Ask an Expert: Karen Williams

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By: Karen Williams from St. Charles of New York

Transforming a Small Kitchen into a Space For Entertaining

Q: Hi Karen, I love to cook but my apartment’s kitchen is pretty tiny. Do you have any tips on how to get the most functionality out of a small cooking space? Thanks! - Matt

A: Small kitchens are always challenging for someone who enjoys cooking. I like to find multi-functioning appliances like a micro/convection oven or steam/convection oven to use the space more efficiently. They're both relatively small and can function as a full oven if need be. Deep cabinets can be overrated. I’ve found that a wall with shallow cabinetry works quite well for small appliances and platters. Try putting additional drawers in the top base area or invest in a step stool for hard-to-reach items in upper cabinets. Another very simple fix is finding a cutting board that fits over your sink. It not only saves countertop space, but also allows for scraps to be scraped into the sink.

Ask an Expert with Karen Williams - on The Interior Collective

Image: Kitchen design by Karen Williams. This 9.5 x 19 foot kitchen cleverly incorporates storage solutions to maximize the size of the space.

Best Displays for Wine Collections

Q:Hi Karen, I love to cook in the kitchen but I also love keeping my wine collection in sight. What are some ways of incorporating wine storage into kitchen design without the possibility of damaging the wines from too much exposure to heat? Thanks! -Ellen

A: The only proper way to store wine is in a cool space or refrigerator. Try creating a place for this wine unit from Liebheri- it’s about the size of a microwave. There are also freestanding units that can double as an end
table in a seating area.

Kitchen Features for Entertaining

Q: Hi Karen! I’m currently in the market for a new home and at the top of my checklist is a stylish kitchen. Can you recommend some must-have features that are both functional and beautifully designed. Hoping to incorporate pieces that will transition from daily life to entertaining seamlessly. - Tessa

A: A stylish rolling cart is always a hit and it can act as an open bar where guest can help themselves. Another option is to utilize a beautiful built in Walnut top that can be used as both a prep area and a place to set appetizers or cheeses. Wine coolers or beverage drawers will be a welcome addition.

Autour by Karen Williams

Image: Autour designed by Karen Williams. This is a versatile staging, serving, and storage unit with a walnut top, ideal for prepping and entertaining.

1 Comment

  1. Hi! i am about to purchase ceasar stone for the kitchen counter tops, my kitchen
    has light grey tiles on wall & floor, slightly busy & kitchen cupboards are white, please
    advise me as to what colour counter tops can i purchase, i like my kitchen to look elegant, please, please advise me on the colour ceasar stone tx

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Karen Williams, Principal of St. Charles of New York, is an award-winning New York City-based designer of highly custom kitchens and other rooms for discerning clients. Her work crowns homes across the U.S. plus overseas, as well. Regularly featured in national design publications such as Elle Decor, Hamptons, Robb Report, and Traditional Home, Williams created test kitchens for House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, and Food & Wine magazines. Celebrity jewelry Joan Hornig, Union Square Hospitality’s Michael Romano, and Robin Roberts, founder of Clarence House Fabrics, all have her kitchens, as do many shelter magazine editors. She has been selected four times to participate in the prestigious Kips Bay Decorator Show House, and was also invited to do a kitchen in the ASID show house for the Scarsdale Women’s Club. Most recently, Williams was awarded the Global First Place Award in the Traditional category in the kitchen design contest conducted by Sub-Zero and Wolf —the only American to take a first prize honor in the 2010-2012 contest. Williams is passionate about food and wine, regularly participating in cooking demonstrations with high profile chefs and traveling frequently to France and Napa for wine tastings, and to Italy and Germany for design shows. Her insights as an accomplished cook enhance all of her kitchen designs. See more of her work on the St. Charles of New York website.