02 Jun 2015

A Steamy Afternoon in New York City

@steamtherapy, #BlogTourNYC, Architecture, Design Week, Interior Beauty, Interior Design, Kips Bay Decorator Show House, Modenus, Mr. Steam, Neoclassicism, New York City 2 Comments

In this world of rushing to get things done, there is something somewhat decadent about taking exquisite care of one’s self.Lagrande piscine a Brusa (the great bath at Bursa Turkey by Jean-Leon Gerome (1885).jpg13

Of course, we expect others to be clean and well-groomed.  Yet our focus is usually upon the end result, and not the process, much to the detriment of not only our pleasure, but also our health.  What does this have to do with interior design?  A lot!  Read on for the answer…


This lifestyle of rushing — to get our work done, get our children where they need to be, get dinner on the table, all the myriad activities that make up our lives—all this rushing diminishes the joy of life.  Happiness resides in the present, and if we’re always rushing, we’re not even aware of any feeling besides…rushing, n’est-ce pas?  This is why I regard not rushing to be the epitome of luxury.

So it was with high expectations that after 4 days exploring New York City during Design Week, immersing ourselves in fabulosity  [at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, the Frieze Art Fair, Wanted Design, Chelsea Market, and ICFF where we saw a multitude of innovative and impressive designs (more on that later!)]  as part of the #BlogTourNYC by @Modenus, we were royally treated by Mr. Steam (@steamtherapy) to an afternoon at the Aire Ancient Baths in TriBeCa in lower Manhattan.


The sheer variety of architecture in NYC could cause whiplash if I tried to see everything as I passed by.  But upon entering the Ancient Baths, its relaxed aura of thick brick walls, tall Corinthian columns, and dimmed lighting imparted a sense of peace.  A place to take a deep breath and exhale.

I’ve never been to a public bath before so when I saw it on the #blogtournyc itinerary, it brought to mind the exotic paintings I’ve seen of half naked humans lounging around, doing nothing or…having orgies.  I knew they weren’t on the agenda, but the possibility of nudity gave me pause.  Fortunately, swimsuits are required.  


The lobby of Aire Ancient Baths

After changing into our swimsuits and donning terrycloth slippers with rubberized soles and terrycloth robes, we went down a flight of steps into a darkened vault lit entirely by candles.  It was magical, like stepping back in time. 


The warmth and humidity enveloped me like a gentle hug.  A spa assistant explained the various pools and pointed out the showers for after the salt pool.

The photos above are the actual Aire Ancient Baths, but picture them with steam like this:


Feeling tired, I tried a quick dip into the cold bath (not the really cold one with the block of ice floating in it!), and immediately felt refreshed.  Off to the first tepidiarium pool which was as warm as the Gulf of Mexico in summer, good preparation for the next pool which was good and hot.  I swear I could feel my muscles unknotting.  Next up was the jacuzzi to enjoy the great jets of water massaging my back.


I didn’t know what to expect in the flotarium (salt water pool) but I had to try it.  I wish I had totally let go and rested my head in the water, but we were all going out to dinner directly afterward and I didn’t think I’d have time to redo my hair.  


So instead of fully immersing, I held onto the thoughtful grab bar on the side, which was a good thing because that salt water was enough to float a car!  I had to giggle as the salt water forced me to relax on my back and refused to allow me to sit upright.  I bet you could fall asleep in it without fear.


Feeling relaxed to the extreme, almost ready for a nap, I enjoyed a longer dip in the cool pool which again made me feel totally refreshed. Honestly, I don’t think I’d enjoy being one of those crazy people who run into the ocean in winter, but I love-love-loved the hot/cold/hot/cold experience.  Could it get any better than this?  Why yes it could. 

Just when I thought the spa bath experience was over (and I didn’t want it to end!) I found we were also being treated to a mud facial and steam room!

Mrs. Steam aka Martha Orellana slathered a very special mud from Morocco on our faces and told us to let it dry, then go into the steam room until the mud softened.  Then we could remove it with a damp washcloth.


The glass steam room was so steamy, it was impossible to recognize anyone except by their voices.  I wasn’t familiar with the benefits of steam beyond having a facial.  I knew steam opens pores and that the facial mud draws out impurities.  But did you know that in 1 square inch of skin, we have about 1,000,000 pores?  That’s a lot of cleansing! Vivid Steam Collection 2

Steam is great for cleansing and detoxing as it causes the body to sweat and get rid of impurities.  This means it’s important to drink plenty of water both before and after to stay hydrated. The heat causes the blood vessels in the skin to expand which causes an increase in blood flow and circulation.  This in turn brings more nutrients to the skin.  As a health and beauty benefit for the skin, steam has no competition.

See what John Basedow, author of Fitness Made Simple, has to say in 33 seconds about steam baths.


As I sat in the steam room, my sinuses and lungs became clear, no meds needed.  I felt clear headed and able to breathe deeply, and as relaxed as a wet noodle.  Steam is also great for relaxing stiff joints and sore muscles.  It also burns off 150 calories in a 15 minute steam session at 114 degrees.  I’m adding a Mr. Steam to my wish list!

After washing off the dried mud, this is how my skin felt.  In fact, it’s how my whole body felt–brand new!


Now I’m back home and sorely missing that steamy experience.  Did you know that it’s quite feasible and not as expensive as you’d think to convert a shower in your own home to a steam shower?  No more allergy meds, no more Advil for aches and pains, and clear, baby soft skin?  Yes, please!

See an example of all the ways you could enjoy a Mr. Steam home steam shower here.  (and the shower doesn’t have to be this big!)

Yes, design is not just about looking pretty.  Interior design is about creating an environment that nurtures you, body and soul.  If you’d like to find out what’s involved in getting a Mr. Steam shower in your own home, please get in touch.  I’d love to tell you how you can benefit from taking exquisite care of yourself and your loved ones with a Mr. Steam in your home.

To your good health (and beautiful skin!)



11 May 2015

New York City Design Week by #BlogtourNYC!

#BlogTour, Design Week, New York City 1 Comment
















Very few design events are as exciting to an interior designer than attending Design Week in New York City.  So can you imagine my excitement when I was invited on an all expenses paid #BlogTourNYC trip to Design Week?!  I seriously had to pinch myself hard several times to make sure I wasn’t dreaming!

BlogTourNYC immerses designers in the new, the hip, the latest and greatest products made from around the world.  One of the sponsors is @dacorkitchen, maker of high end kitchen appliances.  Dacor provided the appliances for this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse.  You’ve probably seen the fabulous rooms in this showhouse by celebrity designers in shelter magazines.



And you probably know about countertop surfaces like granite, quartz, solid surface, and laminate, but you probably have no idea just how many exciting options there now are in engineered surfaces.  I know I can’t wait to visit @Wilsonart, especially to see the metal finishes (yes, metal!) and their 50 new selections of quartz.  Click here to enter to win your dream kitchen that includes Wilsonart Quartz counters!


Swiss bathroom manufacturer @laufenbathrooms makes innovative high end bathroom solutions.  Their SaphirKeramik, a super ceramic that incorporates a compound found in sapphires, is hygienic and tough, but slim.

And what would a high end bathroom be without a steam shower?  Mr. Steam @steamtherapy makes both residential and commercial steam showers so if you don’t have one (yet), you may have already experienced the health and beauty benefits of a steam shower at your favorite spa or fitness center.

And who is the oh so generous, smart, and supremely talented group who created #BlogTour in the first place?  Why, it’s Modenus, of course!  They’re celebrating their Big 5 anniversary and this will be their 14th BlogTour in 4 years.  With new goodies coming on their website such as expanded design portfolios, Modenus is a must follow.  After seeing the itinerary and all the fabulous events they have planned for us to visit, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get to sleep!


Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, & Instagram to see all the design candy I get to feast on during #BlogTourNYC!



07 May 2015

To Market, To Market: the High Point Furniture Market, Spring 2015

High Point Market, Interior Design No Comments

A calm moment at the transportation terminal

Just a few weeks ago, I attended the Great Granddaddy of all the to-the-trade shows, the High Point Market.  When I tell my clients I’m going to High Point, they assume it’s basically like one of the big furniture stores.  I tell them, no, it’s way bigger than that.  In a word, the market is ENORMOUS.

  • High Point Market is spread over 11.5 million square feet of showspace, which my husband/biz partner Charles calculated is equivalent to 600 football fields.
  • The market takes place over 6 days, both spring and fall.
  • 75,000 buyers and designers come to each market.  I was one of them.
  • About 10% of attendees come from outside the US.
  • Over 100 countries are represented.
  • There are more than 2,000 exhibitors in 180 buildings.  Imagine going to 2,000 furniture stores in 6 days.  It’s not possible, even if your feet could walk that far that quick.
  • There are tens of thousands of new product introductions.
  • The market happens only 2X a year, and for the other 353 days, almost all the buildings are closed.
  • But in the spring and fall, interior designers and buyers swarm to High Point, NC to search for the new and unique.  That is why I went (and Charles came too.)

No matter what you’re looking for, the market will have it.  Antiques, Accessories, Art, Rugs, Lighting, Mirrors, and of course, Furniture.  And just about anything else that goes into furnishing and decorating a home, hotel, corporate offices, or retail shops.  But while the market authority and vendor showrooms go all out to woo buyers, providing free shuttles from the airport, hotels, and around market, and while there are complimentary lunches and dinners, free cocktails in the afternoon, even music concerts in the evening, it is hard work.  Really.  Just because it’s also exhilarating and fun doesn’t mean it’s also not hard work!

You don’t just show up.  The market requires advance planning, lots of stamina, and comfortable shoes, oh yes, comfortable shoes.  Either that or lots of bandaids and pain ointment.

But on to the fun part…the eye candy!

This living room is a stunning example of subtle textures, repeated motifs, and bold colors.  The cherry blossom cabinet has doors that are ingeniously hinged to open fully and fold back.  It can accommodate up to a 100″ TV — no movie theater ever looked so good!  The cherry blossom motif is repeated on the curved sofas and echoes the bold flame color of the chairs, ottomans and pillows.

Ambella Home


Kristin Drohan of Kristin Drohan Colleciton

Bold color combinations were abundant, especially using blue in its indigo and navy shades as with this animal print inspired queen bed above.  The tall headboard makes the bed appear smaller, but it’s definitely a queen…and fit for a queen too!



A bedroom of pale green walls and a soft pink upholstered bed with matching faux leather bench goes from sweet to  dramatic with bold black and white prints and black night tables.  The shaped headboard is echoed on the footboard as well.

CR Laine

Interior designer Tobi Fairley’s collection for CR Laine uses a masterful mix of color, pattern, shape and texture in this living room vignette.

These photos are just a fraction of the beauties I found at High Point.  I’ll be posting more of my finds on Facebook and Instagram so be sure to follow me there!   xo Anne



25 Jul 2014

A Quick Interior Decorating Consultation

Flooring, Interior Design, Interior Design Process 4 Comments

Interior decorating consultations make me  feel like I have a magic wand.

For those who don’t want a total redo but want help pulling their room together with their existing furnishings, I offer interior design consultations.  These are typically just a couple hours and it’s fun to “magically” transform a room right before your eyes.  Walking into a room with my “design eyes” focused on how to improve the interior design starts the idea factory churning.  But if you’ve ever hesitated to invite an interior decorator to a party in your home because you didn’t want your interior decorating critiqued, you’ve got nothing to worry about.  When socializing in someone’s home, I turn off the “design eyes” so I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m meant to be partying.  And yes, don’t think for a minute that interior design and decorating is not work; it is, even if it’s often fun too.

A lovely couple called me to come help them with their great room.  They had just downsized into a villa and were disappointed in the great room because it was boring and lacked pizzazz.  Their furniture layout was pretty good, with the sofa facing the water view and comfortable seating facing the TV, but the furniture needed some minor rearrangement.


The red striped chairs had matching pillows which did nothing for the room, while the sofa had the solid red pillows.  (I meant to photograph the room before I did anything, but I always get excited and forget!)  So the first thing I did was switch the pillows and immediately the room started to come to life.

IMG_4021 - Version 2

I suggested a new rug because their existing rug was uncomfortable on bare feet, important when one lives in Florida, but also because the rug wasn’t doing its job.   A rug should ground a room and help tie the furniture together.   This rug was a tad small and certainly added no pizzazz.  When I explained how a red rug would perk up the room and encourage conversation, they didn’t hesitate.

Two weeks later the new rug arrived and immediately perked up the room.  We moved the furniture a bit to give more walkway space between the leather chair and sofa, and switched out some art.  Before leaving, I gave them suggestions for a taller tree (or raising it in a bigger pot), the best sizes, shapes and colors for art which they’ll purchase on their own, and naturally suggested a new window treatment which they’ll get in time.


Their great room is no longer boring and this lovely couple is now excited to invite new friends over for lively fun!

Want my help creating interior beauty for your home?  Call me at (727) 415-2097 or email me at anne@annelubnerdesigns.com to schedule your interior design consultation.

Warm regards, Anne





14 Aug 2012

A Magic Carpet, really?

Carpet, Flooring, Interior Design 4 Comments

A Magic Carpet Ride

While exploring carpet options for my lovely clients’ home, Mike, the manager at ProSource Tampa, was excited to show me a carpet that is actually magic. First, he opened this little plastic container in which, he explained, was a piece of carpet that had been soaked in ammonia. Phew, it still stank. Then he opened another container and explained that this piece of carpet had also been soaked in ammonia, at the same time as the stinky carpet. But this carpet had no bad smell at all.

Accidents do happen!

The carpet, called Magic Fresh by Beaulieu, breaks down the noxious smells of pet urine, cigarette smoke, cooking odors, etc. and in about 30-90 minutes, converts the smelly compounds into carbon dioxide, naturally and effortlessly.  It lasts up to 10 years or 5 hot professional extraction cleanings.

Kids and pets love to lie on the carpet

My lovely clients have an older dog and a toddler grandchild, so what did I spec for their guest room? A Magic Carpet, of course.  And if they don’t like it for any reason (although it feels heavenly on bare feet and is guaranteed to last for decades), there’s a 60 day no-questions-asked warranty.  Sounds pretty magical to me!