A Useful Recommendation with Fanny Singer
Words by Laura Bradley
We talk to Fanny Singer about her beloved Walter water filter, and the joy and and nourishment it provides her and guests of her LA home.
In the category of water purification, the Berkey is often referred to as the ultimate, revered for its freestanding stainless steel vessels and sophisticated filter system that promises to remove 99% of toxins from your water. If the stainless steel canister doesn’t meet your aesthetic needs, a gentler option is the Walter — a beautiful ceramic vessel, created by artist Cassie Griffin, and can accommodate the efficient Berkey filters. Container options aside, a water purification system is a highly satisfying investment, significantly improving your water quality and reducing plastic waste.
Fanny Singer, co-founder of beautiful object purveyor Permanent Collection, writer, and chef, known for her excellent taste, is a longtime Berkey devotee and recently invested in a Walter for her home.
Why did you choose to recommend the Walter?
I love Berkey’s water filtering technology. I’ve had a Berkey in every home I’ve lived in in California. I like that it has the potential to filter any type of water to make it drinkable (even pond water), but also that the quality of water is delicious, almost sweeter. The filter takes out chlorine (which is very prevalent in LA water), the added fluoride and all of the other things I don’t want in my water. I bought my Walter just after I moved into my apartment last year, which was designed by Rudolph Schlibder in the mid 1920s. It’s very close to its original state, constructivist meets art deco. The stainless steel Berkey didn’t fit aesthetically so I decided to opt for a Walter, which blends beautifully. It’s become my favourite and indispensable kitchen item.
How did you discover it?
I was introduced to Cassie Griffin, the founder of Walter through a friend, the artist Jessie Wine. He went on a blind date with Cassie years ago in New York and ended up taking her to stay at my godmother’s cottage in California (where I’ve spent every childhood summer). I finally met Cassie back in England and they eventually moved to New York where she started making pieces for her friends who own Dimes, a cute Lower East Side eatery. She created the Walter because there wasn’t anything on the market that was aesthetically pleasing and efficient.
How does it improve your life?
LA is incredibly dry. Having a water filter definitely increases the amount of water I drink at home (although I’d describe myself as a decent hydrator, rather than a star hydrator). The first thing I do after waking up is drink a large glass of water. I can really taste the quality difference in tap and filtered. I grew up cooking and my dads a winemaker so I’m pretty sensitive to any added chemicals or if something’s a little off in flavour. I recently gave a Berkey to a friend who was sceptical, and a week later I got a long love letter of sorts: “drinking from this vessel is the very definition of self care”.
How do you use it?
It is tucked into a corner of my kitchen and the stainless steel spigot overhangs the plywood counter. I fill it up with a Falcon enamel pitcher which is incidentally matches the red handprinted detail on the Walter. I am obsessed with filling it, but not over-filling it and even have a one-pager for house sitters, on how to operate the filter for optimal outcomes. I decant into a large Murano glass – part of a set of wonky testers my friend Alex Tieghi-Walker bought back from a recent trip to glassblowers in northern Italy — or my Nalgene which I take with me everywhere. If I’m entertaining, I’ll use a jug or a carafe filled with large spherical ice cubes. I often add lemon or lime juice to my water, or a pinch of sea salt if I’ve been running (for the mineral boost) or a spoon of drinking natural fermented vinegar. Permanent Collection just made a custom lemon verbana and chamomile blend with our favourite vinegar maker, Chris Crawford of Tart. I’ve always loved that vinegary acidic edge — when I was little, my godmother would often mix a spoon of of naturally fermented living red wine vinegar into sparkling water.
What’s your relationship with water?
I love swimming in the ocean. I grew up not far from the beach in Northern California and was often in the Pacific. I lived in England for 11 years, and was close to the Hampstead Ladies Pond and swam regularly in the warm season. I regularly do a loop around Silver Lake reservoir with my godmother. I have quite an innate physical reaction to the visual manifestation of water in the earth. In California, water is such a prized, precious resource so I never take it for granted and treat it sparingly, when washing or brushing my teeth.
What are your other favourite forms of nourishment?
Every Sunday, I go to the Hollywood Farmers’ market, which is the closest to my home, and buy a rainbow of fresh produce. I buy a huge quantity of salad and have it throughout the week and often cook for friends. I’ve always loved greens even as a little kid. Eating regenerative organic produce is an excellent source of energy, due to the soil nutrients and excellent farming methods. California has a profusion of farmers who are farming in this way.
Laura Bradley is founder of the healings arts guide (healing tools for people & businesses). @healingartsguide