In 1980, while shopping for a wedding dress, Ann Sacks discovers a box of Mexican Talavera tiles being sold as trivets. These tiles inspire her to start her own company. Later that year, she opens her first showroom. It is located in the living room of her Portland bungalow. Ann quickly outgrew this intimate showcase, and in 1981, she opened her first store to market assorted Mexican tiles from regional artisan factories.
Ann quickly learned that the enormously popular demand for tile was not limited to hand-glazed Mexican tiles. One early request was to match tiles to Kohler plumbing products. Working with local ceramists, Sacks developed a line of color tiles, and by 1983, offered handmade tiles in 100 colors that could be matched to any existing product or environment. The success of this program allowed the company to subsequently open showrooms in Seattle and Vancouver.
By the mid and late eighties, Ann Sacks broadened the collection to include other architectural surfacing materials, primarily limestone, marble, and granite skins, to coordinate with tile collections. Working with suppliers in Italy, the company began to address a more modern aesthetic. During this time the partnership with Kohler, the Wisconsin-based, family-owned plumbing manufacturer, also continued. It was a perfect match for the two companies, as they both approach product design as an expression of style and lifestyle. This collaboration ultimately leads Kohler to purchase ANN SACKS in late 1989.
Throughout the nineties the company continues to expand, opening new showrooms across the country. In 1996, the company is the first to market metal tiles, a modern interpretation of a classic form. Then, in early 1999, ANN SACKS introduces their plumbing collections. This is a different direction and dimension, one that fulfills the company's mission to approach design programmatically.
This mission to introduce new and inspiring products to the category continues as showrooms across the country work as galleries for material innovations in glass and metal tiles, along with more traditional antique terra cotta and limestone. The company opens its own manufacturing facility in the Pacific Northwest, more new showrooms open each year, and has suppliers in over 10 countries.
In 2001, the classic Tate faucet line is resurrected when an old industrial design brochure is discovered by accident. Tate goes on to win international design awards. The company continues to strengthen its ties to premier creative shops across Europe by offering an even larger selection of luxury tile, stone and plumbing products.
Over the next four years, the focus on creativity continues as ANN SACKS introduces product innovations like Alloy tiles, Vidrio Glass tile, Marais wall sconces and Positano Mosaics, the construction of which utilizes a computer driven router. The company also explores new materials with Onyx lavatories and leather tiles.
The one constant throughout the 23 year long journey from trivets to becoming the industry leading provider of luxury tile, stone and plumbing is the warmth, creativity and attention to service shown by each and every member of the company. The sales staff is always willing to work individually with clients to create a personal environment, whether it is with only a few hand-painted tiles or a complete bath environment with stone, tile and plumbing. Regardless of the scope of the job, ANN SACKS offers clients a programmatic approach to design and the opportunity to discover how they want their home to feel.