Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With Nancy Epstein

“Making the world a better place, one tile at a time” is exactly what Nancy Epstein has strived for after 30+ years in the luxury stone and tile industry. Design came naturally to Epstein as she embarked on her journey with Artistic Tile, leading the company to become one of the largest wholesale distributors of luxury tile and stone. Not only does Artistic Tile provide quality and luxurious products but also focuses on bettering the world by focusing on sustainability. They have provided tile for homes and companies all over the country and have been featured in major publications such as Martha Stewart, Elle Decor and aspire design and home. Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, Nancy Epstein.

The movement and fluidity in the Fusion Wow quartzite pictured above perfectly complements this dining area in a seaside home. Crafted to the specifications of J.L. Ramirez Architect.

Andrew Joseph: What is something you hope to see trending in design in the future?
Nancy Epstein: A return to natural materials, especially stone. I truly believe that design should maximize the product type. I don’t understand “faux” marble, unless the real is no longer quarried. I would love porcelain manufacturers to design products that are new and interesting, as new and interesting as their incredible technology allows them, instead of “faux” stone. They need to rehire designers to extend their offerings, instead of just taking photos of things that exist and copying onto porcelain.

Andrew: If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Nancy: My superpower would be the ability to create equality amongst people. To put food on everyone’s table, to create sustainability in our natural resources, and to end all wars and strife in the world.

Andrew: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
Nancy: A travel agent. I seem to fixate on travel plans, even during COVID. I love travel planning, and seeing the world, and sharing it with my friends and family.

The anchor of this kitchen is the uniquely designed Panda White slab found at Artistic Tile. The contrast of the black and white stripes perfectly sets the tone for this playful space. Decor by AlexAllen Studio and Fornasetti Home.

Andrew: What would you like remembered about you?
Nancy: That giving back is my core value. That I gave of my income, to the point that it changed my lifestyle. That taking care of others has always been more important to me than possessions for myself. That being part of a community and a people formed who I was as a person.

Andrew: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
Nancy: That I am shy when in a room of strangers, and that I don’t like going anywhere alone. Not even to the grocery store.

Andrew: What’s your design pet peeve?
Nancy: Trendiness. I like design that is for the long run, not design that reads the year it was designed.

Pictured above in this Soho loft by Jeffrey Goodman is Artistic Tile’s Grand Antique marble. The graphic themed space is solidified with the black and white stone that works as its own centerpiece.

Andrew: What are three things you can’t live without?
Nancy: My Grandchildren, my daughters-in-law, and my sons.

Andrew: Favorite piece of clothing you own?
Nancy: My sweatpants. It is the only thing about the pandemic I love.

Andrew: Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
Nancy: To watch the news more carefully, because in 10 years, you will forget so much. Pay attention now. Be involved in politics now. Be involved in the world around you – now.

Andrew: Are you the type to get fully dressed for a day of remote working, or the type to wear sweats?
Nancy: I like to get fully dressed – from the waist up only. I never want to give up my sweats.

From sink-to-floor, you can find the classic Calacatta from Artistic Tile in this bathroom. The blending of cream and deep red intertwine with one another creating a sophisticated space. Design by Diane Burgio; Architecture by PACS Architecture.

Andrew: What are your thoughts on makeup in terms of remote working?
Nancy: I don’t feel as if I am ready for the day, if at least my eye makeup is not done.

Andrew: What’s your new favorite pastime?
Nancy: Binge-watching television. I never watched so many shows in 10 years, as I have this year.

Andrew: What’s one thing you hate admitting that you love about quarantine?
Nancy: That I get preference because I am over 65. It’s the one and only time it’s been good to be old.

Andrew: Where will be the first place you will travel to after COVID-19?
Nancy: Italy – I miss it so much!

About The Maker | Nancy began her career in the luxury stone and tile industry in 1987. After designing custom cabinets for her young son’s bathroom, the cabinet maker was so impressed with the results that he asked Nancy to come work for him in his Tenafly, New Jersey showroom. Nancy quickly recognized that the cabinetry showroom could do more business if they would offer more products for the bath and kitchen, such as tile and stone! She took over the business and soon Artistic Tile was born.

By 1993, she had established an import and wholesale distribution company to service her showroom. Today, Artistic Tile has become one of the largest wholesale distributors of luxury tile and stone with nine showrooms nationwide and products distributed through more than 150 luxury tile and stone showrooms across the United States. In 2011 Artistic Tile acquired the esteemed Waterfall Bathroom Furniture line of sustainable bath vanities.

The firm’s 110,000 square foot corporate headquarters in Secaucus, New Jersey is comprised of a state-of-the-art production facility, warehouse, training center, customer service center, design studio, and in November 2014 was expanded to include an additional 25,000 square foot slab gallery.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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