Earth Day 2015: Peter Salerno Inc. Offers Green, Sustainable Design
Ask About Peter Salerno Inc.’s “Green” Design Options
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall
As Earth Day 2015 approaches, you’ll hear a lot about “sustainable design” and “going green”.
At Peter Salerno Inc., “going green” isn’t a trend. It’s a decision we’ve made ever since the family business began generations ago in Italy. Peter’s father was a skilled artisan and craftsman, and his respect for his craft meant proper, full use of the materials he was given.
That respect for woodworking and custom cabinetry was passed down to Peter Salerno, who in turn has made sure it’s a part of his staff’s mindset. While not every custom kitchen and bath design that Peter Salerno Inc. completes is billed as “green” and “sustainable”, that doesn’t mean we aren’t environmentally conscious about our work.
That’s because sustainable design is a mindset and a way of work, not a fad. It’s why Peter Salerno Inc. is proud to work alongside companies like Stratta, the Tile Boutique that are dedicated to environmentally-conscious design options.
Peter Salerno Inc. also understands that “green” design often goes hand-in-hand with technological innovations, like the TopBrewer coffee faucet and La Cornue custom kitchen ranges and rotisseries. Earth Day in 2015 is more sophisticated than simply following the “Three R’s” (reduce, reuse, recycle) – sustainable design must reduce emissions, implement multi-functional technology, and conserve energy while producing high-quality products and results.
How can Peter Salerno and his team help you achieve the gorgeous, sustainable kitchen and bath design of your dreams? Fill out the contact form below or call us today at 201.251.6608.
Anthony Salerno Talks Peter Salerno, TopBrewer, AMS Knifeworks & More
Our ongoing series of official interviews with the staff of Peter Salerno Inc. continues this month with Anthony Michael Salerno, sales coordinator and design associate for the company. As Peter Salerno Inc. has grown into the most awarded national design firm in the United States since 2003 (by the NKBA), the demand for new sales and designs has skyrocketed. Anthony’s job has become more demanding – and rewarding – than ever.
Of course, Anthony Salerno’s roots to the company have existed since birth – Anthony is the son of master designer Peter Salerno, and the grandson of master cabinetry and woodwork designer Rosolino Salerno. As the third generation of Salernos running the family business in America, Anthony offers a unique perspective on the growth of Peter Salerno Inc.
We sat down with Anthony to discuss Peter Salerno Inc., his passion for knife and sword crafting, his knowledge of TopBrewer and La Cornue, and the music playlist that helps him get through the workday.
Interview with Anthony Salerno of Peter Salerno Inc.
1. You’ve visited your father’s design office and showroom since you were a child. What’s your fondest memory of your dad’s office from childhood?
Anthony Michael Salerno (AMS): My earliest memory was actually at my grandfathers cabinet shop before my father opened up Peter Salerno Inc. My cousins and I would go to the shop on Christmas Eve when they would have a big party during lunch. Tables would be rigged up across the shop with benches, customers would come with accordions and guitars to eat and play music while homemade wine was being served out of gallon jugs. When everyone at the party had a few glasses of wine in them and weren’t paying attention my cousins and I would sneak into the back shop and run around all the machinery, hide inside cabinets, and see who could sweep a path through the sawdust the quickest. To this day the smell of saw dust still makes me nostalgic.
2. What is your current role at Peter Salerno Inc.?
AMS: Currently I design and handle sales. I also handle La Cornue and TopBrewer sales. I’m our office’s TopBrewer expert, so I field any calls about it and show clients how the machine works and how to use it. More recently I’ve been working on new cabinet styles, moldings, and finishes exclusive to our company with my father.
3. We’ve visited your offices, and know how hard you work. What’s the toughest part of your job that people may not realize?
AMS: I’ve found a lot of people don’t realize the initial work that goes into their design. Being a totally custom company, when somebody hands us a plan, we draw out the walls and then start from scratch with the design. You have to imagine yourself walking through the space and seeing how you can interact with it. It’s like getting a piece of paper and having to create a puzzle from it, first you think of the design and style and sketch it out, then you carve out all the puzzle pieces and make sure they fit.
4. What’s the one thing that gets you excited to go to the office, even on days you’re dragging?
AMS: Knowing that I’ll be creating something that will end up in someone’s home. When you start the process with a client it’s a blank canvas and you know nothing about each other, through the design process you get to know your clients and put pieces of their personality and inspirations into the design. It starts with a meeting and a couple of free-hand sketches, then moves to 2-D rectangles on the floorplan, then gains detail and beauty with 2-D elevations, becomes real with hand-drawn 3-D renderings, and finally is brought to life when it’s in a clients home. For a lot of people it’s a very important and personal process, it’s always great to be a part of that.
5. You often listen to music while you work. What are a few great songs that are on your work playlist now?
AMS: My playlist will change throughout the day depending on what I’m working on. I like to start the day at 7 am with the Elvis Duran Show and get a couple of laughs in. Once 10 am hits I usually switch to “The Edge” radio out of Texas (thanks to iheartradio), I listen to some of their alternative rock for another hour to hour and a half and then it usually progresses into metal/symphonic metal and it’s all about Nightwish, Blind Guardian, and Sonata Artica powering me through the afternoon. On high-stress days it may switch to Andrea Bocelli and some classical orchestras. Being a classically trained musician my taste is very vast so there’s usually some variation from day-to-day.
6. Outside of Peter Salerno Inc., you’re also the owner of a custom knifework studio (AMS Knifeworks). How does what your father taught you about design lend itself to your custom knife design work?
AMS: I’ve always loved designing knives, swords, and jewelry – I even picked up a minor in it while at college. For me the design isn’t enough, I need to create functional pieces of art with my hands. We don’t have a shop behind the building like my grandfather had, so I created my own metal shop at home. I take the two necessities of design I learned from my father and apply it to my knives, beauty and functionality. That along with having an extensive knowledge of finishes, woods, and their properties gives me an edge when creating a new piece. Knowing all the different kitchen styles definitely helps when I’m making chefs’ knives as well, I may have one for someone with a very traditional kitchen, and I may have one for a very contemporary kitchen.
7. What’s on the horizon for Peter Salerno Inc. that has you particularly excited?
AMS: With new appliances, new door styles & moldings, and new finishes, it’s a really exciting time to be designing. With the release of Houzz and Pinterest, there has been an influx of people who want to break out of the box with the designs for their home. Breaking out of the box is what we do best (and what we geared our showroom towards) so it’s a very exciting time to be a part of a company that doesn’t believe in boxes and is constantly pushing the limits of design.
Tracy Salerno of Peter Salerno Inc.: Exclusive Interview
It’s often said that behind every great man is a great woman. But when it comes to Peter Salerno, his wife Tracy certainly doesn’t stand behind him. For decades, the two have stood side by side, not only as husband and wife but as the “patriarch and matriach” of Peter Salerno Inc.
Ask anyone in the Peter Salerno Inc. showroom and offices, and they’ll tell you quickly that Tracy is a driving force behind the business. She not only handles much of the day-to-day business operations of Peter Salerno Inc., but also has a vast working knowledge of custom kitchen, bath, interior and cabinetry design.
Since Peter Salerno Inc.’s humble beginnings in 1997, Tracy Salerno has played an integral role in its management, growth and overall success. We were privileged to take a few minutes out of Tracy’s busy schedule for an exclusive interview. In it, we learned about Tracy and Peter’s humble beginnings, current projects and business partners, stories from the Peter Salerno Inc. showroom, and plans for the future.
Interview with Tracy Salerno of Peter Salerno Inc.
Peter Salerno Blog (PSB): What do you remember about the first day Peter Salerno Inc. opened?
Tracy Salerno: First a little background: before opening Peter Salerno Inc, Peter worked in a family business owned by his father and uncle. For various reasons, but mainly so Peter’s artistic vision wouldn’t be stifled, we discussed Peter leaving and going out on his own, but he had to be ready to make that move, so the timetable was all up to him. Meantime, our children were both in school full time and I was going to get back into teaching.
I had my interview all set up and two days before, Pete said, “I’m leaving and you have to come work for me. It’ll just be us for awhile. By the way, I’m looking for a building to buy or rent.” A bit of a shock, but okay – I canceled my interview and took a crash course in Quickbooks, wood species and cabinet styles. Hardware catalogs were my nightly reading. The day we opened our first showroom, I remember feeling a little queasy, not sure if it was excitement or fear. We had it all on the line, all our money, our home….we had to make it work. But somehow, butterflies and all, I just knew it would all be okay. We have always believed the only way to get ahead is to dive in, start swimming and have faith. No one ever got anywhere by sitting on the dock.
PSB: Could you have imagined the business growing to where it is today?
Tracy Salerno: In 1997, we started in a small Cape Cod house on Goffle Road. We had to renovate the building completely. It was a dilapidated disaster when we bought it; I took one look at it and sobbed. After that I wasn’t allowed back in until the construction was done. We had a tiny showroom with 5 displays downstairs and offices upstairs.
To go from there, that memory, to this gorgeous design center, is literally a dream come true. Could I ever imagine it? In all honesty, yes. I know my husband, I know his drive. This was his dream from the day he bought the property. He saw the land and saw the vision. After my initial crying jag, I saw it too. I knew we would get here eventually.
PSB: You recently celebrated 2 years in your beautiful new showroom building. What’s your favorite part of the new showroom?
Tracy Salerno: We couldn’t be happier with the new place. The showroom is such an eclectic mix, two years later it’s still fun to come down here and take it all in. I had a ball “dressing” the displays and I still look for new things every time I’m out. It’s hard to pinpoint what my favorite part of the showroom is. I’d have to say just having the space to showcase the multitude of designs we are capable of creating.
PSB: What’s it like working in an office with both of your children?
Tracy Salerno: Funny thing, we never built the business or the building for the next generation. This was always Pete’s dream and we always encouraged Anthony and Gabrielle to pursue their own paths. Which they did with success. Circumstances and changes in their personal lives led them here as a temporary place to figure it all out then suddenly it was permanent. It’s great having them both here, especially since it was by choice not expectation. Both are growing in their positions and are truly assets to the company. The best part is having lunch with the two of them most days….even if I’m the one paying.
PSB: Tell us a funny story from “behind the scenes” in the Peter Salerno Inc. offices that we wouldn’t otherwise know about!
Tracy Salerno: Behind the scenes….you do realize you are talking about an office full of artistic designers right? Everyone has their own quirky personality which is fun to be around. Randomly funny or odd pictures will appear in such places as…. the restrooms. Federico paints, mainly abstract, so when he brings in a new work, we have a “guess what the subject” is game. A good song on a Friday morning might produce an impromptu dance party.
My personal favorite is a photo/certificate that hangs in Peter’s office. The day we officially opened the new builing, we took a picture outside the design center; everyone was in it–that is a major feat in itself. Being a Zoolander fan, Kimberly took the picture, added some text, framed and presented it to Peter. “The Peter Salerno Center for Kids Who Can’t Design Good and Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too”. It’s epic.
PSB: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working?
Tracy Salerno: Do I ever not work? Seriously, my ultimate “me time” is to flop in my favorite chair in my sun room with a good book. If I’m at the shore house, substitute front porch rocker with sun room chair. Puzzles. I like puzzles too; the crazier & bigger the better. My family thinks I’m nuts when I say it’s relaxing for me.
PSB: You recently started offering the TopBrewer coffee brewing system. Have you tried it, and what do you think?
Tracy Salerno: Top Brewer. I. Want. One. In. My. House. It’s a great product; my next kitchen at home will have one. Pete and I were at the factory in Copenhagen last year. Top Brewer wanted to enter the American market so select designers were given a tour of the factory and a tutorial. We had to bring it into the showroom as soon as it became available stateside. The clean lines of just a spout integrated in the counter eliminates the clutter of coffee accessories. The grinder & refrigeration unit fit in a lower cabinet. A self cleaning system keeps it low maintenance.
You are your own barista. Latte? No problem. Cappuccino? Espresso? Strong, light, in between, lots of foam, no foam…all there with a touch of the iPad or phone app. Also, seltzer; you can make your own seltzer. Soon it will have juice dispensing capabilities too. I am addicted to the machine.
PSB: What’s on the horizon for Peter Salerno Inc. that has you excited?
Tracy Salerno: Every day is a new adventure here. We never know who is coming through the door, that in itself is exciting. Through our clients, we never know where we’ll end up….like Russia. Seriously, Pete is doing a job in Moscow. Now that is pretty cool. Watching our team solidify and grow as designers and in their personal lives is tremendously satisfying. Right now we are enjoying where we are and the people we work with. That being said, we are always looking to reinvent ourselves to stay fresh and current, so you never know what is around the corner for us!
For more information about Peter Salerno Inc. or to schedule a showroom appointment, please call (201) 251-6608 or email info@PeterSalernoInc.com.
Need the perfect dessert recipe to compliment the perfect cup of coffee from your TopBrewer coffee brewing system? Why not try out a classic Sicilian dessert recipe, tested and approved by Peter Salerno?
Ricotta cake (also known as Cassata) is a staple dessert from the classic Sicilian cookbook, with the perfect blend of sweet and savory, rich and creamy, light and airy. As usual, our friends at Saveur have created our favorite recipe for Sicilian ricotta cake, rimmed with pistacho marzipan and created with a touch of Grand Marnier.
From your first bite of this ricotta cake, you will experience the rich creaminess of ricotta, the zest of orange, the lightness of confectioner’s sugar, and the nutty balance of pistachio marzipan. Try it for yourself – we’re sure it’ll become a household dessert favorite!
Cassata (Ricotta Cake) Recipe: Courtesy of Saveur
Butter, for greasing pan 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. flour, sifted, plus more for pan ⅔ cup plus ¾ cup sugar 1 tsp. orange zest 6 eggs 1 cup shelled pistachios 3 cups confectioners’ sugar 1 egg white, lightly beaten 2 tbsp. Grand Marnier liqueur 1 lb. ricotta, drained overnight in a cheesecloth-lined strainer, or ricotta impastata 1 tsp. vanilla extract ½ tsp. ground cinnamon ¼ tsp. kosher salt 2 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice Whole candied fruits, such as oranges, apricots, and cherries, halved Candied citron, cut in strips
1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9″ cake pan; set aside. Combine ⅔ cup sugar, zest, and eggs in a large bowl and beat on high speed of a mixer until pale and light, about 5 minutes. Add flour and fold to combine. Pour into cake pan and smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, let cake cool completely, and remove cake from pan. Using a serrated knife, cut cake crosswise into ½″-thick strips; set aside.
2. Line bottom and sides of a 12″ metal pie plate with plastic wrap; set aside. Process pistachios in a food processor until finely chopped. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and process until finely ground. With processor running, slowly add enough egg white to form a smooth dough. Transfer dough to a work surface dusted with confectioners’ sugar and knead until smooth. Using a rolling pin, roll marzipan until ¼″ thick. Cut into 2″-wide strips and line side of pie plate with strips, flattening where they overlap to form one continuous ring; set aside.
3. Heat ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until sugar dissolves, then stir in Grand Marnier; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together remaining sugar, ricotta, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth, 2–3 minutes; set aside.
4. To assemble, line bottom of prepared pie plate with cake strips, cutting to fit, and then sprinkle with 5 tbsp. Grand Marnier syrup; place ricotta mixture on top of cake and spread evenly to fill pie plate, smoothing top. Cover top of ricotta mixture with remaining cake slices, cutting to fit evenly, and drizzle with remaining syrup; trim excess pistachio marzipan and then wrap pie plate in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours. Meanwhile, combine remaining confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl to make a thick glaze. Invert pie plate onto a serving dish and peel off plastic wrap. Pour glaze over cake to cover evenly. Decorate with candied fruits. Refrigerate cake until set, 2 hours or overnight.