Friday Five with BURKELMAN

David Kimelman and Kevin Burke are the duo behind BURKELMAN, an online shopping destination of curated, modern housewares, furniture, barware, and textiles. The brand came about after 15 years of life and careers in New York City, David as a documentary and portrait photographer and Kevin as a creative executive in the fashion world, when they decided to take a major leap of faith and land upstate in New York’s Hudson Valley. Looking for life/work balance, the couple in life and business merged their creative minds to launch BURKELMAN for the design-centric consumer. Their online venture has been such a success that they’ve decided to open their first retail store later this summer in the village of Cold Spring, New York. Let’s take a look to see what this pair loves, in this week’s Friday Five.


1. Made By Hand
We adore handmade objects and champion those who create them. Whether it’s a solo artist toiling away in his studio, like Forrest Lewinger of Workaday Handmade (pictured), a group of seasoned artisans producing their wares in a factory-like setting, like Hudson Beach Glass, or a collective of weavers executing new designs using traditional techniques in a far away land, like the Ethiopian weavers that produce for Creative Women, we love to see the artist’s hand in an object.


2. Souvenirs Collected From Nature
Whenever we travel, we love to collect an item or two to bring back with us. We don’t really go searching, but rather pick up things we happen upon. The monkey skull in the above picture was actually just sitting in the middle of a path we were hiking on along The Gambia River in West Africa. The only place we did not bring anything back from is Hawaii. Pele’s Curse is real. Google it.


3. Tequila
We’ll take Bloody Maria’s over Bloody Mary’s any day. Shots get the party started. When we’re feeling fancy, David whips up a couple of his Spicy Frogs (3 oz. Tequila, splash of Grand Marnier, .5 oz. fresh lemon juice, dash of orange bitters and 1/4 of a frozen serrano pepper grated with a micro plane // mix all with ice in a shaker and serve straight up).

Image courtesy of MASS Design Group

Image courtesy of MASS Design Group

4. MASS Design Group
Mass Design Group is a not for profit architecture firm based in Boston, MA. They design and build schools, medical facilities, and other structures that support communities all over the world. They have recently been receiving a lot of well deserved attention for their ground breaking Gheskio Cholera Treatment Center (pictured) that they built in Haiti. We love how they use design to improve quality of life and create sustainability and conservation where it’s needed most. BURKELMAN supports their efforts by donating a portion of our sales to MASS Design Group.


5. RuPaul
She’s the Glamazon with a heart of gold. Ru has gone from being the “Supermodel of the World” to producing and starring in RuPaul’s Drag Race, the greatest television show of all time, as far as we are concerned. Every week, we tune in for the high stakes, winner take all, competition that showcases the incredible lives and artistry of drag performers. We get obsessed with every detail of the show, the challenges, the looks, the makeup, as well as all the drama, who said what and how they said it. Emotional testimonials about perseverance and acceptance give us those satisfying breaking down, break through moments that remind us that the struggle is, indeed, real. Each episode ends with RuPaul declaring. “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Words to live by.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.