Karen Williams Joins Institute of Classical Architecture & Art

Now that she’s doing more historic renovation work,  Karen Williams has joined the prestigious Institute of Classical  Architecture & Art. Her interest in the field has been growing with projects such as a special landmark A. Hays Town residence in Baton Rouge,  an English-style castle in Westchester, and  several historic barns in the Hamptons and Sag Harbor.

Karen Williams at English castle in Westchester

Karen Williams has been doing an increasing amount of historic renovation work, including a kitchen area addition to this English-style castle in Westchester.

As a professional member, she’ll have access to a wide array of classes, tours, lectures, salons and conferences. The non-profit ICAA is dedicated to advancing the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism, and their allied arts. Karen is looking forward to expanding her knowledge of the vernacular of classical architecture and exploring its translation into kitchens and architectural space planning today.

Institute of Classical Architecture & Art

She’ll be in good company too. Robert Stern, Charlotte Moss, Jamie Drake and Stephen Wang are among the renown architects and designers who are members.


Karen Williams Project Diary: an English Castle in Westchester

After months in the works, the new kitchen area has come together beautifully. There are still a lot of finishing touches to be done, but here’s a first look at the project.

English castle kitchen

The kitchen is finally installed in the English castle, but there is still more work to be done including finishing up the electrical, installing decorative hardware and more.

English castle perspective

The plan has come to life, with a few modifications along the way as ideas evolved.

Counter detail

Careful attention to details such as this precise corner is a hallmark of St. Charles of New York kitchens.

   pantry side

Another special feature of the kitchen is this recessed pantry with contrasting doors.

pantry interior

Fitted with convenient roll-outs, shelves and small drawers, the pantry interior is as good looking as it is functional.

Next up: A look at the fabulous pewter bar area.


Karen Williams Project Diary: an English Castle in Westchester

Ordered months ago, the French La Cornue Chateau range, and the highly custom cabinetry from Amish craftsmen in Pennsylvania have all been carefully fabricated and meticulously inspected, with Karen Williams fielding questions and coordinating details all along.

Now their delivery to Westchester has finally been orchestrated, along with myriad other products for the renovation. The big day has arrived and the kitchen is set to be installed by the highly experienced team of St. Charles of New York craftsmen.

La Cornue delivery

Hand-crafted in France, the La Cornue Chateau range arrives at the Westchester site.

La Cornue uncrated

The well padded Chateau range is uncrated at the doorway to the new kitchen of the English-style castle.

The range is moved into the kitchen.

The range is moved into the carefully prepared kitchen space.

La Cornue range set in place

...and set into place, with the top ready to be added.

Cabinet installation

Next the fine furniture-grade custom cabinets are installed.

Additional cabinets intalled

With an experienced installation crew, St. Charles of New York makes sure that all doors and drawers are carefully aligned when the installation is complete.

Cabinet install

Countertops fabricated by St. Charles of New York's thoroughly vetted sources will be installed once the cabinets are in place.

Finishing up the installation

Now the kitchen is really coming together, but there is still a lot of finessing and many more hours of work to be done.

Next up: We unveil the room.


Karen Williams Project Diary: An English Castle in Westchester

All the elements for the new kitchen area have been in the works for a while now, from the highly custom cabinetry to the one-of-a-kind La Cornue range. Decisions have been made about decorative hardware, counter top materials, plumbing fixtures, lighting and more.

Meanwhile on site, builders have been diligently working on the renovation of the newly extended kitchen area, involving both interior and exterior construction, ensuring the space will be ready when it’s time for the installation.

Karen and her staff have made numerous site visits to be sure all the details are correct. Even a seemingly small error in Sheetrocking, electrical, plumbing or other construction can wreak havoc on an installation.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what’s been happening.

English castle kitchen extension exterior

The English style castle is getting a new extension for the kitchen area.

Exterior renovation English castle

Exterior work continues on the extension with new roof and windows.

interior under construction English castle

Meanwhile the interior of the kitchen area addition is under construction as well.

stone work on inside of English castle

The new kitchen incorporates beautiful stone work in keeping with the exterior of the English-style castle.

interior window detail

Unlike "reality" TV shows, many weeks of work are required to perfect the new kitchen interior.

Attention to detail

Attention to detail upfront is paramount to ensure the new kitchen comes together as planned.

Ceiling in English castle kitchen

A kitchen is much more than appliances and cabinetry. Designer Karen Williams and her team give just as much consideration to the ceiling, floors, other surfaces and lighting so the room is totally harmonious.

window detail

It may not look beautiful at the moment, but this window arch will be a stunning focal point in the new kitchen.

Next up: The products arrive, the highly trained installers work their magic, and the kitchen area comes to life!


Karen Williams Project Diary: an English Castle in Westchester

Behind the scenes in an atelier in France, the renovation of a kitchen in an English-style castle in Westchester is beginning to come to life. Karen Williams has selected pewter bar area countertops for their old-world charm and beautiful patina.

After careful checking and double checking of drawings and specifications, the hands-on work has begun. First, the wood base is meticulously fabricated.

wood base for pewter countertop

In a French atelier, work on a pewter countertop begins with the meticulous building of the wood base.

Then the pewter is laid over the base.

pewter countertop

Pewter is laid over the wood base for the countertop.

Then the metal artisans begin the hand work of applying the pewter, using age-old techniques.

pewter countertop atelier

Using age-old techniques, the pewter countertop is fabricated in a French workshop.

Hand crafting a pewter countertop

Handcrafted pewter countertop will add old world grace to a renovated kitchen and bar in Westchester.

Karen Williams regularly seeks out one-of-a-kind resources in the U.S. and abroad for her discriminating clients.  Like this handcrafted pewter countertop, her special sources always bring a unique touch to her projects.

Next up: the countertop and a French range arrive at the Westchester location.


Project Diary Karen Williams: Baton Rouge Landmark Home

Karen Williams has been retained to renovate the kitchen of an historic home designed by the renowned Southern architect A. Hays Town. The Baton Rouge residence is one of about 1,000 that Town created featuring a singular style of understated elegance based on French and Spanish architecture.

a hays town courtyard a hays town interior

Like many Town homes, the one Williams is working on exudes classic Louisiana elements such as a center courtyard, raised front porch, exterior stairs, French doors with Creole-influenced, full-length shutters, and dramatic 13-foot ceilings.

It also features Town’s signature use of recycled local building materials. He was one of the first architects to salvage old floorboards, mantles or flagstones and incorporate them into new houses. Elements such as brick floors with a special beeswax finish gave his homes a comfortable, elegant feel.

Of special note to Williams is the aged cypress wood in this Baton Rouge residence, which Town incorporated because of its beauty and its innate adaptabililty to the humid climate.

Karen William's challenge is to update the kitchen while respecting the history of the A. Hay Town residence.

Williams challenge is to respect the heritage and materials of the home, which is featured in the book Louisiana Houses of A. Hays Town, while creating an up-to-date kitchen.

Watch our blog as the new kitchen in this landmark home comes to life.