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Design around your “Do”.

Since we are celebrating our 60th anniversary this year, I am always on the lookout for good retro material. I couldn’t believe my luck when I came across this mid century mod article on how to design interiors around one’s hair color. I’m guessing this was the precursor to the “4 Season Color Theory” craze of the 80′s!  As I read through these chic examples, I couldn’t help wondering how some of our material would look in the world of 1950′s Blondes and Brunettes, so I took the liberty of adding some glamorous Walker Zanger beauties to the color palettes. I must say though, as  a redhead, I couldn’t help notice the obvious omission of an Auburn design choice… perhaps, I chuckled, that is why  I Love Lucy was filmed in black and white.



L to R: Chelsea Art Glass Peony, Studio Moderne Fretwork Noir, Studio Moderne Paramount Clover.



L to R: Ceramica Alhambra Moorish Cotto, Tempo Verde Luchensa, Matouche Peau Tabac.



L to R: Mantra Saffron Matte, AnTeak Amsterdam Natural, Chelsea Art Glass Tiffany Green.


L to R: Chelsea Art Glass Ultra Violet, Sienna Silver Travertine, Studio Moderne Imperial Ming Blue.


From Rabbits to Roku, a Retrospect.

As we continue to celebrate our 60th Anniversary, we thought we would take a look back at one of our favorite kitchens.  We here at Walker Zanger are very fortunate to have working kitchens in some of our showrooms. Other than allowing for some amazing lunch creations, it also lets us  feature our materials in an actual lifestyle setting. Clients can sit at the kitchen island, have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and get a feel for how materials might live in their own environments.  Our West Hollywood, or Melrose Showroom

as we like to call it, opened its doors in 1988. At the time, we were very proud of  how avant garde our kitchen looked…


Walker Zanger West Hollywood Kitchen c. 1988

Installed with our original Musa Mandalyn tile, paneled refrigerator doors, and a custom hand painted menagerie on the dishwasher… we were definitely stylin! But as with good design, trends come and go.  As we moved into the 90′s, kitchens became the focal point of in home entertaining. People started traveling more and bringing home the influences of their European experiences. We were right there with our version of  the “Tuscan Kitchen”.


Walker Zanger West Hollywood Kitchen c. 1993


From one of our most popular collections, The Fresco Series, the Pianissimo Verde Liner graced the back splash. With terracotta accents, warm travertine tiles, and a French Limestone island, we brought a bit of Europe into many a stateside kitchen.


Fresco Pianissimo Verde Liner


Kitchen Island with Camargue Limestone top


As hard as it was to say good bye to the dishwasher bunnies and raised panel doors of the previous 2 decades, we were well into the new millennium and ready for a change. And what a big change it was…


West Hollywood Kitchen c. 2004


Well ahead of our time for the early 2000′s we choose Calacata Borghini honed white marble for the counter-tops and Lagos Azul limestone for the  now much more contemporary island.  Our then new Roku Glass collection in Sharkskin accented the backslash in soft muted grey tones, and French limestone 12 x 24 pavers graced the floors.


Integral Calacata Borghini Marble Sink


Did we know then that white marble and glass tile would be all the rage in this decade of design? Somehow I have a sneaking suspicion we did.  For during the past 8 years this combo has continued to stay at the top of the kitchen design food chart.

Any thoughts on what the next Melrose kitchen should be?






"Mar Men".

Sterling Cooper Draper Price


After 17 months away from all that was Mad Men, we were thrilled to start off the week with a 2 hour visit from Don and the gang.  While still whistling Zou Bisou Bisou in our minds, we started to think about our own group of “Mad Men” who were responsible for the start of Walker Zanger.  As Don and his troupe were smoking and drinking their way into the business

of Madison Avenue advertising, our team of  “Mar Men” were out to beautify the world one tile at a time.

L to R: Back row: John Iberti, Gustavo Rey, Charles Kastner, Leon Zanger, Billy Parker, Ed Fink,Daryl Milstein, Frank Savoca, Jack Peterson. Sitting: Arthur Bodenheimer. Front Row Center: Marvin Walker


In the early 1950′s, not long after Walker & Zanger was born, Leon Zanger saw an obscure two-line listing from a furniture store in The Sunday New York Post advertising glass-topped tables for $39.00 Armed with his sample bags full of marble, Leon approached the store owner directly and proposed that the store sell the same table, only with genuine marble tops, for the same price, at a comparable profit. Amazed, the store owner placed an order for $10,000 worth of table tops on the spot.  When the $39 marble-topped tables eventually went on sale, the store had lines around the block, and sold out its entire stock in 90 minutes. More orders followed, including from Macy’s and Gimbals, and by the end of its first year in business, Walker & Zanger had earned profits of $1 million.


Betty Draper with perhaps a Walker & Zanger Marble table.


In the early 1960′s , yet again, perceiving a need that no one else foresaw- Walker & Zanger became the first company to bring to the American market thin-sliced Italian marble tile. The “Martile” (a name coined by Walker & Zanger) was both affordable and easy to install, sparking a design revolution that continues to this day.


A page from the 1960's WZ tile catalog.



Early Walker Zanger ad.


We can’t help wonder what kind of campaign Don and the boys, (or better yet, Peggy) would have pitched to Leon if they had a stab at his account!


Friday Fare… The Oreo.

A hundred years ago this week in Manhattan at the Chelsea Market factory of the National Biscuit Company, the Oreo cookie was born.  Weighing a scant couple of grams at birth, this little chocolate biscuit was destined for worldwide fame.  Originally sold for a mere 25 cents a pound to

a grocer in Hoboken, New Jersey this little cookie confection can be found today in over 100 countries. 25 billion Oreos are eaten a year, that’s 70 million each day that go through the  “Twist, Lick, and Dunk” ritual shared by it’s 23 million Facebook fans!

The graphic Oreo



1968 Nabisco Oreo ad



Pour your self a tall glass of ice cold milk, and whether it’s the original Oreo or my personal favorite, Double Stuff… tear open a box and “Twist, Lick and Dunk” the weekend away!


Tools of the trade.

Walker Zanger Marble Fan Deck 1954

In our world of design today we have so many tools available us to help our clients experience  the final outcome of our vision. We can use our phones to send images of product back and forth; create “Pin Boards” filled with rich images of well designed spaces and product; submit detailed CAD drawings of each room with elevations and perspective of every corner, and  use computer programs to drop in actual product  images for bathroom and kitchen tile designs. Yet even  with all that technology,  it can sometimes be difficult to convey the finished product.

Flash back to the early 1950′s when Leon Zanger was getting Walker Zanger off the ground. All he had up his sleeve was his  business card and this simple fan deck of stone. Measuring a mere 2″

x 3″, clients would be presented the color, veining, and characteristics of all the exotic stones available for their project. I wonder if as he called on perspective clients with this simple tool of his trade, he ever imagined the vision that would become the Walker Zanger of today.

All photo images and text are the property of Walker Zanger. Please do not use for commercial purposes without permission. You are welcome to repost. copyright 2014.

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