Castle Building & Remodeling, one of Remodeling magazine’s Big 50 of 2011, hosts a team of professional designers and builders who overhaul interiors with historically inspired concepts. Two design-selection studios display the custom craftsmanship, showcasing a 1940s–style kitchen with cherry cabinets and a 1910s–style bathroom with hex tile flooring and a sink full of Teddy Roosevelt's mustache trimmings.
The remodelers create a mockup of each project using 3-D CAD software, noting any desired changes before installation. They realize projects with the help of artisanal manufacturers such as Clay Squared, whose artists craft custom ceramic tiles using time-honored methods.
When Mercedes Austin sees a piece of artwork, her imagination immediately breaks it down into pixels and rebuilds it as a tile mosaic. Recently, she executed this process by making a mosaic of a wall mural: She fabricated jagged tiles, arranged them to resemble the original, and grouted the piece together. The resulting mosaic speaks to her intuition as an artist, and also to the years she?s spent honing the craft.
At Mercury Mosaics? studio, Mercedes and a team of ?tile elves? share their passion in two ways: through mosaic classes and custom installations. Classes explore all facets of mosaic creation, from cutting and gluing to grouting tiles into a pattern that resembles a real-life object or fuzzy television screen. Installations, which are fully customized to the client?s specifications, add a distinctive flair to commonly tiled areas such as bathrooms, backsplashes, and fireplaces.
The inspiring trainers with MetaBody lead troops of workouteers in results-oriented workouts several times weekly. Fun sweat sessions utilize a variety of exercises and disciplines to produce full-body results in a supportive environment ideal for both beginners and hard-core core-hardeners alike. During any class, motivational instructors will use your instinctual distrust of routine to their advantage. Begin a day of litigating with a refreshing early-morning boot-camp session, or wind down by burning evidence and pounds with a late-evening yoga class. Muscles are kept guessing with new and challenging moves during each session, so participants never fall into a boring, ineffective routine, such as regular teeth brushing. In addition to the fitness classes, students receive a success guide to help prepare for imminent pound loss, a nutrition guide, and a $100 gift certificate for individual coaching. Since the pass sets a five-class cap at any given location, roving fitness mavens can further shake up their workout regimen by vetting a series of classes or instructors that work best for them.
At more than 1,200 Mattress Firm locations around the country, shoppers sink into plush mattresses, recline on firm beds, and belly-flop onto pillow tops. Knowledgeable staffers can help customers create an ideal bedtime environment by dispensing advice based on sleep preferences and illuminating the difference between the many kinds of mattresses. And to the delight of their customers, much of Mattress Firm's bedding wears the label of a premium brand, such as Sealy, Serta, Simmons Beautyrest, or Stearns & Foster.
Klash Drums handles nearly all aspects of the art of drumming. They'll custom-create drum sets from a selection of woods, acrylic shells, and other materials, and in case buyers don't know how to drum, the staff will teach that art to them or anyone else who asks. The store also offers a selection of drums from makers such as Yamaha and Pearl.
Today's culinary triumphs are the product of thousands of years of experimentation. The staff at Annona Gourmet doesn’t see any reason why that march of innovation should end, so they fill the shop’s shelves with exotic twists on staples such as pasta, sea salt, and vinegar. 20 varieties of olive oil pour from large stainless-steel tanks called fusti, their straw-hued droplets hinting at everything from Sicilian sunshine to Persian limes. After tasting balsamic vinegar infused with cinnamon and pears or figs, patrons peruse the inventory of pastas beneath coastal murals that give one the feeling of being at a beach free of sailors with boring albatross stories. Jars of sauces and dressings hint at a spectrum of flavors with earth-tone hues, and sea salts take on the flavor of black truffles or ghost peppers in an escape from seasoning conventions.