Aug 05, 2021
I met Kat years ago when she was a Design Director at West Elm. Together we collaborated on a few collections of ceramic vases and tableware for the brand. As kindred spirits our friendship has grown over the years and our desire to work together hasn’t faded. Just this year, we collaborated again with a collection of one of a kind candles for her luxurious home fragrance brand Night Space. Here we are again putting our aesthetics together with a gorgeous Tastemakers’ Table story Kat created with photographer Chelsy Mitchell at Le Canard Enchaine in Kingston, NY.
Kat and Chelsy consider themselves storytellers above all else. In this case, the duo really wanted to capture the feeling of old world charm meets modern maker in the flourishing Hudson Valley. Makers, artists, shopkeepers and restaurateurs have flocked to this dynamic area just two hours drive (or train) from Manhattan to set up shop and be inspired by the surrounding rural beauty of the Catskill Mountains and the community that lives here.
Kat’s beautifully curated women’s lifestyle shop, River Mint Finery sits next door to Le Canard Enchaine owned by chef Jean Jacques. Fast friends, Kat and Jean Jacques both bring experiences to their customers that make you feel like you just stepped off a plane and entered a space filled with new discoveries. The restaurant feels like Paris in the heart of Kingston’s Stockade District. You will feel transported to the city of lights in Jean Jacques’ bistro not just by it’s personality and decor but by the authentic French fare. During a year of no travel, Le Canard is just the place to go to feel as if you have arrived on the Left Bank. Fast friends, Kat and Jean Jacques both bring experiences to their customers that make you feel like you just stepped off a plane and entered a space filled with new discoveries.
To create this nostalgic look, Kat chose some pieces from our collection you might not have seen. She started with feminine one-of-a-kind platters and vases that were inspired by peeling bark, blossoms and the randomness of nature. She added pops of color from our DBO WARE collection of colored porcelain handmade for us in Peru. These mixed so well with the French tableware Jean Jacques uses at the restaurant. The addition of charming flowers including anemones (the muse for the vases) and peonies continue the feeling of past memories. All of this set in amongst the bistro decor of La Canard and it’s a romantic table for two please.
Chelsy decided to shoot many of these images on 35 mm film as this is a medium she often used with her love of film. The light and the texture created using analog photography are luscious and homey at the same time. I feel the use of film is now totally modern and glamorous. Perfectly suited for the tableware and accessories Kat chose to tell this story.
Create A Laid Back Classic French Experience At Home
Pop the bubbly to go along with this yummy creme brûlée recipe from Mark Bittman featured in The New York Times. Add Kat’s playlist and enjoy.
2 cups heavy or light cream, or half-and-half
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
½ cup sugar, more for topping
- Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a saucepan, combine cream, vanilla bean and salt and cook over low heat just until hot. Let sit for a few minutes, then discard vanilla bean. (If using vanilla extract, add it now.)
- In a bowl, beat yolks and sugar together until light. Stir about a quarter of the cream into this mixture, then pour sugar-egg mixture into cream and stir. Pour into four 6-ounce ramekins and place ramekins in a baking dish; fill dish with boiling water halfway up the sides of the dishes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until centers are barely set. Cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours and up to a couple of days.
- When ready to serve, top each custard with about a teaspoon of sugar in a thin layer. Place ramekins in a broiler 2 to 3 inches from heat source. Turn on broiler. Cook until sugar melts and browns or even blackens a bit, about 5 minutes. Serve within two hours.
Kat Hammill left the city thirsty for nature and settled roots in Upstate New York where she is originally from. As a creative entrepreneur, designer, and mother whose personal and professional endeavors have informed her aesthetic point of view. Warm, inviting, minimalism that's translated from her work to her home. For over two decades, Kat has brought her multi-disciplinary design approach to launch numerous products, brands, and lifestyles in the art, home and fashion industries. She worked as Design Director of Decorative Accessories at West Elm, is owner of River Mint Finery, and is the co-founder of the luxury home fragrance brand, Night Space.
Follow: @rivermintfinery and @shopnightspace
Visit: River Mint Finery
270 Fair Street
Kingston, NY 12041
Uptown Kingston is the largest remaining example of early Dutch settlement in New York State. In 1777, Uptown Kingston’s Senate House is where the first capital of New York was established. Kat’s other favorite spots to check out while in Kingston: Upstate Capital Market (vintage), Hops Petunia (flowers), Kingston Wine Co., Village Coffee & Goods, Hutton Brickyards, Rondout Lighthouse, Hudson River Maritime Museum, Old Dutch Church.
Chelsy Mitchell is a New York-based filmmaker and photographer with a passion for analog media. She received both her Masters and Bachelors of Arts in Media Studies from The New School. Combining time-tested film formats and a sensuous dream-like aesthetic, Chelsy's work inspires a unique feeling of contemporary nostalgia. She considers her approach to storytelling to be one based in sensitivity.
See more of Chelsy’s work: chelsymitchell.com
Le Canard Enchaine
276 Fair Street
Kingston, NY 12401
You can make your own artful vignettes with a curated selection of pieces, available at a special price for a limited time.