Mar
17
2011

In The Spotlight – Brooke Giannetti

Time to put the spotlight on yet another talented designer who I find very interesting. LA based designer Brooke Giannetti is hardly a stranger to the blog community. Her wonderful blog Velvet & Linen is a high priority read and she has built a successful business, Giannetti Home, around her blog but she might be a new face to my many loyal readers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have  wanted to do this interview with Brooke for a while because I have so enjoyed watching her personal design style change somewhat, literally, right in front of our eyes, since I started to read her blog about 18 months ago. It has been a fascinating process to follow. It is ok to change your style and taste people! Listen to your heart. (And of course our mutual love for Swedish antiques is also a factor).

Brooke has been going from a more feminine shabby style to embracing a more simple new classic style and still being true to herself. I also find it very interesting how Brooke and her well known architect husband Steve, who has a completely different style, have managed to find common and lovely design ground. Let’s listen to what she has to say. You will walk away with a lot of good information!

Which design trends do you see yourself happily adopting in 2011?
 
Steve and I don’t pay attention to design trends. We design spaces that move us emotionally and reflect the way we live
 
It has been very interesting to watch your design style in the last 18 months. Describe your journey. 
 
It has been an amazing time in my life! I think the blog has helped me to develop my design style more fully by forcing me to write about it. It has also opened up so many opportunities. Our design online services has become a wonderful addition to our work, which never would have happened without the blog. Steve and I are also excited to have the opportunity to write a book about our design philosophy — “Patina Style”will be published in September! We are also starting the design process for our new home in Ojai. I think the blog and the book have made this process so much easier because they have helped us to refine our design style and helped us clearly understand what we love
 
 What furnishings have you liked in the past but are no longer attracted to? 

I like slimmer upholstered pieces these days. They compliment the Swedish and French antiques that I’ve always loved and continue to be drawn to. Big overstuffed sofas and chairs have not held up as design elements!

The Nick sofa below is from Giannetti Home and was used in the Gilt Home Showcase House.

 
What objects for the home are you surprised to find yourself liking now?
 
I’m always looking for new home accessories to bring into our store. My eye is always drawn to pieces that have a wonderful patina and some connection to the artist that made them. I don’t like things that are too perfect.

During a recent flea market visit, I discovered a vendor who specializes in antique wood carved Loatian Buddhas. The vendor explained how each one was carved by a different villager as an offering to bring to the temple. You could see the care that went into making them. I bought them all!

 
Do you feel that you have found your “own” design voice? 
 
I do feel that my design voice has gotten stronger. Although I still flip through the pages of all of the design magazines, I find that my style is less influenced by them. I’m becoming much more confident in my own instincts. 
 
(Brooke’s powder room went through a makeover. Isn’t the sink gorgeous!)
 
How would you describe your design style vs. your husband’s?
 
Steve’s design style is much more modern and masculine than my style! (The gorgeous kitchen below is designed by Steve).
 
Merging two peoples different styles can be challenging. Any good advice?
 
I actually love how our two styles compliment each other. One of the things I’ve learned is to be open to his suggestions. I listen to what is important to him. I want him to feel comfortable in his own home and the homes we design together. I really feel that our designs are better when we combine the things we both love.

This is what their sun room looks like after they worked on the style together.

Before:

 
 After: (A personal makeover favorite of mine!/Splendid Willow).
 
And let’s hear it from Steve himself! What would your advice be to couples trying to find a common design ground?
 
Steve’s advice: “Select images and items that you each individually love. Put them together on the table and find the common ground between them. You might be surprised at what is created! Usually one partner vetoes an idea too early. Be open to the mix of your styles.”

Their living room before:

 
Their living room after: (More streamlined, more of a mix. Do you see the galvanized steel table?)
 
 
Any interior design project that has a special place in your heart, Brooke?
 
Recently we’ve had several clients who love what we love. Those are the easiest and most satisfying projects to work on.

We just finished helping a client fill their French inspired beach home in Malibu. We only had to visit their home once in order to know the pieces that would work. Our clients met us back at the store, we picked out the furniture and had it delivered to their home a few days later. There is nothing like immediate design gratification!

(An example of an interior design project for a client. Not quite finished — but oh so lovely).

 What would you like to do more of?
 
Steve and I enjoy going on buying trips for the store. I’d love to have more design jobs that allow us to use the pieces we find on our travels. I also have discovered a love for creating gardens. I hope to design more of them in the future.
 
You incorporate quite a bit of “Swedish”  into your and your clients homes. What is it about Swedish design and interiors that draws you in?

Swedish pieces have classic proportions and style, but they aren’t as heavy and formal as many European antiques. There is a rustic refinement to Swedish design that is so easy incorporated into any room.

 
Describe a room or home furnishings that make you, shall we say, nervous?
 
A space with too much color or pattern without any place for the eye to rest makes me jittery!
 
What 3-5 things can anybody do to immediately beautify a room?
 
1) Get rid of unnecessary clutter, 2) Simplify your color palette, 3) If you can’t afford an expensive rug, use a natural fiber one from Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware. 4) Baskets for storage are inexpensive and add so much beautiful texture to a room. They also hide the clutter.
 
In Brook’e office she cleaverly hides her printer in a wicker basket!
 
Do yo have a specific wall color that you come back to over and over again?

I actually prefer no wall color. We’ve used California One Kote, a drywall topping compound, on the walls in many of the homes that we design. It has a wonderful luster, similar to plaster but at a fraction of the price.

When we do use paint, we prefer Farrow & Ball products. Their full spectrum paint reacts beautifully with the sunlight in a room. Some of our favorite FB colors are: Pointing, Lamp Room Gray, and Pink Ground.

Any favorite place for great fabrics?
 
 I love incorporating vintage fabrics into my rooms. I often recover chairs or ottomans in homespun linen or vintage French linen sheets. For special accents I think Claremont Fabrics & Furnishings sell some of the most gorgeous fabrics. Most of their fabrics are made on old looms in Europe. Their silk velvet is dreamy!
 
Ssshhhh… And what about great design bargains? Do you have a secret place?
 
I still think that flea markets are the best places to find unique, one of kind pieces at great prices. 
 
What’s your favorite design piece at home? The one you’d take with you before all others.

The Italian piece that hangs over our bed in our Oxnard home. It has the perfect aged gilded patina. Because it was a gift from Steve, it also has a great deal of sentimental value.

 
Finally, what is your design motto?
 
“Thank you so much for including me in your “In the Spotlight” series, Monika! This was so much fun! xo Brooke.”

Thank you so much Brooke & Steve! I am so looking forward to your upcoming book. I’d better put myself on the pre-order list! For more on Brooke and her design services, go here. And don’t forget to visit their on-line store here where you will find many wonderful Swedish antiques - here.

Images: No. 1 (spotlight) via Splendid Willow, no. 13 via Flickr. All other images via Velvet & Linen.

40 Comments »

  • Greet says:

    Monika,
    Although I follow every post of Brooke’s blog, it still is so wonderful to read about Brooke’s design syle and watching the gorgeous pictures of her home! As you explained, it is true that her design style is changed during the years and as Brooke says, blogging is a very good way to discover your own style and it influences us in our thoughts about interior design.
    I was laughing when Steve told us to put pictures together, and see what is coming up! That is what Jan and me do!! And indeed it works.
    Thank you my friend for sharing this interview with our lovely and sweet friend Brooke! I am also looking forward to the book of Brooke and Steve! And I am thrilled to say that I will meet them in Belgium this summer!!!
    xx
    Greet

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  • sherry says:

    Great interview. I love how her style has evolved to a much more streamlined and edited version. They both have been blessed with great style and vision.

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  • Charlotta says:

    I know Brooke well and find her blog fantastic. So many journeys and posts have inspired me, and I vividly remember the make over of the living room that holds that stunning Swedish cabinet.

    As always, I love your interviews Monika. You do them so well and I lean in very close to my screen each time.
    The way you captured Brooke (and Steve) and brought out more & very interesting information was wonderful.

    Thank you to Brooke, Steve and you for all that we learned here today.

    Stor kram

    xx C

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  • Franki Parde says:

    Top of the Mornin To You!I so enjoyed my first cup of coffee and chatting with you, Brooke and Steve this St Patrick’s Day, albeit figuratively. franki

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  • Danielle says:

    I love color and always have, but I also love Giannetti’s style of neutral decor. It always amazes me how I could really love both so much. Here home does look so restful and inviting. And I love how she hid her printer…just brilliant. Lastly I am in complete agreement on finding the best bargains at flea markets…it’s amazing what you can find there and on Craigslist. A healthy mix of new and vintage is perfection in my eyes! Great post!

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  • Joe Clarke says:

    Talented duo! Beautiful rooms. Need to check out Brook’s blog.

    Yet another great post, Monica!

    JC

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  • Tina says:

    Hej Mon!
    Kikar bara förbi i all hast. Vill läsa dina senaste inlägg i lugn och ro. Kaotisk vecka där allt tycks gå fel…
    Tack för att du alltid tar dig tid och kikar förbi, blir alltid lika glad!
    Kram på dig
    I´ll be back:)!

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  • Style Attic says:

    What a wonderful pair of creative minds pushing ours to move forward! Lovely interview and gorgeous examples of editing, details and fine living!! XO, Kelly

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  • Monika, what a wonderful interview. You asked such great questions and I hung on every word. I too, have enjoyed watching Brooke’s style change and evolve over the past year and and a half. I’m absolutely thrilled for her success.

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  • I Love Brooke’s style! That kitchen has been on my desktop for a year as the goddess of all kitchen designs…it speaks to me; i want to lie down on those countertops! Their aesthetic is so me so thank you for doing such a wonderful interview; what a treat! xo

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  • Delishhh says:

    Monika – what an awesome interview! Love your questions. Two things here 1) LOVE THAT KITCHEN. That is so me. I had no idea it was masculine :) 2. The piece over the bed, which was a gift, is amazing. Love it.

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  • My dear Monika! Thank you so much for this interview. I thoroughly enjoyed answering your thoughtful questions (and so did Steve!). I have been a huge fan of Splendid Willow from the start and am honored to see our work featured here.
    Thank you again my friend, and a big “Thank You” to all of your lovely readers :)

    xo
    Brooke

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  • it was wonderful to read this, Mon. Thoughtful questions, interesting answers…Love your blog, Brooke’s blog – too. Your interview is a mix of both of them. it was for me 2 x love :-)

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  • I just loved this interview and find Brooke’s style so elegant. I can’t wait to check out her fabric recommendation and love the idea of the wall compound- also very intrigued by the FB pink. She makes great points about design and staying true to your own aesthetic. Loved this Mon! xo

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  • I love Brooke’s style. There was a client’s house she posted once that had a beautiful painting I’ve had my eye out for ever since! Some day it will be mine!

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  • great piece, Monika. I have been a fan of Brooke’s since finding her blog and work. What a happy discovery that she prefers “no wall color” – just the wall finishing compound. brilliant! and I second her advice: trust yourself. our own styles are the very best for us.

    enjoyed that very much, Monika and Brooke…

    donna

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  • Great interview, Monika! I just love Brooke’s style. Her work is always so beautiful and inspiring! xo

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  • Hej Monika,

    what an enchanting post! I’ve always loved Gianetti’s inspiration, from chickens to a designing teamwork. In particular I feel humble as Brooke tells us she wants her husband to feel comfortable in their home and their different styles really merge well together.

    Brooke’s style has developed the last 18 months and I am also glad she loves our Swedish antiques.

    Thanks for many great aspects….this post can be read many times!

    Må så gott,
    Ingela

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  • Such thoughtful and considerate questions, Monika. This is my first visit and I look forward to many more.

    I always enjoy visiting with Brooke and her family at Velvet and Linen. I wonder how many families will receive baby chicks because of V&L?

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  • Karena says:

    Monika this is so great. I adore Brooke, and you could not have done a better interview. I look forward to getting to know you better as well!

    Come and join my Springtime Giveaway!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  • Gretchen O. says:

    What a great interview! I am so excited for them to do a book! YAY! I am amazed that she has no formal training, her style and intuition is just awesome. I can’t imagine what their dinner converstions are like:)

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  • What a wonderful comprehensive interview! Fantastic! I have followed her blog off and on for maybe five or six months and agree that she has wonderful personal style. I agree also that she and Steve’s individual styles do complement each other beautifully and for this reason the result is breathtaking…love that she doesnt’ love everything to be so perfect…couldnt’ agree more. I think thats one area that design has really evolved and grown up in a sense, in that not everything has to be so matchy matchy and perfectly straight….a little “out of the box” is good and often times even more beautiful.
    Thanks for hosting this wonderful interview!!

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  • Fantastic interview Mon. Brooke has really established a great “look” that is timeless yet feels very current as well.

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  • Gail says:

    I really like the combination of Brooke and Steve. I like the streamlined look of the rooms they design, but I am very tired of incorporating those clocks into every room (:! It seems to be a way of saying, this is a Swedish room. I’m so stylish. It isn’t needed. Other than that, I love the way she/they have evolved.

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  • Fiona says:

    I love Brooke! She is very talented (and although her style is quite different from mine, I admire her talent a great deal).

    Just as an aside that is not meant to be judgmental, it is illegal to take Buddha images out of Laos and Thailand (and maybe other countries). I did not know this until my husband, who lived in Thailand for quite a while, told me. The fact that that vendor sells antique Buddhas (which are presumably valued) may compound the issue. Just letting you know.

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  • michele says:

    AWESOME interview, M. but it’s all over now that their Nick sofa is stuck in the brain. absolutely gorgeous. i so identify with their refined aesthetic and how it has evolved over the years. can’t wait to check out the book!

    i love coming here, my friend.

    michele

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  • Carmella says:

    This is a good one!! Love how Brooke and Steve express beautiful,yet reachable design. And that their over-arching message is, live with what you love, and let it evolve and develop with time and seasons of life. Yes!!

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  • Donna Levi says:

    Love your interview with Brooke and Steve.
    Their style is an inspiration, it always looks so effortless. which is great design; as we all know there is a lot of effort put in to it!
    Thanks for sharing.

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  • Wonderful interview, Mon! Your questions were indeed very thoughtful. I love that this interview addressed bringing together the different styles of two people, as that is always a challenge with me and my husband!

    I too find that blogging is helping me to discover my true personal style, it’s great! I am getting so much more out of blogging that I had ever imagined.

    The images here are stunning, I am really taken by the stairway with the large clock!

    Thank you for sharing this and a very happy weekend to you, my lovely!

    Meera xx

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  • Brooke is amazing! I love how she and Steve complement each other so well. What a special relationship they have! Your interview was just lovely – it brought out so many wonderful things about Brooke. Thank you for this!

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  • Mary Anne says:

    Monika: Great questions revealed Brooke’s latest design concepts. I too have watched her evolve and had the pleasure to interview her in person and meet her talented husband Steve. As a new blogger, it was a joy to be a part of her life for an afternoon. She is as sweet as she can be.
    You did a wonderful job with your questions and your representation of Brooke and Steve.

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  • Great interview. Brooke shared many pearls of wisdom. Enjoyed learning more about her and how her design style has evolved. Steve and Brooke make a great team!

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  • Jessica says:

    Wonderful interview…Brooke and Steve have such a beautiful and special place in the design world. It’s been fun watching the evolution of their style and sharing their new ventures and discoveries with them.
    Loved the printer in the basket…brilliant!
    xo J~

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  • Julie at BV says:

    Great interview Monika. I loved getting to know a little bit more about Brooke and Steve. Thanks for the interview.

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  • Stacey says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this feature and thanks for the intro! Quite a talented pair! XX

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  • Fantastic interview Monika! I enjoy reading Velvet & Linen so I ate up every word. Brooke is so talented and her own spaces are stunning {I love the printer hidden in a basket, what a fabulous idea!). Thank you both for a wonderful post :)
    Nancy xo

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  • Thanks Monika!

    This was an interesting take on her design views. Maybe it will take some further investigation from on my part! Maryanne xo

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  • Tina says:

    Hi Mon!
    Finally I´m back to read this interview fully. I can nothing but feel envious of this lady´s life!
    Very intertesting and a lot of great tips along the way. Love the sunroom and living room transformations. Especially the industrial touches seen in the tables!!!
    Now I´m off to visit this blog and onlinestore, so exciting!
    Wishing you a great, great start this new week!
    Kram!

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  • Brooke and Steve are the best! Their mutual respect and love shines through everything they do!

    I love Brooke’s avoiding “trends”! I have been a decorator for 41 years (whew! I can’t believe it!); and avoiding trends has been my motto since day one. There are rooms from the thirties that I could move into with my toothbrush……those are the things that last.

    And how beautiful is that sofa! Those huge things with huge arms and huge backs look like the “giants” just left; and throw off all the proportions of the rooms!!!

    Their living room looks so elegant and classical….I love the before and afters!!!

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  • [...] in blog land (she is a lovely friend) and had the opportunityonce to interview Brooke in my “In The Spotlight Series”. I must say that for everything this couple has going on (beautiful family, lovely homes, [...]

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