FAUCET FOCUS: An Interview with Fantini by Lindsey Katalan

In anticipation of the upcoming Salone Mobile Fair in Milan, we sat down with our friends at luxury Italian faucet company Fantini. At St. Charles of New York, we partner with connoisseurs of both cutting edge trends and timeless designs. Fantini is a brand whose repertoire includes both.

Founded in 1946 by brothers Giovanni and Ersilio, Fantini has always been a force of creative intensity that combines hand-craftsmanship with industrial technology. Fantini has been producing innovative products with a deep concern for ethics in manufacturing and production methods, and inspired by the form, qualities, and applications of water. Consequently, their designs have become an international benchmark in the evolution of kitchen and bathroom design, emphasized by their collaborations with the best design minds and creative forces.

72_01_5904SLK: What are people picking out for their kitchens these days? What has changed in the past few years? Where are the trends going?

Fantini: We have noticed that customers want a pull-out spray with their kitchen faucet. Two of our kitchen faucets feature a pull-out spray, the latest was designed by Naoto Fukasawa. We will be introducing another version of that faucet that features a pull-out spout with a secondary spray. We will have this at the Salone del Mobile.

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LK: Do you notice a particular metal or finish that everyone is suddenly gravitating toward?

Fantini: We are getting a lot of requests for Brass, especially un-lacquered. We started offering it as a custom finish, available polished or brushed. Since it is un-lacquered it will tarnish, which is very trendy right now.batterialavabo_3fori-oro

LK: What about color? At St. Charles, we’re big advocates of using color in kitchens and bathroom, however that may be. Are people        trying out the colored knobs or are they staying within the confines of their comfort zone and sticking to metal finishes?

Fantini: We were one of the first manufacturers to introduce color to plumbing fixtures. We launched our iconic Balocchi collection in the late 70’s in a variety of colors and a couple years after introduced the Calibro collection, which later became part of the permanent collection at MoMA. We currently offer the Balocchi collection in a number of standard colors and can produce it in any RAL color (over 200 colors available). Clients are very interested in customizing their faucets and shower systems in fun colors, we have seen a huge increase in requests for fun colors, and not just for children’s bathroom’s.

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LK: Is there any difference between the bestselling styles in Europe and the bestsellers in the states?

Fantini: There isn’t much different in popularity between the US and Europe. Our most successful collections are popular in the US and Europe.

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Thank you to our friends at Fantini for this exclusive interview. Visit their website for more looks and products at Fantini.it


Kitchen Trends: In & Out for 2016

Lead kitchen designers Karen Williams and Robert Schwartz share their predictions for popular trends in 2016. Joining us in conversation is Lindsey Katalan who discusses her observations on the accessories side of things.

What’s In?

KW: I’ve been working with my clients to pick out statement light fixtures for the kitchen space. The more exquisite the piece, the more inclined homeowners are to put it over their island counter top instead of tucking it away in the dining room”

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The highlight of this kitchen is the custom designed statement chandelier over the island.

RS: Clients are becoming increasingly more receptive to kitchen technology. Whether it’s electronic lift mechanisms, movable islands, or self diagnostic appliances, the kitchen culture is embracing technological products that alleviate “old world problems”, if you will.

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Three visuals of a movable marble backsplash that serves as a second, shallower wall.

LK: Bid adieu to the silver tray and start serving your guests on literal works of art. Porcelain is becoming the new medium for artists such as Marina Abramovic, Jeff Koons and David Lynch. Bernardaud encourages these artists to channel their artistic flare right onto the plate. Talk about a palate cleanser!

David Lynch’s limited edition porcelain artwork available through CURATED

David Lynch’s limited edition porcelain artwork available through our CURATED division.

What’s Out?

KW- I’m glad to see that heavy and over sized hardware is fading out. People are finally realizing that meat locker hinges are disproportionate to the cabinet size. Beautiful cabinetry should be showcased and not hidden behind bulky pulls and handles. I’m excited to see clients choosing more refined hardware in 2016.

RS: Built in coffee makers are being supplemented for small professional countertop models. People are becoming more discerning about every square inch of their kitchen space and ultimately realizing that coffee machines are too bulky for a single function that can be performed by a counter top appliance.

LK- The Sputnik light, my friends, used to be out of this world. Now let’s get it out of this world! Or at least back to Russia.


A Guide to Designing Your Holiday Tabletop by Lindsey Katalan

Regardless of their genesis, holiday traditions have been altered by each and every one of us through the years to fit the likes and styles of our own family, ultimately resulting into ones very own take on the commercial conception of “the holidays”. But some parts of the traditional elements are simply interminable, and rightfully so. When it comes to tabletop decor, it’s important to balance the new and the old, the traditional and the modern, and general with the personal. Which leads me into the discussion of tablecloths.

I rarely advocate the use of tablecloths. I prefer my tables to be a template for modern twists and rarities, and the idea of a crisp white tablecloth is by definition, not that. Rather, it evokes a feeling of an outdated table that intimidates the young and the messy (read me). However, the holidays are a time for exceptions. It’s the one time when you absolutely can’t hold out on a stark white tablecloth. Traditional for the sake of tradition, if you will.

Select a Statement Charger

The first step in outfitting a white tablecloth is finding a statement charger. It is the foundation on which the tablescape will be built. I recommend using a Mottahedeh red charger with gold trim or something equally as vibrant like this Tulips plate by Jeff Koons. It adheres to the color spectrum of the holiday, but remains useful on other occasions. In other words, it’s a better investment than porcelain with reindeer illustrations.

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Never Underestimate the Napkin ring

A napkin ring is the pinnacle of the plate ensemble – the last item you place, and the first item your guests will see. This is the strongest and soundest explanation for investing in a great napkin ring. I suggest matching the color of the ring to at least one other element on the table. Pictured below, the green napkin ring pulls the matching green crystal into a prominent focal point on the table.

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Photo: Alexandra Wolf

Pay attention to Serving Platters

One of the most common oversights in tabletop design is paying meticulous attention to the coordination of your place settings and completely ignoring the platters, bowls, and serving paraphernalia that will be taking up the most space on your table. Even the most aesthetically pleasing dinnerware will get lost in the sea of mix-and-matched serving platters. If you are using family style plating for the holidays, coordinate your platter and bowl options well in advance.

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Arte italica large bowl for a white winterland motif available here.

Bring back the Candelabra

If you’re choosing to have a plated service (formal dinner), focus your attention on centerpiece decor. Candelabra are timeless. Villeroy & Boch makes contemporary candelabras to combat their inherently antiquated feel. To further the informal approach supplement traditional white wax for neon candlesticks. It’s all the rage, and I’m not just saying that because I am in my twenties.

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Villeroy and Boch candelabra available for purchase here.


St. Charles at Sotheby’s Designer Showhouse

The art world is intrigued and enlightened by the Sotheby’s Designer Showhouse, an interactive auction that displays the best of interior and architectural design trends while simultaneously showcasing fine furniture and home accessories.

Illustration of St. Charles kitchen at the Sotheby’s designer show house by Joel Galang

The internationally acclaimed auction house tapped thirteen premier designers to construct a state-of-the-art home experience on their fifth floor. The idea behind the showhouse is to provide a backdrop worthy of Sotheby’s finest home furnishing items. The showhouse is an enlightening experience for art collectors who struggle with product placement. Too much art can often make you feel like you’re living in a museum. As a featured showhouse designer, we are using this opportunity to provide insight in creating a comfortable living space and work with the grain of great art and antiques.

At St. Charles, we are using the showhouse to convey one of our core messages- that art can and should be displayed in the kitchen.

We’ll be posting behind the scenes videos and more. Follow our blog for exclusive access into the making of  the first ever Sotheby’s Kitchen!

For more information about the Sotheby’s show house, go to www.sothebysdesignershowhouse.com/kitchen

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Sotheby’s Designer Show House

The team at St. Charles is delighted to officially announce our dual participation in the 2015 Annual Sotheby’s Designer Show House!

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Karen Williams  and Robert Schwartz of St. Charles of New York will be working alongside a powerhouse line-up of industry leaders to transform the fifth floor of Sotheby’s landmark Upper East Side location into a fully functioning living space. The show, spanning from the 11th to the 19th of April, will serve as an interactive auction of fine art, furniture, and home decor.


We are also thrilled to inform you that St. Charles styling division CURATED will be a featured participant of the show! Working directly with Sotheby’s silver and porcelain departments, Lindsey Schwartz of CURATED is the youngest participant involved in the show.


A Look into our Past

These colorful kitchens from the early 70s may not have adopted the newer trends of time, but the sink still works!

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Forty-two years after installation, these retro green cabinets have passed the test of time.

 

We asked some of our oldest clients to submit photos of their functioning St. Charles kitchens with the initial intention of showcasing their longevity. What we received was a series of working homes that, in their refusal to surrender their aesthetic charm, still stand as testaments to the value of our product.

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Updates to interior decor are born out of a need to replace something broken or malfunctioned. But when our St. Charles cabinetry refused the need to be replaced, the era-defining trends stay put.  After forty some years, these two homeowners find amusement and comfort within the charm of their 70s style kitchen and proudly proclaim its heritage as our own.

 

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“We absolutely LOVE our kitchen!” writes homeowner Jeanine Syska “It feels like we live in a work of art”.

 

 

The two vintage kitchens by St. Charles of New York serve as an homage to a more colorful era when vivid cabinetry was certainly a la mode. Unlike side burns and bell-bottoms, color in the kitchen did not entirely die with the decade. Our designers are proudly creating colorful kitchens every day!

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An opaque blue sets the tone for this contemporary kitchen.

– For enquiries about the green kitchen seen above, please contact Shirley@partnernyc.com for more information.


CURATED in the New York Times

CURATED in the news again! Since the launch of our in-home styling service in October, CURATED by St. Charles has been making headlines in the decorating and design industry.

Check out our Holiday shopping feature with New York Times editor Tim McKeough below. 

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Creative Director, Lindsey Lauren Schwartz goes holiday shopping with the New York Times in Dripping With Charm 


Beyond Crystal: Baccarat x THG Kick off DDB Fall Market 2014

Decorators and designers alike occupied Baccarat’s showroom in the D&D building for one of the more noteworthy events of the DDB 2014 Fall Market launch. The combined forces of THG, Baccarat, and LUXE magazine fashioned a crowd of both established jewel-adorned socialites and fresh-faced industry newcomers.  Upon introduction by LUXE’s Arlyn Hernandez, keynote speaker Matthew Frederick sang praises to the harmonious marriage of two iconic French brands in the form of a new line of crystal bathroom fixtures.

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One of the many grandiose chandeliers with which guests shared the space.

The layout of the Baccarat showroom mandated that guests mingle warily around a host of crystal presentations. “Hold your purse tightly to your body so that you don’t break anything in here”, one experienced partygoer explained to her plus one. Breathtaking chandeliers were suspended at eye level, commanding the attention of the audience and designating the flow of traffic. Guests sipped from Baccarat’s chateau crystal collection of flutes and tumblers– a refreshing contrast to the budget stemware we are most often treated to at similar events.

The reception opened to a grand (the grandest) chandelier that occupied a considerable portion of the main entrance. A myriad of melting blush colored candles decorated the floor space and complemented the colored crystal of the overhanging chandelier. I think that they were trying to be ironic with the juxtaposition of the two illuminating sources. I liked it.


Making the Most of your White Kitchen

 

White kitchens are a popular installation for residents looking to avoid consenting to a ‘trending’ design aesthetic. The hesitation with color-coated kitchens stems from the fear of losing that admiration for, say, cobalt blue panelling over an indeterminate but inevitable period of time. White kitchens may suffice as an easy way to avoid such evanescent affinities, but they often leave homeowners with a cooking space devoid of creative inspiration.  Here at CURATED by St Charles, we believe that the right collection of luxury kitchen accessories is the perfect opportunity to draw color into the kitchen without committing to a palette that might fall out of fashion. We view white spaces as the ideal backdrop for premium accessories. By drawing in color from your culinary necessities, you only commit to a transitional color scheme that can be replaced and updated as soon as ‘amber’ becomes an eyesore. You made a wise choice in choosing a white kitchen, now it’s time to reap the benefits. 

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These red mosaic plates with underlying rose charger gives this tabletop a pop of color. Gold plated Jardin D’eden silverware by Christofle.

Plates

A great place setting is an easy way to heighten the atmospheric allure of a set table. Because of the quantity of items on the tabletop, subtlety is key. As a general rule, avoid overstated solid colored plates and instead look for multi-colored patterns on the outer rims. If you do want to incorporate solids into your tabletop, opt for a brightly colored charger. It lies underneath the plates so you get a sizely pop of color while letting other subtle pieces take center stage.

Colorful crystal

Patterned plates are  an easy way to bring color on to your tabletop, but they remain hidden behind cabinets for the duration of the day. Glassware and crystal, however, remain more prominently displayed. I suggest perusing the collections from William Yeoward and Baccarat, both of whom carry barware rife with color schemes.

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Mille Nuit champagne flutes in blue and green by Baccarat. William Yeoward vita blue goblets pictured on top shelf.