with Toni on a daily basis for many months. We wanted to make sure that every single little aspect had been reviewed and that no detail had been neglected.

Q. Do you have plans to do more of this kind of line in the future – meaning working with a stable of designers to continue the success working with a guest designer?

A. Yes. This RETRO Collection experience that we are living now is surely something we want to do again. We hope to create something with a strong, design-orientated personality who is very stimulating – and it’s our idea and are planning to come out with something else later on.

Q. Is this Retro line available globally?

A. Absolutely! The RETRO Collection has already been displayed in several showrooms across the globe. Our clients have appreciated very much the effort that Baden Haus has made with this project. The feedback is confirming that the company is really taking the company to a different level.
Retro Collection is available in the all 32 Countries where today we distribute our Baden Haus brand.

Q. How long does a line remain available?

A. Normally four to five years but really it depends on the style, the distribution, and other, varied aspects or elements.
With regard to RETRO, it seems it’s more a “Timeless Collection” as Toni likes to describe it; so who knows, RETRO might be available on the market for longer than that!

How to get your RETRO

One can purchase the RETRO Collection pieces all together for a complete ensemble — or you can purchase separately; building the look in a modular way. Toni designed the pieces to layer and personalize – not unlike selecting from your wardrobe to create a glamorous, memorable ensemble.

This thoughtful detail gives the designer and consumer the added value of customizing their ultimate home design.

The vanity cabinets are available in basic white or black – and the insets for the tops and drawers come in the four jewel-like Collection “conversations.”

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

The LED mirrors are a kind of fairytale magic – with anti-fogging, BlueTooth speakers and magnifying mirror. All with a sweep of dramatic shaped design to complement the vanity styles. No more hunting for a swanky mirror to hold the look together. (Heretofore there’s been an overabundance of square and round and ok, oval…) But now the mirror elegance can claim some true design CV of its own.

How sexy is this? And the mirror too!

photo Leeann Lavin

Prices range from approximately $1,600 to $6,900. With final investments determined by style, size, and the number of elements (vanity cabinet, mirror, sink, floating storage cupboard, and surface-top style selected for a final version.

All the elements in the RETRO Collection will be shipped from a local U.S. distributor location in the Garden State.

What’s better than designing a line of extraordinary collection of bath vanities with a major Italian manufacturer dedicated to quality and premiering at a distinctive New York Furniture show?

Sharing the exhilarating achievement and happiness with friends and family.

Designer Toni Sabatino (R) and daughter Elise. photo: Leeann Lavin

Elise, Designer & Mother – Toni — with soon to be mother, Amanda & son Ricky

Now that’s a collection!

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