Anna Maria Mannarino of Holmdel, NJ-based Mannarino Designs, Inc. has completed numerous designs honored with both national and state awards, as well as featured in various publications. She is a past president of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers, and prides herself on listening carefully to her clients’ needs and fulfilling their requests with a team of skilled craftsmen and contractors. 

Recently, TILE asked Mannarino to share some of her most recent experiences of working with tile and stone. Here’s what she had to say:

TILE: Please tell us a little about yourself and the type of work you do as a designer. 

AM: As an award-winning interior and event designer, my company, Mannarino Designs, Inc., has had the pleasure of transforming spaces from Cape Cod to Florida and beyond. My interior design projects span the commercial, hospitality, healthcare and residential sectors. My work has encompassed everything from birthing centers, restaurants, banquet facilities and New York City boardrooms to historic mansions, metropolitan apartments, and beach condos and cottages. On the product side, I have lines of pillows and rugs, as well as lighting, with furniture soon to follow.  

TILE: What are some recently completed projects where you used stone and/or tile in the design?

AM: I am currently working on several bathrooms for an Airbnb utilizing various porcelain products for floors, walls and shower, and quartz for vanity tops.

I have recently completed:

  1. A kitchen with a stunning waterfall glass and stone mosaic accent wall and Silestone backsplash and countertop.
  2. Two bathrooms featuring oversized porcelain tiles mimicking blue and white marble.
  3. A master bathroom with an intricate glass mosaic accent added to porcelain ground shower walls -- finished with a white quartz shower bench to match the vanity countertop.
  4. A condo kitchen with a countertop and a backsplash of Neolith slabs.
  5. A birthing center where we embedded tiles of marble peonies to look like a carpet of flowers under an organically shaped soaking tub, used as a birthing tub.


Among my favorite projects is a wine room and kitchen done for longtime clients. The wine room features three different tiles from Artistic Tile -- large-scale carved limestone, a metallic porcelain and a mixed mosaic of stone and glass. The kitchen has a spectacular backlit agate precious stone countertop and backsplash fabricated by Artistic Marble and Granite. 

TILE: How do you go about selecting material for a design? 

AM: Understanding the client and the project is first on the agenda. The use of space, style and aesthetic appeal are also important, as is budget. Resale value is top of mind, so selections of stone and tile are always value-added.

TILE: What are some reasons you like to use stone/tile? 

AM: Stone and tile are my preference on the aesthetic side because of their versatility, endless design options and variations, and on the practical side because of their durability, sustainability and generally easy maintenance and ease of use.

TILE: What are some ways you learn about new products on the market? 

AM: I learn through mailers, brochures and samples, sales reps, trade shows, showroom visits and informational emails and special announcements. And, occasionally from social media. 

TILE: What are some current trends you are seeing in residential design? Is it true warmer tones are making a comeback?

AM: Warmer tones are making a comeback because they bring a feeling of cocooning. Gallery white walls are also gaining popularity, and conversely, so are bright and bold colors. Nature-influenced and biophilic designs are strong trends as is the use of sustainable materials and repurposing, and/or donating furnishings and materials. Also, there is a mix and layering of textures in hard and soft materials.

TILE: What is one of your most memorable experiences you have had working as a designer? 

AM: It was coming up with an imaginative solution. I had just completed the renovation of the entire interior of a clients’ home, and they needed a third garage, as well as more space for outdoor living and entertaining, but there was no real estate on their property. We ended up chipping away at the mountain of granite that was at the top of their driveaway and a large portion of their backyard. We built a third garage right into the bedrock and to add to the outdoor living space and take advantage of the sweeping views, we made the top of the new garage a rooftop deck and created a tiered space off the back of the new garage to come down and lead to a new outdoor kitchen. I also redesigned a paved driveway and walkway complete with a snowmelt system. 

TILE: Is there anything else you would like to share? 

AM: My business has been built on long-standing relationships and staying power. I am working on projects now for grown children who were in highchairs when I started working with their parents. Such is the case with one family whose daughter’s wedding I just finished. I started working with them when the bride was a toddler -- planning and designing a huge Halloween event, then went on to do every major milestone event, design their home and design a restaurant for them. Now, these parents are empty nesters and downsizing, and I am designing the interiors of their new home. Just one example of the full-circle relationships I have been fortunate to have with many of my clients.