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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.


"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!


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.


Friday Fare… A Birthday toast.

Last evening we

kicked off our birthday celebration with a cocktail party in our San Francisco Showroom and thought we would share one of the drinks with you… Cheers and have a wonderful weekend!


Vintage Walker Zanger…




In the 1950′s Dior, Chanel and Givenchy graced the runways, James Dean and Marilyn ruled the silver screen, Frank and Elvis were on every turntable and everyone loved Lucy. Three martini lunches were de rigueur… and Walker Zanger was already setting the trend for luxurious stone.




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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