Get to Know This Year's CTC&G Innovator Award Recipient, Waterworks Co-Founder Barbara Sallick

Barbara Sallick at IDA awards dinner

Get to Know This Year's CTC&G Innovator Award Recipient, Waterworks Co-founder, Barbara Sallick

CTC&G: You co-founded Waterworks more than 35 years ago with your husband, Robert, and now you work closely with your son, Peter. Any tips on successfully working alongside family?
Barbara Sallick: There has to be clear agreement on who is the final decision maker. In order to be fair, one year it was my turn and the next it was Robert’s. I highly recommend that you hone your diplomacy skills and understand that occasionally compromise is required. Finally, my family is the most important thing to me, and keeping our unit whole has always been my primary consideration.

 Waterworks’ Empire freestanding tub, Etoile freestanding towel rack, Easton rectangular stool, Etoile exposed tub filler and Gotham made-to-order textiles were the centerpiece at the IDA awards.On your blog, The Perfect Bath, you note the No. 1 trend for 2015 is the use of unlacquered brass for fittings. What is behind this move toward warmer finishes?
We have long been trendsetters for the bath. I believe that our great images of unlacquered brass in CTC&G and other national publications have been instrumental in the surge of interest in the finish. The warmth and the inherent quality of brass as well as the patina it acquires over time have made something old seem new again.

People have said if you were a city, you’d be Paris, another said Niagara Falls. What city do you think you would be?
I think my friend Thomas Jayne who said I was Niagara was teasing. I am Paris for its memorable architecture (Labrouste Library, Maison de Verre), its sophisticated classically clad women and its magnificent outdoor spaces (Luxembourg Gardens, Parc Monceau).

You’ve expressed a love for using white, gray or navy in the bath. Which is your personal favorite?
Years ago, I crowned myself the Queen of White, and I stand by my commitment for its simplicity and clarity. It is neutral but not boring. Accents of gray and navy are great partners for my favorite color.

What are your three favorite items to include in any bath?
A great shower is essential. Timeless, elegant surfaces. A clock.

Waterworks: Inventing Bath Style by Barbara Sallick and Lisa LightHow do you design a bath to keep it looking fresh years later?
You must create a thoughtful plan and avoid trends either in color or design. Choices should be classic modern or classic traditional. Select timeless materials that only improve with age. Consider the amount of natural light, and have a second sense about the right balance, proportion and scale of each of the elements you select.

Why did Waterworks enter the kitchen category?
The time was right for us to move from the most private room in the house to the center of culinary discovery and family ritual. Plus, the addition of the cabinetry allowed us to focus on color, texture and form for this favorite gathering place.

Where do you find design inspiration?
I am inspired by museum exhibitions (“What is Luxury?” at the V&A), great shops (Loewe in Miami), travel (Cuba was my most recent adventure), farmer’s markets, creative people and conversation and good books.

If you were in another industry, what would it be/what would you do?
In my next life, I am going to be a museum curator.

What is your personal credo?
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to learn and experience new things!

A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Creator of the Luxe Bath