A perfect marriage
Neolith proves suitable for the countertops of a wine bar and televised commercial kitchen at The Studio by Feast it Forward in Napa, CA
While working in various local wineries after graduating from college, businesswoman, Katie Hamilton Shaffer, co-founded a charitable organization named “Erika’s Dream” to honor a friend’s daughter who was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome — a rare genetic neurological disorder.
She then became involved in a variety of other projects that united her culinary background with her passion for helping others. In 2011, Hamilton Shaffer founded Feast it Forward, an online food and lifestyle network with a philanthropic backbone. After growing in popularity and filming around the country for several years, the brand took the major step of expanding into a studio in 2018.
Hamilton Shaffer decided it was time to build a space that the network’s growing viewership could visit. Nestled among a variety of trendy wine stores in downtown Napa, The Studio by Feast it Forward is the network’s home. Building the property from the ground up, Hamilton Shaffer knew she needed the right décor and products to help tell the company’s story and represent its values.
Sintered stone studio
Hamilton Shaffer had a very specific creative vision for the venue. An eclectic mix of urban chic and Valley “street,” The Studio by Feast it Forward is a “feast for the eyes.” Throughout the studio, a range of non-competing partner brands carefully selected by Hamilton Shaffer invite guests to engage with the space and the Feast it Forward lifestyle. From cookware and appliances to flooring and other surfaces, each is a leader in its market.
Both the wine bar and the upstairs studio needed countertops which could endure heavy use. Drawn to its durable qualities and wide variety of hyper-realistic patterns, Hamilton Shaffer specified Neolith, a leading brand of sintered stone, for the majority of the studio’s surfaces.
Reflecting on the design concept, Hamilton Shaffer commented, “The idea was to create a beautiful design-savvy space that comes to life with each visit. After researching a number of different products and speaking with friends, I came across Neolith — a material which combines practicality with exquisite aesthetic qualities, and that looks just as great today as when I first installed it. Neolith encompasses the Feast it Forward brand perfectly, and I haven’t looked back since.”
The ground floor wine bar is home to the vintages of 15 different wineries. Here, Neolith Iron Frost was specified for the island, allowing the wines’ hues to be fully appreciated against a bright neutral background. While bars are often subject to damage by broken glass and red wine stains, Neolith is resistant to both of these.
Neolith’s Calacatta was specified for the back bar, allowing the white island in front to truly pop for a dramatic effect. Complementing the elegant marble effect, one of the kitchen walls features Iron Grey satin, a perfect background for the venue’s light-hearted décor.
In the bathroom, industrial Beton lines the lower half of the walls, bringing a subdued look to the space. On the plain white upper half of the walls, guests are encouraged to write positive affirmations and ask one another questions.
To top it off
The upstairs area of the studio plays host to 10 cooking shows, some of which have starred iconic chefs Jacques Pépin and Rick Moonen, alongside Hollywood actor, Kevin Bacon. Profits from the tickets sold to attend the live filming are donated to the talents’ charities of choice.
Used regularly for filming, it was crucial for the studio to have surfaces which would translate well on camera. For the kitchen island, textured Aspen Grey was applied, alongside a Nieve Silk countertop. The walls in the kitchen are clad in patinated Iron Moss, embodying vineyard sophistication, while those in the lounge are covered with warm chocolate-colored Barro.
In the spacious upstairs bathroom, the flowing striations of Strata Argentum in a riverwashed finish contrasts beautifully with a stylish navy blue. Even the service trailer outside features the sintered stone with Neolith’s elegant Calacatta countertops.
The fabrication process was smooth from start to finish. Feast it Forward’s official fabricator, North Coast Tile & Stone, donated its time for the fabrication and installation — applying 739 square feet of Neolith.
“Normally, when you think of renovating a large space, you think of all the things that could go wrong,” said Hamilton Shaffer. “However, I looked forward to the day of installation, as I know Neolith is extremely durable and wouldn’t break, and that the slabs were in safe hands.”
North Coast Tile & Stone also assisted in the installation of the studio’s appliances and décor.