Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer Travels

Summer has been a busy two months, and I apologize for falling behind on the blog! Though we have been quiet here--we have certainly been busy "in real life". In addition to attending some fun and educational IFDA events—the Summer BBQ at The Marazzi Design Center, an exploration of color theory and practical application by Doty Horn and Lisa White—I have also had the chance to explore the industry a bit further afield.

While on a road trip with my family earlier this month, I found myself driving right past Kohler, Wis., home to the Kohler Co. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see up close a place I'd been hearing about for years.

Kohler is charming and picturesque, and the highlight for me was the Kohler Design Center right in the center of town. The Design Center features three floors: one displaying product, a second showcasing awesome and inspiring bath and kitchen vignettes, and the third featuring the history of the company and the town.

My daughters loved the vignettes. Here they are "trying out" the shower in the Urban Elegance bath....

But my favorite part was the museum. I've worked in the industry for more than 15 years, but still learned plenty. Some things I didn't know:
  • Kohler's first "bathtub" was a water trough coated in enamel. (The company initially made farm equipment and still manufactures engines and generators.)
  • Kohler, Wis., was the first planned community in the United States. The Kohler family consulted with Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York City's Central Park and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C., to develop the village.
  • The famous American Club in the center of town was originally created by the company to provide affordable and comfortable housing for single male employees.
If you ever find yourself in Wisconsin, I highly recommend a trip to Kohler. There is plenty to see and learn for lovers of design.

-Jessica Tolliver, IFDA•NY  

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