Setting the scene

They’re not just in June anymore.

No, weddings are celebrated throughout the year.

And Burkelman, the Cold Spring home design and accessories destination, has quickly become a noted source for sophisticated and unique wedding gifts.

With an emphasis on artistic finds and handcrafted creations, its statement-making offerings are the ideal options for couples about to create their own kitchens, entertaining spaces — and family traditions.

And the creative forces behind Burkelman — Kevin Burke and David Kimelman — know well about wedding gifts, registries and the like.

They’re here, they say, to help — and avoid those wedding-related clichés. And they know those firsthand, as the Croton-on-Hudson couple marked not one, not two but three toaster ovens among their own wedding gifts.

Sure, they might tell the story with a laugh or two, but you know they’d like nothing more than to spare others a similar scenario.

The boutique, which celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, is the brick-and-mortar realization of the Burkelman website that introduced the effort in 2014. It’s a stylish combination of Burke’s experience as a creative executive in the fashion industry and Kimelman’s background in documentary and portrait photography.

To date, it’s not only been a rewarding effort but one that has caught the eye of national publications, including Vogue and Architectural Digest.

Now, with both the shop expanded into all the categories the pair envisioned and the website powering the Burkelman philosophy far beyond its Putnam County locale, Kimelman says Burkelman is truly launched.

“The full concept has been realized.”

FOR THE WEDDING

“A lot of people come to us for wedding gifts,” Kimelman says.

And, Burke adds, many of those people come to Burkelman without ideas.

First up is finding out more about the recipients’ ages, interests and styles.

The goal, Kimelman says, is to find gifts that not only please but also will be used — often.

Gone are the days of fancy silver sets being pulled out just a couple of times a year.

“Previously, people used to reserve a lot of their special-occasion stuff,” he says. Wedding gifts came to be considered “really fine things they never use.”

Today’s couples have a very different approach and, so, Burke adds, gift ideas have broadened.

“People register for pillows, blankets, vases,” he says.

Handcrafted ceramics, they agree, are among the most popular picks.

While everyone likes to have beautiful things, it’s less about collecting designer brands than finding a mix that reflects your lifestyle.

“It’s more about how we put it together,” Burke says.

And Kimelman adds that it’s also more about the objects themselves, “how they function, what they feel like.”

That the recipient likes the gift, Burke adds, is the true driving force behind the search.

That search today more often, Kimelman says, focuses on “the maker.”

Things that combine both form and function are ideal, especially for entertaining. A beautiful serving plate or platter, he adds, “goes so far in presentation.”

STOCKING UP

At Burkelman, the selection is thoughtfully gathered.

Burke and Kimelman didn’t even carry cocktail glasses at first since they couldn’t find any that appealed to them.

They want to find things that resonate with their customers, which kept them also searching for the ideal decanter, again something unique but fully functional.

“Everything looked so traditional,” Burke says. But they hit upon an unusually shaped creation that could easily be paired for a set — and it was quickly embraced.

“As soon as we got them in they immediately went on everybody’s registry,” he says.

The same goes for a bowl that he says is ideal for a couple’s “everyday experiences.”

As Kimelman adds, “It’s like a salad bowl you won’t hide.”

But sometimes, you do want to hide a gift.

Burke and Kimelman say they realize that, to the discomfort of some, couples today often ask for a financial gift.

They tell of one customer who knew that such a gift was what the couple really needed but found a clever compromise — presenting the cash in a charming stoneware honey pot that could grace their breakfast table for years to come.

Finding such a collection of unique goods is a never-ending effort, something Burke describes as “constant research.”

“It’s literally the world,” he says. “The Internet, going to the city…”

Though Burke serves as the primary buyer, Kimelman notes it’s not a personal thing.

“It’s much more beyond what he likes,” he says, adding that keeping up with trends plays into the picture but in the end, it comes down to one thing.

“It’s really important to us that everything we sell is of the highest quality,” Kimelman says, noting they have returned entire orders when products didn’t meet their standards.

And while the options at Burkelman may be many, Kimelman says it’s “a curated shopping experience” designed to offer the best in each category.

“When it comes to gift ideas, you just don’t have time to look through 300…”

Burkelman has done that for you — with the results on stylish view.

Here, are the wedding-gift picks from Burkelman accompanied by their comments:

Workaday Handmade Serving Bowl ($198) — “Gifting a large serving piece is always a good idea. This large handmade bowl is perfect for salads and looks fantastic when not in use. Handmade is one way to give gifts as memorable as the wedding itself.”

Flask Crystal Decanter ($220) — “These elegant, food-safe, crystal decanters are a perfect way to upgrade the newlyweds’ home-bar experience. These decanters are sold individually but are also striking as a pair.”

Tori Murphy Lambswool Throw ($385) — “A beautifully designed blanket from esteemed British textile designer Tori Murphy will be enjoyed for years to come. Truth be told, you can actually never have too many blankets in the house, and we have plenty of designs to choose from at Burkelman.”

Ethiopian Fair Trade Bath Sheets ($78) — “Soft hand-spun towels have a truly timeless appeal. A set of these can easily transform the happy couple’s bathroom into a personal day spa. Matching hand towels are also available to complete the look.”

Wheel-Thrown Pitcher ($200) — “This is a very popular wedding gift at Burkelman. New York Stoneware creates these gorgeous handmade and glazed pitchers that make a wonderful statement on the table. The couple can use this to serve water at the dinner table or Bloody Marys when hosting a brunch. It also looks fantastic as a vase full of fresh flowers.”

For more, visit Burkelman at 101 Main St. in Cold Spring or at shopburkelman.com.

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