Kelly Ballentine Colacioppo is a third generation appliance salesperson. Her father owns a restaurant equipment store, so it’s fitting that her store, The Cook's Station, outfits home kitchens with professional-quality equipment. The selection of top brands includes GE Profile, Bosch, and BlueStar, whose 22,000-BTU gas ranges feature extra-large ovens and custom-configured burners modeled after those found in professional kitchens. Cookware from the Culinary Institute of America’s Masters Collection is designed by certified master chefs, and bakeware from Nordic Ware aims to create the perfect bundt cake. Unique gift collections from Nora Fleming, Beatriz Ball, and Casafina are also available. For those starting completely from scratch, the staff includes a licensed kitchen designer, a licensed contractor, and diagrams that illustrate the differences between forks and spoons.
However, The Cook's Station is not just about prepping kitchens—it’s also about prepping the people who use them. A full calendar of foodie events includes cooking and equipment demos, and an online cache of recipes gives chefs new meals to experiment with. Monthly Uncorked events explore wine and tapas pairings, and a knife sharpening service ensures blades are always ready to slice up veggies or that frustratingly impossible soufflé recipe.
Forrest Briggs claims the South as his home, and indeed he grew up and attended college there. As a photography student, he earned admission into several galleries and juried exhibitions, but his post graduate work honed his eye. He travelled the world, learning to speak fluent Vietnamese and becoming trapped in Nepal during the 2006 coup d’état, all the while documenting his journeys through his camera. The temporary expatriation sharpened his skills, helping him excel at photographic composition, natural lighting strategies, and more abstract concepts such as how to make photos “pop.”
Now, as a photographer and teacher, he passes along these lessons to a new generation of shutterbugs, while lending his eye and skill to clients in search of classic portraiture and boudoir shoots. He also has an eye for shooting martial arts action, working behind the scenes at mixed martial arts events and even pulling a stint as the personal photographer of Cheryl Murphy, nine-time US Nationals Karate Champion.
Gangs of ottomans and mattresses populate Atlantic Bedding and Furniture, whose continually changing designs from Coaster, Forbidden City, Harden, Sealy, Old Town Imports, and other top brands help customers to capture the furniture species of their choice. Treat hard-working eye awnings to a decadent break with a solid hardwood Leonardo bed backed by a strong, modern headboard covered with tufted upholstery that boasts the color of morning cappuccino but the flavor of tufted upholstery ($347 for a queen; $516 for a king). Taking home a Davenport nightstand means never having to precariously perch glasses or bequeathed dentures on thin windowsills ($125). Home-office workers can perch glowing Internet portals atop a classic table desk, creating an imposing pedestal that distracts interning offspring from their demands for a salary ($400).