Cabinetry for the Top Two Percent

General / People / Places / Products / August 13, 2012

The iconic company that produced custom cabinetry for the Farnsworth House and Fallingwater is undergoing a rebirth.

St Charles has been acquired from Viking Range Company by Karen Williams and Robert Schwartz of St Charles New York, who’ve been with the firm for 30 years. They’re joined by the team of 13 designers and craftspeople who’ve also worked with the luxury brand for years.
“St Charles is first quality across the board – I’ve always thought of our clients as the top two percent of the market,” says Schwartz.  “It’s about great design, signature elements and pieces that differentiate themselves from other cabinetry.”
For decades after its founding in 1935, the firm was known for its all-metal kitchens. In the 1990s, it began to branch out into laminates, woods and lacquers.  It now offers exotic veneers, as well as powder-coated and stainless steel doors on woods, acrylics and urethane.

“These are not products for every home,” he says.  “It’s custom millwork that’s unique to the upper tier of the luxury market.”

Architects and interior designers seek out the firm for collaboration on design/build and a highly customized end product featuring cabinets, trim, grillwork and countertops.

“With us, they get access to design expertise that a millwork house doesn’t have,” he says.  “That means working with appliances, storage and counter space that are integrated into the home.”

The boutique  firm, located in the Architects and Designers Building in New York, has been focused primarily on a clientele base there.  That’s about to change.  While the Manhattan location will remain its flagship, Schwartz and Williams plan to begin branching out to other cities as well.

“We want to target the finest projects, whatever the demographics,” he says.

For more information, go to http://www.stcharlesusa.net/

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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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