February 24, 2017

Family Run Kitchen Artisans

From generations of passionate foodies to partnerships that transcend the boundaries of marriage, this week’s spotlight is focused on creative teams who also happen to be family. Family run endeavors offer a deep rooted sense of purpose, practical design, and ultimately a deep commitment to producing quality goods. When items are curated or handmade by multi-generational teams or powerful husband-wife duos, something truly magical happens. Many of the most successful grassroots companies—like a few of our favorites, Mastro Company, REVOL, and Wooden Palate—are founded on a strong sense of creativity and belonging. Each of their items reflects this passion and inspires tasteful home kitchen design.

Mastro Company was founded on the idea that family shapes our creative passions, our worldview, and our sources of inspiration. Owner Gene Reese’s grandparents, Mario and Maria Maccaferri, ran a similarly named business in the 1950s (Mastro Industries), which inspired the name for the modernized Mastro Company. While Gene’s grandparents’ business specialized in plastic household items such as toys and clothespins, the modern incarnation of the Mastro name focuses on woods, metals, ceramics, textiles, and glassware. Their stock includes a mixture of vintage items and new pieces handmade by American artisans. This silver antler-handled soup ladle, for example, is hammered by hand in Nashville Tennessee by the artist Ben Caldwell.

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Each piece at Mastro Company is designed for the discerning home chef and draws heavy inspiration from Gene’s own memories of his grandparents’ kitchen. He distinctly remembers their commercial grade appliances and their “prosciutto slicer in the wine cellar” as emblems of both their own Italian heritage and their worldly travels. This sterling silver creamer and sugar set by Frank M. Whiting Co. perfectly captures the union of old and new styles that marks today’s Mastro collection.

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Founded in France in 1768, REVOL represents another family business — and has the longest running record of this week’s featured sellers. It began in Lyon under the ownership of Pierre Revol and his wife Magdalene Carrier, both master potters who had no way of knowing what REVOL would become. The company survived the industrial revolution, using handmade casts and molds to expedite the creation process. REVOL eventually transitioned into oven-to-table cast iron products and continues to produce high-quality kitchen items to this day, like the belle cuisine baking dish collection and the modern color lab table collection.

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Last but not least, the husband and wife duo at The Wooden Palate show us the enduring power of uniting creative powers. Craftsman Robert Silverman and private chef Eileen O’Dea bring together years of experience and an eye for practical design. They work with reclaimed woods and sustainably sourced materials, as well as with all natural finishes like beeswax, palm oil, and mineral oils. Their black walnut salt sphere is a perfect example of the couple’s ability to balance modern design, earthy materials, and usability. Some of their items, like the coaster set with wooden holder, feature reclaimed wood from special locations—like the Atlantic City boardwalk, or a redwood tree that has died of natural causes.

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Family gives us so many things: encouragement, love, generations of knowledge, and partnership. It seems only natural that family run businesses within the world of kitchen design carry rich histories of cooking or new visions of material sourcing. Either way, the passion shows through each artisanal piece.

If you love these items, you’ll love the rest of the family run goods in our Propped storefront!

You can also follow these makers on Instagram at @mastrocompany @REVOL and @the_woodenpalate.

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