Keeping It Clean in Seattle
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 3/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
Having tested the retail waters at a showroom in Bellevue, Washington, Waterworks has unveiled a flagship in neighboring Belltown, an up-and-coming area of Seattle. "It made sense to open downtown, where there's more commerce and foot traffic," says Barbara Sallick, Waterworks cofounder and senior vice president of design. Sallick's decision to open in a ground-level storefront, rather than at a more trade-oriented design center, took into account the convenience of consumers in addition to that of industry clients.
With user-friendly displays ranging from orderly tile and fixture walls to centerpiecelike accessories groupings, the 5,000-square-foot space is designed to encourage browsing through the comprehensive lines of high-end tiles and fittings. Even soaps and lotions are available, evidence of the family-owned company's commitment to one-stop shopping for all things bath-related. For the bigger picture, plus suggestions about coordinating tile, fixtures, and colors, customers can turn to the four 12-foot-square bathroom vignettes—a feature that the company is implementing at multiple locations. Looks represented at the downtown Seattle showroom range from the staunchly traditional to the decidedly modern, with an example or two in between.
A retro display, for instance, showcases an accent wall of mod Architectonics mosaic tile, complemented by the art deco profile of polished-nickel fittings by Aero. A specially commissioned glass-front armoire is nearby, Sallick says, to "remind customers that tile selections should take existing furniture into account."
As a backdrop to minimalist chrome-finished fixtures from the Industrial Luxe collection, Sallick chose a squared-off Pier washstand, which supports an oversize sink, as well as a mirror and storage unit in the same espresso finish. Floors are white marble, while walls are clad in glass tile in a pearly colorway named oyster. (Bathroom as aphrodisiac, anyone?) In an intimate curtained alcove, an old-fashioned tub rests on a frame of dark-stained wood and stainless steel. "The bath should be a refuge," Sallick says. She suggests using the built-in tiled shelf above the tub to display a favorite artwork—waterproof, of course.