Glaze Studio: In A New York Minute

Glaze is a lifestyle product design studio based in New York City. The husband and wife duo behind the studio, Akeem and Stephanie Glaze, launched their namesake in 2017 to create authentic, quality items designed with distinct attention to detail. With equal emphasis placed on form, function, and experience, Glaze’s products make for arresting, yet subdued, statement pieces for the home.

It is no secret Glaze Studio has been a long time favorite of Interior Monologue. We have long celebrated their gorgeous U Candles and if you know me, you know there is always a U Candle on my dining table. We had a feeling this stylish duo would not disappoint with top tier tips for enjoying fall in New York City, so we sat down for a chat with Stephanie and Akeem who gave us their recommendations for dining, shopping, and generally enjoying all New York City has to offer.

Photos Courtesy of Glaze Studio

Tell us a bit about yourselves. What is your connection to NYC?

First and foremost, thank you for featuring our studio! It’s a pleasure to be showcased in this segment of Interior Dialogue. We’ll kick this off with a quick introduction. We’re Steph & Akeem Glaze, Co-Founders of Glaze Studio. Yes, it’s our last name. No ceramics here. The genesis of Glaze brings us back to 2009 during our freshman year at Rhode Island School of Design. Akeem created a wooden matchbox for a class project and never stopped making them! Our paths crossed during our sophomore year at RISD while we were both pursuing degrees in Industrial Design. Our connection deepened as we worked late-night shifts together in the wood shop, and a profound love for each other and our craft began to take root. We started making Akeem’s original wooden matchboxes together, and shared them among family and friends. Following our graduation, Steph moved to Boston, and Akeem moved to NYC as we ventured into the corporate world. However, the allure of crafting matchboxes never faded, and we started selling our boxes at RISD alumni craft sales. To our surprise, we sold out at each sale. Recognizing the potential of our passion project, Steph resigned from her corporate job and moved to New York City in 2017, where we officially established Glaze Studio. The living room of our Brooklyn apartment became a makeshift studio, marking the beginning of our entrepreneurial journey.

What are some of your favorite spots for dining in NYC?

Where do we even begin?! There are so many fabulous spots. We love a candlelit, cozy place. Our favorite for years was a spot in the West Village called Wallflower. Our favorite splurge is Le Coucou. We now live on the Upper West Side and have been exploring our new neighborhood quite a bit. Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but there are so many gems up here! We love this little spot a block from our apartment called Leyla. Their short rib pide is a must. Other neighborhood favorites are Salumeria Rosi, Pappardella, Amelie, Cafe Luxembourg, Jacob’s Pickles, The Milling Room, The Mermaid Inn (we’re psyched for the new location opening soon), and of course Le Boite en Bois, which translates to “the wooden box.” For brunch, Viand Cafe is our local go-to diner. For cocktails, Little Branch, Dear Irving, and Bemelmans Bar are forever favorites. We really miss the old Angel’s Share and still need to try their new location on Grove St. Our new UWS cocktail spot is Da Capo. Lastly, check out Wayla for dinner and drinks in LES, started by one of our dear friends!

Photo Courtesy of Wayla

Do you have any recommendations for great boutiques in NYC? Or a designer/artisan that you are particularly excited about right now?

We love walking along Elizabeth St in Nolita and hopping into all of the fragrance and candle shops it has to offer! We adore DS & Durga, Le Labo, Cire Trudon, Aesop, and Diptyque. For home, we love The Future Perfect, RW Guild, ABC Carpet & Home, and Bergdorfs. For clothes and accessories, check out Oroboro, No. 6, Frankie Shop, Assembly, and Dover Street Market.

Photo Courtesy of DS & Durga

What are your recommendations for experiencing unique hidden gems? Local secrets, beautiful hotels, historic finds?

One of our favorite things to do is taking leisurely strolls together around our neighborhood, a very simple pleasure. We love wandering without any planned course and seeing what we stumble upon. It is the very best way to discover hidden gems. There are so many in Central Park. The Ramble is our favorite escape – we love sitting by the waterfall, listening to the stream and birds chirping away. Some other gems on the Upper West Side that we love are Zabar’s, your one-stop-shop for all things charcuterie and beyond, and Levain Bakery, which has become a real issue for us because we’re just a block away from the original bake shop on 74th St and their cookies are irresistible. Then there’s Beacon Theater, which hosts so many awesome artists and comedians. The stage door is between our apartment and Fairway, so we occasionally run into a celeb while schlepping groceries. For a more low-key comedy show, West Side Comedy Club is a great choice, and they’re super generous with free show promo codes in their newsletter. We could go on and on, but wrapping this up with the Museum of Natural History, a not-so-hidden UWS gem inside and out. What an architectural stunner!

The Beacon TheatrePhoto Courtesy of Irving Browning/The New York Historical Society/Getty Images

Let’s talk about Glaze. Is there an ethos that guides you as small business owners? What inspires you creatively?

Our design ethos is grounded in four main principles:
1. Handcrafted in NYC – Made with meticulous attention to detail.
2. Forever pieces – Built to last. Designed to be replenished.
3. Made with natural materials – Handpicked for their innate qualities and lasting impact.
4. Sourced locally and responsibly – We partner with American lumberyards and beekeepers.

In true Industrial Design fashion, we are inspired by a perfect marriage of form and function. We let a problem, or rather an opportunity, guide our design decisions. Outside of this, we’re inspired by our roots in Palm Beach and the Northeast. NYC in particular is a huge source of creative inspiration for us. We feed off the city’s energy and everything it has to offer. We find both respite and inspiration wandering through Central Park, admiring the city’s architecture, attending gallery openings, visiting museums, and being surrounded by so many creatives.

What aspect of Glaze brings you the most joy?

Although we are designers by trade, we don’t spend much time actually designing as small business owners. We need to wear many hats and spend quite a bit of time on every other aspect of running a business. What brings us the most joy is actually designing and creating new products. Innovation through form, material, and utility is an integral part of our design process as we continue to develop new products at Glaze. Through hand sketches, mock-ups, digital modeling, and 3D printing, we are able to quickly produce usable prototypes in order to perfect form and function before moving forward with production. We believe that problem solving through experimentation is crucial to developing inspiring design solutions.

Do you have any upcoming or recently completed project(s) you are excited to talk about?

We just wrapped up a collaboration with ABC Carpet & Home! We were absolutely thrilled to partner with this iconic Manhattan institution, and we had a lot of fun iterating on our classic U Candle. We landed on a pale pink version with an iridescent acrylic holder. It adds a touch of whimsy to our assortment that we really enjoy.

What is next for you two?

We are currently working on a new candle design. We don’t see much of anything besides basic container candles in the scented candle space right now, so we are playing around with a new concept to bring freshness to this crowded market. We are keeping the details under wraps for now, but very excited about this one. Stay tuned!