Barbara Sallick, Waterworks’s co-founder and senior vice president of design, recently visited the DC showroom in Cady’s Alley to unveil the company’s new Keystone collection of natural stone. Based in Connecticut, she and her husband Robert launched the company in 1978 to import and create finely crafted products for the bath, bringing a new level of style and luxury to a room that had been largely overlooked. Since then, Waterworks’s offerings have expanded to include lighting, accessories, home furnishings and more.
How did Waterworks get started?
What was here in the U.S. in the ’70s in terms of baths was hideous; bathrooms were chosen by plumbers in pink, green or blue. On a trip to Europe, we found remarkable-looking baths and saw an opportunity. I don’t know how you take that leap, but you do.
How should homeowners select materials for a bath project?
First, define your style and taste. Staying who you are in a space with such permanence is pretty important. You should also look at the whole house and make sure that all the rooms tell a similar story. There has to be a thread that ties it all together. That’s where a designer comes in.
How do you find inspiration for new products?
I go out all the time with my camera and find inspiration at museums, looking at architecture and watching people walk along the street. And every time I go to the farmer’s market, there’s a new color. What I love is when I can’t exactly identify it, that means I’ve found something that’s really fantastic.
How do you hope the bath resonates for Waterworks customers?
I want the bath to be the most incredible retreat in your own house, a place where you close the door and have whatever experience you dream for yourself. It should free your mind.
What is special about your bath?
I love vintage things. I have a cabinet I bought for $250 at an antiques center and jars I found on Portobello Road in London. Those things have been incorporated in my bath and when I go in, it’s mine.