Designer Friday: An ASPIRE Exclusive Interview With Karen Williams

Over the course of eight decades, St. Charles New York, under the leadership of principal designer Karen Williams, has offered beautiful design, unwavering service, and problem-solving solutions. By creating kitchens that are equal parts distinguished, chic, and functional, Karen has rightfully claimed her spot as Top Innovator by Kitchen & Bath by Design News. Her classic yet modern take on design embellishes each space she completes with an air of sophistication and refinement. Introducing this Friday’s featured Designer, Karen Williams.

The matte cabinets, marble countertops and backsplash, and utterly irresistible gold finishings within this gorgeous kitchenette are nothing short of savoir vivre.

Andrew Joseph: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
Karen Williams: An Architect, if that’s not too similar then most likely a chef.

Andrew: What was your first job?
Karen: A secretary at a large insurance company.

Andrew: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
Karen: I would love to design an open kitchen and breakfast area for a home at an exotic location – Bali or Thailand

Andrew: What are you most proud of?
Karen: Other than the obvious of my family and children, I am most proud of the fact that clients ask me to design multiple homes for them after completing their main house. Now I am being asked to design their children’s homes.

Not only is wooden cutlery environmentally conscious, but it’s also incredibly chic. They say “simplicity is luxury,” and if these aren’t the prime example, then I’m just not sure what is.

Andrew: How would you define your work in three words?
Karen: Tailored, Elegant and Inviting

Andrew: Favorite piece of clothing you own?
Karen: A beautiful Dior Scarf. It really compliments everything I wear.

Andrew: Style (or design) icon?
Karen: Carolina Herrera – Tailored, sophisticated and chic.

There’s nothing more luxurious than an all white kitchen. With accents of slate and blossoms of Queen Anne’s Lace, this kitchen is superbly designed to last and impress.

Andrew: What are three things you can’t live without?
Karen: My perfume (Carolina Herrera), my steam oven, and my sketch pad.

Andrew: What’s your design pet peeve?
Karen: The expression of “Thinking outside the box”.

Andrew: What’s something you always travel with?
Karen: My journal.

About The Designer | Passionate about design, cooking and entertaining, Karen Williams, principal, St. Charles New York, is a nationally recognized award-winning creator of highly custom kitchens and interior spaces for discerning clients in the New York area, as well as nationally and internationally.

Williams, an allied ASID member, studied interior design at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, and is now a principal of St. Charles New York, an independent boutique kitchen design firm. She regularly travels the globe, searching out the latest trends and resources, and attending cooking classes. She has studied at the Escoffier and at La Cornue in Paris and attended demonstrations with Charlie Trotter in Chicago. Closer to home, she has taken classes with Jean Georges’ pastry chef Johnny Luzzini (who taught her to make marshmallows) and The Four Seasons Chefs de Cuisine Pecko Zantilaveevan and Larry Finn.

With her unique blend of talents, it’s no wonder Williams has designed kitchens and interior spaces for prominent New Yorkers like Union Square chef Michael Romano and celebrity jewelry designer Joan Hornig, as well as created test kitchens for Food & Wine magazine. Clients appreciate Williams’ singular focus on their individual needs and lifestyles. Whether she is working on an historic landmark home by architect A. Hays Town in Baton Rouge, a restored barn in Sag Harbor, an English castle in Westchester or a Tribeca Loft, this versatile kitchen designer finds exactly the right style for each. Prominent architects and interior designers often seek her out as a collaborator on projects like these.

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME magazine. See more of his work here.

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