As an interior designer, bestselling author and Eye Swoon founder Athena Calderone slides through her Brooklyn brownstone, which has been transformed to showcase her first-ever furniture collection featuring Crate & Barrel (her usual furniture is in the basement), she runs a manicured hand over the convex bouclé of the wrought iron chair she designed and then along the wire brush finish of her cerused white oak dinner table. There’s no denying it: every piece is dead sexy.
From round low benches to rattan lighting, the 137-piece collection, which also includes tabletop and art, is inspired by 1950s France and Italy’s 1970s, but it’s all closely tied to Calderone’s life story. “Almost every piece has some sort of story to tell,” she says. “It’s all connected to me in some way, whether it’s something I collected at the Paris flea market or a piece of furniture I bought and lost or destroyed.” She refers specifically to the revivala boldly named round marble-topped side table that is based on a piece she owned that was crushed in a trash compactor when it was mistaken for trash.
Like the world of Calderone, there is serious content behind the beauty in this collection. She gets especially excited when she describes a matte clay center bowl. She leans forward, points to the circular pit in the center, then gleefully explains, “You could also put a candle with a candle in it—isn’t that great?” That’s the thing about some of the best pieces in the collaboration: They do double duty.
A marble tray, for example, isn’t just a fancy place to serve cheeses when guests come over. It would look just as at home in a bathroom topped with perfume and makeup.
If they have the . opens little cupboard hiding the bowl-meets-candleholder (along with other tabletop pieces from the collection), she mentions that the entire piece can be repurposed as a wardrobe. “It just feels so sophisticated, like the French Chambron style of the 1950s,” she says of the linear silhouette.
In the tabletop collection, the etched glassware is great for vino, but also as a dessert. Calderone freely admits she’s not over a coupe glass. “I actually sometimes order a drink because it’s in a compartment”, she says with a laugh.
In front, travertine planters contain greenery, but Calderone says you can turn them upside down and use them as pedestals or plant stands. an entrance to console would also make a great desk, she emphasizes. It’s that combination of great style and great substance that makes Calderone’s taste impeccable, and the collection, well, taciturn.
Calderone’s two-for-one treasures
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