Il Bagno

This is a story about a fun project that took place in October, but the pics are hot off the press today.

Cathi, whom I had never met, but was a Facebook follower of mine, called to see if I might be interested in helping her and her husband plan a master bath renovation. YES! (And as an added bonus, I asked my friend Jen to be in on the fun.)  They had just moved from the suburbs to a great new home in Decatur. For those of you not from Atlanta, think Berkeley: a forward-thinking, environmentally friendly, darling community with hip restaurants, great schools, charming bungalows, front porches and sidewalks galore. (Can you tell I'm a fan? :)

We learned quickly that Cathi and Chuck are passionate about Italy, and wanted their bathroom to reflect that (plus a teensy bit of Charleston). She loves how the Italians are masters at blending the antique with the modern, and asked us to keep that in mind when planning the space. Yay! You've come to the right place!! (read here)

In addition, the couple felt their old bathroom was dated, full of wasted space, with a long narrow shower, and a GIGANTIC tub wedged in the center of the room.


BEFORE: Note the vanity shoved all the way to the left, and no room for storage.

On their wish list was a new layout, a larger shower with seamless glass doors, a new vanity, ample storage, and special touches to render the space unique...all on a medium budget. Can we do it? Yes we can, and more!

Voila', the PLAN, and the AFTER:

Antique, or Old World elements, were brought in with the chiseled travertine flooring, mosaic tile backsplash, antique European armoire, window mirrors, and script chair.

 We blended in modern touches with square fixtures, rectangular sinks, a streamlined custom shaker vanity, seamless glass shower doors, and fresh white walls. 

I am a firm believer in saving where possible, and splurging on that one-of-a-kind statement piece. All of our stone tile was reasonably priced from Floor and Decor warehouse (save), but we decided to pull out the big guns for the mosaic in the shower and backsplash (splurge). Adding the mosaic to the backsplash as well, was Cathi's idea, and one of my favorite elements in the room!

The antique European pine armoire with chickenwire was from a local antique dealer (splurge). We had it painted to match the room, and I made a linen drape from a remnant to line the door (save).

The linen script chair adds a soft element to the hard surfaces, and was a steal at Home Goods!

The free standing custom vanity, locally made by my favorite carpenters, is top of the line quality, but at an accessible price point. We also saved on the remnant travertine top from my favorite fabricator, and purchased all of the fixtures and sinks from Lowes, and sconces from Ballard's.

Plantation blinds for privacy. Window treatment arriving soon!
Where did Charleston fit into the equation, you might ask? In the powder blue ceiling, and beadboard walls in the wc. Jen further embellished the white walls with a stencil for a whimsical wallpaper effect.

Throughout this whole process, I have to say that Chuck really was the DREAM husband/client: always positive and agreeing with the ladies.  One thing he really cared about having, though, was a bench in the shower, and we all knew we had to make him happy.  Jennifer had the genius idea to put a concrete garden bench there, as opposed to your standard half wall and pre-fab slab.  I love the unpredictability of this piece, and alas, Chuck is happy! And for the record, so is Cathi.  She loves the understated elegance of the space, and that to me is a great compliment, seeing as how understated elegance is a centuries old Florentine characteristic....and NO one does it better than the Fiorentini (sorry Milanesi).

We had a wonderful time from start to finish, and are so lucky to have crossed paths with this exceptional couple. Since Cathi and I have grown accustomed to exchanges in Italian, this is for her:

Sono cosi' grata di averti conosciuta. La tua gentilezza, intelligenza, e interesse per l'arte e il design mi fa sempre piacere. Sono contenta di avere una nuova amica in te, e spero di vedervi prestissimo per un bel brindisi a casa nostra. Grazie dal cuore.

Un abbraccio,

Hugs to all,


Chiseled Travartine 12 x 12 floor tile-Floor and Decor
Wavy Katrina wall tile 6 x 6 -Floor and Decor
Shower floor octagon mesh mount mosaic- Floor and Decor
Mosaic-The Tile Shop
Wall Paint- SW Antique White
Vanity Paint-SW Tony Taupe
Trim Paint-SW Chestnut
Ceiling Paint- SW Topsail
Armoire-Similar styles available through me
Chair- Home Goods
Sconces- Ballard Designs
Mirrors- To the trade, available through me
Faucets- Lowes
Sinks Lowes
Honed Travertine vanity top- available through me
Custom vanity- available through me
Hardware: Anthropologie mirror orbs
Concrete bench: Home Depot
Towels: Target
Rugs: Target
Accessories: Home Goods, owner's own

Ciao World

A first blog post is a rather daunting task:  Where to start? What to write? I'll start by thanking you for listening.  And by telling you a little bit of my story, since who I am as a designer has EVERY bit to do with who I am as a person.

I come from a long line of Scandinavian carpenters and builders on my dad's side, and thank his Viking genes for my never give up, dig in and get it done, mentality and craftsmanship.  My Mom, on the other hand, is the tastemaker, and I was fortunate enough to grow up surrounded by pretty things: wool flannel sofas, distressed leather chesterfields, framed Hermes scarves and Audubon prints, perfectly edited rooms and ever-changing floor plans.  Mom always threw the best parties, wrapped the most gorgeous presents, cooked the most wonderful meals, and was (is) the best dressed, most beautiful woman in the room. She is my biggest role model. Most of what I know about good design, I learned living and breathing it.

La classe non e' acqua. 

One of my fondest memories from early childhood is of visiting restaurant bathrooms.  I was always so excited to see what surprise wallpaper, soaps, tissue boxes, lighting and mirrors were hidden in the "ladies lounge". (Fast forward twenty years, and boy was I surprised to find Turkish toilets in Italy and France!) (BTW, on my last trip to Italy, the public restrooms were to DIE for.  I was so happy about this revelation on the part of Italian designers and architects....I promise to do a post someday...)
Mozzarella Bar Bagno-Firenze

...Enough digression.

Ever since third grade it had been my dream to become a designer.  Never mind that it took me thirty-some years and careers in fashion to finally come full circle.

My path through San Francisco to study Art History...

Mills College 1987

...gave me my first platform to try my hand at design...
Olney Hall Suite '87
...led me to Florence, Italy to study Renaissance Art...

Il Duomo

...and straight to the love of my life.
Lorenzo and I in Ostuni, Italia. 1989


July 7, 1996

Castiglion della Pescaia-2002
Starting a company...
piccola b. children's clothing

Landing my first paid interior design job...

La Fornella-Paterno, Italy

We had 17 wonderful years living LA DOLCE VITA in the hills of Tuscany.

But all good things come to an end. The economy started to tank in Italy, and we thought we would try Atlanta for a stab at The American Dream.  That was mid-2006. Crap. Not a good time to move to the States.  Or buy a house.  Or start a new career.  In a new country. Knowing NO ONE.

BUT WE DID  IT!!!! It was a difficult transition, but when I finally realized that I could not compare Florence to Atlanta, and I had to look at the positive sides of both places, I started living. And thriving.  I began teaching Italian cooking classes out of the home to willing neighbors, but that was like throwing a party several times a week...too hard.
Signature schiacciata con prosciutto e rucola.

 Then I opened an antique booth at the Queen of Hearts in Alpharetta.

 I finally found my calling, and my passion. I couldn't get enough of the hunt, the merchandising, the decorating and the selling.  My business grew on my time, and at my own pace and I soon added design clients to the mix.  Today, my work is primarily interior design. Thank you to all of you who have believed in my talent, and welcomed me into your homes.  The very best part about doing what I do is getting to know my clients as friends. Thank you.

Sono fortunata.

I am lucky.