A Conversation with Interior Designer Toni Nulton
Toni Nulton grew up in Huntington Beach, CA where her dad owned furniture stores – and where her passion for creative freedom and design first took root. As a teen, she helped him set vignettes in his store. College followed with a degree in interior design. Next came an internship with interior designer Pilar Wayne, whose husband happened to be Hollywood icon John Wayne.
After marriage, Toni moved to Sacramento where she headed up the Design department of Nulton Remodeling Services and began to explore kitchen and bath design. During her time there, the team won 10 Contractor of the Year awards from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
When 2009 arrived, Toni got even more creative, funneling her diverse skill set during a time when the profession was taking a hit:
“I found an interesting group of people who could use my skills – house flippers. We were able to take abandoned properties in distressed neighborhoods, and beautify them, which offered a great boost to communities. It was a time when we all had to stretch budgets as far as they would allow and strap on a pair of roller skates to get things done in dramatically short time frames! Ultimately, designers are problem solvers.”
As the economy changed, so did her company, TLN Designs (now, TLN Interiors). In addition, she gave back to the community by serving 5 years on the Board of Directors for NKBA Capital Chapter.
“Many things have changed over the years, but I still I love to create everything from small projects, colorization, window treatments, all the way to helping you plan for a whole house remodel and furniture design. There may be a new name but it remains the same service.”
Tell us about a favorite project.
Generally, I enjoy solving people’s problems. It’s why I appreciate working with families in order to bring their homes to full potential. One family, for instance, was living in 900 square feet, and we doubled that. To see the kind of change that can make – how it can allow a family to function even better – is always rewarding. Whether expanding or downsizing, beautifying or channeling universal design, it starts with listening.
One memorable project was in Grand Island, which is close to the Sacramento River. It all started with LEGOs – as the homeowner used them to help visualize what she wanted to achieve. We took down a wall, combined the kitchen and dining areas, put in three types of cabinetry and used a lot of sustainable materials. It was also the first time I used a copper sink.
What trends do you see right now in interior design?
It’s been refreshing to see warmer finishes return. Now we’re not simply designing in shades of shadows! Ultimately, we listen to our clients – their needs and wants – and allow our design to reflect their interests.
Talk to us about copper. What inspired you to use it?
I love that it’s a material touched by human hands. It has a beautiful patina. It’s easy to care for – when we use copper, everyone gets care instructions with microfiber towels. We equip homeowners with the information they need to care for their new copper sink.
What finishes or other metals do you like with copper sinks in the kitchen and bath?
With a recent project, I used soft blue glass tiles with copper. Beautiful combination. When I talk with clients, I’ll often use my own photos in order to get responses and see where that takes us. If it’s something you really love, I say why not?
Can you talk about your project with Thompson Traders? What were your design objectives?
I first met Thompson Traders at an NKBA chapter meeting. And that’s where I first met the Fiore sink. The timing was excellent, as I had a client renovating her powder room. She enjoys unique things, so I built my design around the sink to give her elegance with a twist.
What was your experience like working with Thompson Traders and their products?
When I’m in charge, I work hard to make the job look easy for my clients. Calendars aren’t compromised! The Thompson Traders experience was seamless – a very caring team that delivered on time with great follow up.
Can you talk about the craftsmanship of the Thompson Traders hand-hammered sinks?
I like to add elements that warm spaces and evoke human experience. It doesn’t have to be perfectly perfect, and that’s the beauty.