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.
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.