Design:

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

Photography: Adrian Gaut
Styling: Colin King
Production: Studio Lou
Design Concept Illustration: Anouk Colantoni

I can always recall the first point of inspiration, the story, the narrative in selecting pieces within my home. For me, it is the constant seeking and searching that always fascinates. I am relentless and unwavering until a piece feels “right.” Years of adapting, altering, and experimenting with treasures in my own home led the way to this very personal collection designed in collaboration with Crate & Barrel.

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

It’s incredibly gratifying to come full circle now and to witness how people translate these pieces into their own homes. This collection blends my creative doctrine with Crate & Barrel’s rich heritage of modern design to bring ease and elegance to any home—it transcends trends in its timelessness.

While choosing favorites wasn’t easy, I knew you’d be interested to learn the stories behind some of the standout pieces in the collection and discover how they came to life. So, here goes! 

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

CONTEMPLATION TABLE

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

I love a center table in an entry or to build a vignette. It’s always so interesting to see what a round table offers a space, pulling it away from the flat wall and thinking outside of the standard rectilinear boundaries. The chunky base of this table in a plaster-like artisanal texture is irregular and faceted while the tonal surface is sharp-edged pale travertine making this table suitable for any space or style. Style the surface with an overscale vessel with branches, a sculpture, a lamp, or your favorite books. I love the versatility of this table—it could be used in an entryway but also as a small dining table.

Rodin Bench

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

I have a true love affair with French 40’s wrought iron furniture and the elegant French mid-century modern neoclassical forms of Gilbert Poillerat. For me, this style represents the purity of materials and simplicity of execution, offering the imperfect beauty of the hand in the ironwork and yet the timeless elegance of a regal, stately piece of furniture, particularly when upholstered in a lush fabric like mohair or velvet. All of these elements create that perfect friction. We named this series in the collection Rodin because the Rodin museum in Paris shifted my love and appreciation of any and all metalwork and sculpture. I spent hours on end exploring those gardens and the intricacies of Rodin’s artistry rooted in craft and emotion. It shifted how I appreciated the beauty and transformative power of the imperfect. We built out this Rodin series in the collection to encompass a bench to live in an entryway or at the foot of a bed, a bar cart coupled with travertine stone, a desk chair upholstered in a cozy shearling, and a standing candelabra.

L’ENCHÈRE ottoman 

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

Who doesn’t love a mini stool? Perfect to nestle under a console or to pull up as an added seat or surface, they simply offer a multitude of décor options to embellish your space. These lil’ cuties are called L’enchere because they are inspired by the French 50’s stools I purchased at auction for my Amagansett home a few years ago. We love that you can mix and match the lower cube or pair two of the same shape as the originals are styled in my Amagansett home. This stylish stool is covered in real shearling and the round legs make it subtly playful.

SASSOLINO COFFEE TABLE

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

I speak at great length about how I love contrasting materials and building a design dialogue. The Sassolino unifies both of these design principles that I use throughout my work. I love to huddle two forms and heights together—a petite shape nestled beneath its larger counterpart. I also love a dual height and that friction in materiality. The two pieces can be bought together or separately. The smaller guy is the perfect side table on its own! The top forms in the Sassolino are very much inspired by a puddle or the shape of the rocks I collect at the beach for my daily sunset walks in Amagansett—their soft and rounded weather-beaten edge on the beach helped inform the design of this table. The finish is textured and stone-like while the legs are in a bleached burlwood. I love the union of the slick burlwood paired with the chunky, pitted texture of the plaster top offering that contrast I always crave. The larger table top is gripped by the sturdy burl legs. I love how this atypical biomorphic shape breaks up more angular lines, softening a space. Not a square or rectangular and not round or oval but something imperfect in form.

l’Union Floor Lamp

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Photographed in 2018 Live Beautiful by Nicole Franzen.
Photographed in 2018 Live Beautiful by Nicole Franzen.

I love to be led by design at every turn. While you can’t always count on it to occur, when the union of two very separate ideas, periods, continents, price point, and vision seamlessly come together, it is the stuff design dreams are made of. It is also a lesson in trusting your eye, even when something is incomplete. Enter the L’Union arc floor lamp. I was in Paris shooting for Live Beautiful in July 2018 when I made my way to Les Puces, the Paris Flea to meet with a dealer I was Insta friends with. I saw this 1950’s french arc of an iron floor lamp but it had no shade. Smitten by its form, I purchased it hoping I would find its perfect match eventually. It sat incomplete for some time until I was about to shoot my Brooklyn home for Architectural Digest in October of that same year. and it kicked me into high gear to wrap up the decorative design. A deep late-night dive into Etsy led me to a 1970’s rattan shade that I hoped would unify with the blackened base. Well, that unification became an instant classic, an icon within my space. Unintentional and perfect, we knew recreating this lamp would become an instant star based on countless inquiries and it has already become a best-seller in the collection. 

Revival Petite SIDE TABLE

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

What a story this unique table has to tell. Upon delivery, the original walnut French 50’s side table was mistaken for trash. But not only was it destined for sanitation but it was also crushed (almost beyond repair) in the compression garbage truck. Well, never one to accept defeat, out came the wood glue and a vice alongside some heavy manipulation, a few tears, and the will of both me and my husband. Together we Humpty-Dumptied the table back together again. Sure, you can still see its scars, and yes, I can only style this table at a very specific angle to hide its crushed perimeter but I love it all the same. This damaged relic deserved to see the light of day in my collection. The Revival table retains its identifiable ridging on the legs (which inspired countless other pieces throughout the collection too) and wire brushing with a light ivory ceruse finish. The tabletop material shifted to travertine, modernizing the original design that still resides in my Amagansett home.

Revival Platform Bed

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

The perfect headboard along with a minimalist, clean-lined platform bed has eluded me for years—in an effort to crack that design code, we created an upholstered panel, adhered to the wall coupled with a custom frame in my home. The Revival unifies those two separate designs into one perfect bed IMO! I loooove an extended headboard that reaches beyond the mattress and beyond the bedframe. Its long rectilinear shape offered upholstered comfort but its low profile allows for a streamlined look, as well as ample space for artwork above. The platform bed also has a frame that extends beyond the mattress for a minimalist look that suits any style and yet the cylindrical legs and ridging detail sets this design apart from the rest. It’s the small, simple, and refined details that read elegant to me. Knowing that many bedrooms might not be able to accommodate a large headboard, we designed this bed to be sold as two separate pieces that can be purchased individually.

ruins Table Lamp

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

Nothing makes our hearts go pitter-patter more than the tactile quality of ceramic. The Ruins lamp marries our deep appreciation for beauty and utility—for textures that also make something beautiful to touch and to look at. This lamp really is functional art! It also touches on our perfectly imperfect motto with its offbeat design and organic shape. We love incorporating patinated surfaces through artisanal pieces that reflect the charm of the hand to bring depth and meaning home. The linen pleated shade subtly nods to this ridging and fluting that is consistent throughout the collection.

Le TUCO ARM CHAIR

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

When designing my Amagansett home for the second time to coincide with the release of my design book, Live Beautiful, I chose to incorporate neutral and tactile furnishing, one being a new armchair for the living room. Perfectly petite, its 1950s Scandinavian proportions bathed in shearling make it super cuddly with just the right amount of tufting. The chair instantly became the most beloved chair for our family and went viral on Instagram with hundreds of re-grams and inquiries of its origins. Furthermore, once we adopted our rescue puppy, Tuco it became his favorite chair to snuggle upon. Each morning, my husband, Victor would sip his morning coffee on this chair only to have Tuco come over, nudge him with his nose, and subsequently prompt him to get up out of “T’s chair.” Before Victor fully relinquished the chair, Tuco was hopping right up onto it. It was the sweetest and most hilarious routine! Hence, the Le Tuco chair was born. The version we designed for this collection is inspired by my original chair, but we adapted the proportions, changed the slope of the arms, and added sphere-like wooden legs. I LOVE THIS CHAIR and it is our prediction that it will become the number one seller of the collection—timeless, elegant, and petite!

Es Taller Dining Table

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

The table as a whole unifies our overlapping passions of both design and food. It is a coming together of so much emotion and connectivity, flavors, and décor. There is a feeling, a heart-opening, receptivity that occurs around a table. It is here that ideas are born, friendships are made, and delicious flavors fuse together. It is where we laugh. It is where we feel safe and most happy. It is where we linger for hours after a meal ends. For years I have continually referenced my dining table as my workshop. Where I go to workshop relationships, where I workshop a new dish, where I workshop my own creativity. Around the table is an experience like no other, there is this silent conduit, a channel of connection that comes alive. And so we designed Es Taller (the workshop) to have a channel running around the perimeter, ingrained within the wood to act as a symbol of connectivity. This table is also rustic to its core and inspired by the classic stretcher base reclaimed farm table I designed for my Amagansett home almost 13 years ago. While we wanted the design to remain rooted in its provincial style, we also yearned for more elegant proportions. Extending and exaggerating the stretcher base with the subtle triangular slant is a nod to contemporary, Swedish, art deco design. As always we love to fuse together two separate ideas but at its core, this table’s emphasis is rooted in minimalism and functionality—our forever workshop.

Ceremonie Dining Chair

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

This chair is an ode to the Italian 1970’s walnut dining chairs in my Amagansett home. We just love the statement of the double vertical sexy-back structure. This chair was reimagined in a beautiful cerused and wire brushed fumed oak and is shown in a durable neutral bouclé fabric as well as a green mohair. We named this chair Ceremonie because sitting around the table is rooted in ceremony, connecting with those you love most when you break bread. It is the purest experience we know. The end result is an amalgamation of a few design 70’s design references with updated proportion, scale, and comfort in mind. There is nothing I despise more than an uncomfortable chair so we made sure to add cushy upholstery to the back support too.

PANNEAU CABINET

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

We wanted to create a multifunctional cabinet that can be used in a variety of spaces throughout the home. Being that the interior of the cabinet is equipped with shelves, we can see this piece in the kitchen or dining room to hold plates and glassware, in a family room to house media, or even in a bedroom to hold folded sweaters and clothing—the sky’s the limit. When designing the face of this cabinet we wanted the design to be rooted in simplicity. We chose for the doors to have a nuanced stripe motif, visually structured by alternating vertical and horizontal oak veneer. The subtle geometric variation in the direction of the wood feels both classic and contemporary at once. This piece is proof that the simplest of designs can offer the most refinement and timelessness.

Revival Counter Stool

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

When I renovated my Amagansett home I fell down that rabbit hole of discovery (as I love to do) in a bid to find a unique stool. I stumbled upon a 1970s square-legged rattan counter stool that was woven in a multicolor rattan and retained perfectly clean lines. The responsiveness from my audience to the structure of this stool had immediate fanfare. I worked closely with the Crate & Barrel design team to create a stool that took inspiration from this 70’s classic while making it our own with tubular legs and ridging (as seen on the rest of the Revival series in the collection) while adjusting the proportions and incorporating the textural fabric of bouclé. Back support was also considered. I am likely most proud of this design as counter stools are SOOOOO hard to find.

DÉlicat Taper CANDLE Holder

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

We wanted to design a series of footed bowls from the classic pedestal to the exaggerated one. Our goal was to find that deliberate sweet spot where form and beauty meet function to be used on the dining table, on the coffee table, on the kitchen counter, or styled within your shelves. The Délicat series meets every one of our decorative desires—it’s dainty and, well, delicate, refined yet substantial. It’s also tactile with a textured finish and subtle, refined, and well, delicate, matte ridges in a sun-faded, ashen hue of terracotta. All of the fine details from the petit handles to the ridge around the perimeter feel refined. The design offers just the right amount of restraint and embellishments. They are also the result of another happy accident. When we first developed these forms we realized they’d also make for exceptional candle holders, so we adapted some of the taller pedestal bowls to hold a taper candle. Functional beauty strikes again!

douzee appetizer plates

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

The Douzee appetizer plates are something I always knew I wanted to create one day. Funny story, when I got married over 22 years ago, I registered at Crate+Barrel for a set of 12 appetizer plates. I literally used them EVERY TIME I ENTERTAINED for over two decades. However, (no disrespect) a shiny white square plate is definitely not my style anymore but a lot of what we designed for this collection is what we felt was needed or did not exist. Enter a set of small appetizer plates that have a matte texture and updated imperfect finish and look—it just felt like a no-brainer for entertaining.

 

Saveur 3-Part Bowl

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

This cutie is an ode to having an atypically-shaped vessel to serve nibbles in. I always struggle when everything is singular, the same shape, same size, same material—SAME SAME SAME! The Saveur is simply not the same as other bowls. Inspired by the black dual vintage clay vessel that holds my wooden spoons, we wanted to design a piece that does double beauty—decorative yet functional. This bowl can sit atop your coffee table as a sculpture, as a place to burn incense, on your kitchen island with your favorite snacks, or it can be a place to hold your jewelry. Regardless of its use, it’s a beautiful shape and material, and it’s unique to the core. The Saveur also features the ridged detailing seen throughout the collection.

A Coste Glassware

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

Even the simplest detail like the ridging we incorporated throughout this collection can conjure emotion and summon the senses. It has the ability to elevate the most everyday experience like drinking a glass of water. I have always loved thin glassware—it just hits different on the lip—and the Crate & Barrel design team really knocked this one out of the park. While the fluted detailing and thin edge of the glassware are subtle to the eye, the experience when drinking from them is anything but—they feel delicate, dainty, and modern, turning an ordinarily mundane moment into something really special. This is the power of thoughtful design.

Relic & Pompeii Pedestal

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

To me, contrast is everything, and that goes for shape, material, texture, tonality, you name it. I have two pedestals in my Brooklyn home that found their natural place nestled together. One taller, angular, and wooden with an aged patina, the other round, shorter, and in weathered stone. They were both purchased at auction and separately. I had no intention of having the two of them live together in the same room, let alone the same corner but when you find design magic by accident, you celebrate it. Together these two pedestals complemented and elevated one another, and caused just the right amount of friction to lure the eye (and raise the eye), warranting a whole lot of intrigue. We knew a version of this odd coupling needed to be part of the Crate & Barrel collection. The Relic is timeless and rustic at once—it can live on its own adding verticality to a corner or hallway while offering an additional surface to style upon. The Pompeii drew inspiration from the weather-beaten, broken, and stacked columns you would find in ancient Greece or in Pompeii. We wanted the pieces to appear to be stacked atop one another haphazardly as though they might tumble or crumble at any given moment.

ANGOLARE SECTIONAL

Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection
Athena’s Favorite Pieces From the Crate & Barrel Collection

The Angolare struck that perfect balance between soft bulbous proportions with harsher, angular seaming and lines, beautifully tapping into our love for juxtaposition. This modular sofa is buildable, including corner pieces for a larger sectional or straight interior components with an ottoman to suit your needs. The design takes inspiration from 1970s Italian and German forms. It is available in three earth-inspired hues: basil, pecan, and mink in faux mohair which is soft to the touch, surprisingly forgiving, and very durable.

What are your favorites from the Athena Calderone for Crate & Barrel collection?

Share them with us on social using the hashtag #AthenaForCrate  

Photography: Adrian Gaut
Styling: Colin King
Production: Studio Lou
Design Concept Illustration: Anouk Colantoni

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