How a love of antiques transforms lifestyle design
By Brooke & Steve Giannetti
Antiques tell a story, and we believe every home should have its own narrative that embraces history and collections from the past.
We’re known for our “Patina Style” which is our design philosophy based on our belief in the beauty of worn natural finishes. Patina style was born from the combination of Steve’s passion for industrial and architectural antiques and my love of Belgian linens and delicate antiques. In our own homes and the ones we designed for our clients, we found these pieces allowed us to live in beautiful spaces without worrying about each nick or imperfection.
Why do we love designing with antiques? Every antique brings its own personal story to a room. Each worn edge, every mellowed piece of brass is the result of daily experiences the antique has with the people who live with it. When I walk into a room that’s decorated with antiques, I feel their personalities fill the space. Unlike new furniture, each antique is unique. No two pieces have the exact same wear or signs of age. Using antiques ensures that each space is unlike any other, and the combination allows the singular personality of the homeowner to shine through.
When we go on buying trips, we look for pieces with specific characteristics rather than provenance. During our search for antiques, we look for those natural materials that age wonderfully over time… a chesterfield sofa that is still upholstered in the original aged leather, an unfinished wood farm table whose top is dented from the many family meals, copper pots so tarnished that you can almost smell the minestrone soup simmering in it many years ago.
We work with clients of all ages, and we find millennials have been brought up in a time of mass production, yet they are becoming more aware of craftsmanship and the value of pieces with authenticity. Even some of the modern houses Steve designs that are full of contemporary art are always enhanced by antiques.
Overall, we strive to create serene spaces. This desire is behind our love of antique Swedish pieces. Their pale painted finishes in neutral grays and blues provide a calm color palette to our life. Swedish antiques also have a combination of rustic and refined detailing that allows us to design spaces that are both elegant and comfortable.
We also find ourselves drawn to furniture pieces that embrace the artists and craftspeople who made or used them… the sketch made before the drawing, the wood hat molds from a millinery, or the draper’s table from a cloth merchant. These utilitarian objects add another layer to the story of a room.
As a designing couple (Steve as architect, Brooke as designer), we transformed our Los Angeles office into a retail space, which gave us the opportunity to create a store that mixed the antiques we love with our custom furniture. We began to design our own upholstered pieces specifically to complement well-designed antiques. We’re always drawn to furniture pieces that have classical proportions; we use the same classical proportions and human scale.
We cover our pieces using only natural materials that only get better with use. Our linen slipcovers get softer and more comfortable. Our leathers get more comfortable and more complex as time goes by, and our velvets are more beautiful with every crush. It’s part of the beauty of treasured, worn objects.
Steve Giannetti is a renowned architect who specializes in the unique combination of classical and modern architecture. Since founding the firm in 1994, he has designed homes around the world for clients in nearly every architectural style. Steve is now working on homes in California, France, Connecticut and Nashville. Brooke Giannetti runs the company’s interior design studio and is the author of the design blog, Velvet and Linen. She and Steve are the Authors of the books Patina Style (2011), and Patina Farm (2016). The firm’s work has been published in Veranda, The New York Times, Santa Barbara Magazine, C Magazine, and Good Housekeeping, as well as several other publications. Together they own the store Giannetti Home, located in Los Angeles, Calif., which also functions as their studio. They live on Patina Farm with their three children, mini goats, dogs, Sicilian donkeys, chickens, and Hector, the house bunny.
Find ANTIQUES at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market July 13-16, 2017.