Today, we're continuing our new "Make Life Beautiful Series" with our second guest, Brooke Giannetti!
In this series, we're taking an inside look at some of our favorite aspirational designers' worlds and picking their brains to discuss their journey into the industry.
We're so excited to share our Q&A with Brooke, and we hope you find as much inspiration in her story as we have!
Brooke Giannetti runs the interior design studio for Giannetti Home, a full service Architectural and Interior design firm.
She and her husband, Architect Steve Giannetti, are the Authors of the books Patina Style (2011), Patina Farm (2016), and Patina Living. Their fourth book, Patina Homes, will be published in Spring 2021. The firm’s work has been published in Veranda, The New York Times, Santa Barbara Magazine, C Magazine, Departures, and Luxe Magazine, as well as several other National publications.
Together Brooke and Steve own the store Giannetti Home. Specializing in custom furniture and imported antiques, the store is focused on offering their Giannetti Clothing line as well as home furnishings and visuals in the couple's signature Patina Style. They live on Patina Farm with their miniature pygmy goats, babydoll sheep, highland cows, Sicilian donkeys, chickens, Shihtzu pups, and Hector, the house bunny.
Here's what Brooke had to say about her journey:
What was your very first job — ever?
I worked in a woman's clothing store during high school and college. The store carried beautifully made, comfortable clothing in natural fabrics. It was the first time that I realized that good design could change how someone feels about themselves and their lives. I loved helping customers select clothing that made them feel comfortable and happy. It was fascinating and gratifying to see the change in our customers' attitude between the time they walked into the boutique and when they were leaving, usually wearing the clothing we picked out together. Looking back, it's amazing how my first job has come full circle, as clothing design has become part of Giannetti Home
Tell us about your journey into the interior design industry, when did you realize that you could turn your love for design into a career?
When I was younger, I never imagined that I would be an interior designer. I didn't go to school for interior design. When I was 21, I fell in love with a talented architect and married him. Steve and I have always designed our own homes. In the first years of our marriage, our friends started asking me to help them with the interiors of their homes. When our youngest child, Leila, started kindergarten, Steve asked me to help his client with her interiors. At first, I just helped her select a few items for her sons' rooms, and then it grew… Next thing I knew, I was helping this lovely woman decorate her entire house, selecting finishes, plumbing fixtures, as well as the soft goods. I started sharing my designs on my blog, and magazines began asking to take photographs of our homes. That was the beginning of my career!
If you could go back in time and give your young designer self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I was raised by black and white thinkers, and that's where I felt safe. I had to learn to be comfortable in the gray. I would tell my younger self that the design process is not linear, and that's ok. It's like a spiral that sometimes feels out of control. Get comfortable with the little anxiety that you feel from not knowing where the process is going. This nervousness will help you find the answers. Eventually, the spiral gets smaller, and the final design will reveal itself.
Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?
A special antique furniture piece or textile can often be the inspiration for a room or an entire house. For a recent project, we found a gorgeous Belgian Verdure tapestry to hang in the Family room. We used the colors in the tapestry: a mix of azure, aquamarine, teal, and neutrals, to inspire the color palette for the entire house, including a dreamy, impressionistic hand-painted mural in the dining room. We also love to travel, and pre-COVID trips to Belgium, France, and England provided huge inspiration for our designs.
What does your creative process look like?
Usually, our clients will share Pinterest inspiration boards with us. It's up to us to make sense of the images. What do they have in common? What is it about the images that our clients love? What type of spaces are we trying to create? What are the emotions these spaces will evoke? The answers to these questions become the armature that will help us make all of our design decisions. We can then select finishes, fabrics, and furnishings to achieve our goals.
What was the most significant design or business challenge that you have encountered and grown from? It is always a challenge to stay focused on building a business that works for our lifestyle. Steve and I always knew that we loved design, but we didn't want to spend our time managing a huge office. Deep down, we are both introverts that like to spend time at home, designing and connecting with our animals and gardens. We made decisions that work for our personalities. We work, mostly virtually, with a small, talented design team that all work from their homes in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
We are offered many opportunities, but we always take our time to decide if it is actually something that furthers our life goals or is really just a distraction. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. For example, over the years we've been offered several licensing deals. A couple of years ago, we decided to go down that path to see where it would take us. We didn't get very far into the process before realizing that all of the design compromises, meetings and traveling that were involved didn't suit our personalities and were in opposition to how we wanted to spend our days. The process helped us to realize that we would prefer to design our own furniture pieces and clothing rather than create designs for other companies. This allows us to design pieces that are the clearest vision of our design aesthetic. We like to be in total control of our own design "story."
What has been your biggest achievement? When was the last time you thought, "wow, I can't believe I just accomplished that!"
Designing Patina Farm, our property in Ojai, California, is our biggest achievement. Patina Farm is the embodiment of our design philosophy. Looking at the property we created that allows us to live our dream life is the ultimate "wow" moment. It's what we love to do for our clients. Patina Farm is our Field of Dreams, and we believed that if we built it, like-minded clients would come. Recently I looked at the first book Steve and I did together that included our home in Santa Monica, with our small veggie garden in our front yard. It's amazing to see how far we have come, realizing the goals we had a decade ago.
Which upcoming project or endeavor are you most excited for?
Steve and I are very fortunate to be able to only take the projects that excite us. Right now, we are helping a wonderful couple build their dream house in Malibu on the land where they lost their old home to a devastating fire. We are also creating an amazing estate in Nashville for a family with big dreams that include a beautiful family home and a party barn for entertaining friends and family, as well as a secret tower with a bunk room and lookout. We are also finishing our fourth book, Patina Homes, that shares how our work is based on our desire to help our clients create and build their dream properties. The book includes many of our favorite projects and shows the evolution of our design philosophy. Seeing so many of our projects in one place and being able to share what we have learned over the years is very satisfying.
Shop Giannetti’s books below!
To learn more about Brooke and her work, visit Giannetti's website at giannettihome.com, and follow her and her husband Steve on Instagram @velvetandlinen @stevegiannetti.
Psst... Be sure to check out our first round of the series with designer Mikel Welch here if you missed it!