HOW ONE ISLAND COMPANY HAS BEEN DEFINING TILE AND FLOORING STYLES FOR MORE THAN FOUR DECADES
BY JEN GOLDENBERG
Atile finisher who began his trade in 1925, Sal Marino lived his brand of the American Dream by starting his own business, and quickly became known as one of the best custom ceramic tile installers in the tri-state area. By 1973, Marino had brought his sons Joe and John into the operation, along with son-in-law Tony Vanario. 1987 brought another expansion, in the form of Richmond Tile & Bath’s current and only location at the foot of the Outerbridge Crossing. Clad in “durable, beautiful, and energy-efficient blue and white porcelain tile,” as the company site explains, the showroom’s 12,000 square feet features high-quality tile, along with kitchen and bath fixtures, from the U.S. and abroad. We asked the company’s President & CEO, Anthony Vanario, and General Manager, Anthony Cotugno, what trends are influencing this fast-evolving marketplace, and how retailers stay relevant.
Long gone are the days of concrete and ho-hum outdoor living spaces, the team explained. Instead, consumers are directed toward designs using porcelain pavers from companies like Atlas Concorde and Mirage & Kronos. There are also large format tiles available, and even pavers with a wood-like exterior. These can be used to create defined living spaces and firepit areas, too, and allow for rounded, softer lines to create unique conversation spaces—designs that were more challenging with traditional concrete pavers. And for customers with a design in mind, but unsure of how to bring it to reality, Vanario and team offer digital previews of any plan before it goes into production, such as glass tiles arranged to produce an ombré effect in a pool, from makers like Oceanside Glass.
Baths and Kitchens
Large-format porcelain tiles, are, according to Cotugno, about as maintenance free as home applications get. Created to mimic the look of lavish Calacatta marble, this cost-effective option allows installers to piece together tiles to give a 15-foot slab of marble a run for its money. And, there’s no need to seal, stain, or protect this stunning material, as among its assets is durability.
Another trend gaining traction is mixing and matching materials like natural wood and tile on the floor to create a puzzle-like aesthetic and/or herringbone designs created using four finishes of the same color for a clean, monochromatic style (products from the Italgraniti Group and Impronta Ceramiche are ideally suited to the herringbone approach).
For those with a design in mind, but unsure of how to bring it to reality, Vanario and team offer digital previews of any plan before it goes into production.
Asked what a dream home would look like to his design team, Vanario explained that there were two principal approaches. One would include more than one trend but tie them together cohesively—a 3D tile accent wall with all other walls in large-format tile, for example. It might also include a floor of polished, matte, and textured tiles for a chic, contemporary space. On the flip-side is a clean, sophisticated room that’s complex but seemingly effortless. This might have a monochromatic color scheme with a number of sizes, textures, and finishes—creating a custom look that’s striking but not overly busy.
To attract a new generation of millennial buyers, the company has expanded its e-commerce presence, Cotugno added, and has updated its showroom to appeal to that younger demographic. Further, it uses fashion to influence design options (a notable example being the inclusion of Roberto Cavalli products), and recognizes the gathering synergy between fashion and home décor. Finally, the team emphasizes digital renderings of spaces to mellennials as a pivotal part of the buying process.
Richmond Tile & Bath
31 N Bridge Street / 718.317.8500