Upgraded Outlets and I Fell in Love…

Boring and clunky outlets? Sad dimmers? Screwy wall switches?

You don’t know what you’re missing if you have not discovered the simple, clean and pure beauty of the adorne Collection by Legrand.

Being French-American, I am proud to share Legrand is a French company. Oui, oui, j’en suis fière! As the global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures, Legrand does over half its business in the commercial and industrial sectors. In line with underlying global trends, Legrand continues to build its positions in promising markets. Fascinating fact: they have been around for over a century!

I never thought I’d get excited with electrical hardware, but then again,never thought I’d drool over plumbing fixtures either :-) There is a magnificent world of industrial design out there, and adorne is clearly part of that savvy membership. I am totally, totally won over.

Here’s why:

They are pretty. They make sense. They don’t catch the eye in a bad way. They look sleek and can be made to complement your design or decor. They are easy to wipe down.

Here are some before and after pics from my home :

Elza B. Design | Chez ElzaElza B. Design | Chez Elzaabove, depressing switches and fan light nightmare.

Below, clean and organized wall plates, dimmers and switches.Elza B. Design | Chez ElzaElza B. Design | Chez ElzaScrewy plate below, and then after!Elza B. Design | Chez Elza Elza B. Design | Chez ElzaElza B. Design | Chez ElzaI selected sleek lacquered white but you can use colored plates as well and more complex switches and outlets.

Here a few examples:


Lacquered Plum 1 gang plate with magnesium switch.


French Oak, 1 gang plate


The Wave switch features innovative technology combined with sleek, contemporary design. Simply wave your hand in front of the switch to turn lights on and off.

Pop-Out Outlet

The adorne Pop-Out Outlet lets you hide an outlet when not in use. Simply push on the outlet and it disappears into the wall.

Watch the adorne Pop-Out Outlet in action.

But wait, there’s more! I really love the below cabinetry outlets (great for reading recipes on your I PAD!) and other kitchen lighting and switch solutions:

A fresh idea for light cooking

Click on image above for a video on adorne.

Finally, I would not be doing this brand justice if I didn’t mention all the whole house technologies available, such as whole house lighting or intercom solutions.

adorne interior intercom unit

The adorne interior intercom unit (see image above) works in tandem with one exterior video doorbell camera to see who’s at the front door from multiple locations in your home.

I want to thank adorne for coming up with this great product and introducing me to it. Love you guys! Special thanks to Phoebe who was super helpful with assisting me in my selections…


Outdoor Accessory and Fabric CRUSH

Link is a fantastic outdoor fabric and furniture brand I’ve used for diverse projects. Recently as I checked out their website, I crushed for these outdoor bolster pillows. They’re fun, zippy and originally finished.

Playing with trim and interesting patterns, Link created something different from the bland square nautical striped pillow. Imagine these poolside or on your outdoor sofa!

Link recommends the following steps when creating these:

1) Use different fabrics on ends

2) Change direction of fabric layout

3) Flange, contrast welt and different trim options

So let’s imagine I was to create my own using similar methods.

1- I chose this three striped outdoor friendly trim :

Three striped fringe in Melon by Link

2-The main fabric I would do in :

Palme in Melon by Link

3-The ends would be in this small pattern:

Sketch in Ocean by Link

Et voilà!!!

Fabric and colors always make my day, enjoy!


Greentail Table : a Cool New Table Top Store in the Boston Area

When a friend starts a business, you want to cheer and be there for them. It doesn’t hurt if you think the store offer tasteful and unusual items.  Such is the case with Greentail Table, a tabletop and home entertaining store my friend Linda de Valpine opened this summer in a vibrant Boston suburb called Newton. Linda tastefully designed the store with a Scandinivian vibe, playing with simple materials and clean lines. The store is small and cozy, yet because of its incredible ceiling height, never feels cramped. Small shops personalize neighborhoods and give them soul. I’m a big proponent of shopping local as much as you can. I urge you to check this store out, it’s worth the detour! I interviewed Linda this winter and share her responses with you below: enjoy!


Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza
Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza
Linda in her store, wearing her signature apron!

Linda, tell me a little about your retail background and how you decided to open a tabletop store.

My background is in retail buying and merchandising having primarily worked for companies focusing on children’s products. Most recently, I co-founded a small Indonesian import business specializing in artifacts and antiques. I knew early in my career that I would ultimately like to own my own store and bring my ideas to fruition–and finally decided to pursue my dream. Tabletop and home entertaining wares are among my favorite items to shop for personally and I knew that I could create an interesting environment and business around them as they are perfectly suited for gifting as well as for personal use.

Tell me about the name of the store. What inspired it?

Greentail was originally short for Green Retailing, with eco-friendly home products being the focus of my original concept, when I incorporated my company back in 2008. I do have a very large percentage of eco-friendly and sustainable products and materials in my current collection, but they are not the primary focus, so I modified the name to include Greentail Table, which represents my focus on tabletop merchandise.

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

This is such a wonderful shop! What inspires you when you select the pieces?

Thank you! I am inspired by modern, clean, simple lines and by products that are beautiful and functional and particularly in handmade items of natural materials. The interior of the shop has a very clean, bright and Scandinavian vibe.

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Where are the items from (country)?

The items come from all over with a focus primarily on goods from the U.S., Europe (country varies by item), and Japan.

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

What trends are you seeing in the table top industry?

I will be heading to market soon to see what new trends will be important for 2015. However, I have noticed that the interest in metals continues i.e. copper, brass as well as the emphasis on beautiful, functional pieces, in a variety of natural materials–which is just what we specialize in! Customers are much more selective when making decisions to bring something new into their homes. They want goods that are aesthetically pleasing and functional, and not necessarily trend-based.

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Peapod Clayworks-Angela Devecchi

How often will you be renewing your selections? will there be some items that we’ll be able to see become store “classics”?

We aim to have new goods coming in the door every month, with a major refresh every 3 months. Summer and Holiday entertaining are of particular importance to our business. We definitely have “classics” and will continue to carry many “go-to” gifts for our customers. For example, we will continue to carry the J.K. Adams line of ash cheese boards, colorful glasses from Spain, Modern-Twist silicone placemats and runners, Terrafirma Ceramics (although one-of-a-kinds–fabulous functional art), and more!

What type of items are most popular?

Our customers really love wooden cheeseboards and interesting servers for cheese. They also love our Chive Pooley Tube Vases, and Loop candleholders of every design,  silicone placemats from Modern-Twist, Japanese bottle openers and tea cups. We also have a lovely selection of accompaniments for cheese from L’Epicurien, which are very popular.

If you could take home one item from your shop today, which one would it be and why?

Oh boy–tough to choose! Right now, I currently have my eye on the Middle Kingdom ceramic nesting bowls in off-white. They are absolutely lovely and functional and each piece is signed by the artisan.

I wish my friend wonderful success with her new endeavor! She sure deserves it. make sure to shop her new online store as well.

Nesting bowls-Greentail TableMiddle Kingdom ceramic nesting bowls in off-white, Linda’s current crush-

Shagreen, Anyone?

Shagreen is such a soft, poetic word to my ears. From the French “chagrin“.  J’ai du chagrin literally means “I am disappointed or saddened” but in a grand, quite serious and dramatic way.

Shagreen is a spotted like, granular leather made from the hide of sharks and sting rays. Used throughout the centuries from Europe to Asia to make small decorative objects, cover sword handles or entire pieces of furniture, shagreen found its glorious expression in the Art Deco Period. Today it is still in use but has recently found a renaissance of sorts in its imitation form : “faux shagreen”.

I am drawn to its mysterious name and aspect, which gives depth and texture to the pieces it covers.

A few current favorites:

Faux Shagreen Trays

Faux shagreen trays- Jayson Home.

Faux shagreen octogonal lamp-Gracious Home

faux shagreen-Oka


Faux shagreen Lantau chest of drawers with real gold leafed handles and base-Oka

Faux Shagreen Box, Small, Charcoal

 Faux shagreen box-West Elm

Grey faux shagreen mirror-Jonathan Charles Furniture

Hope you enjoyed!

Latest Houzz Curated Items: Jewel Tones to Beat the Winter Blues

Designer: Brian Del Toro Inc. Photo by: Rikki Snyder




Crushing On…

Brilliant design concepts need little words so I will let the images do most of the talking here as I introduce two young creators I admire:

Richard Brendon Cup and Saucer

Richard Brendon Cup and Saucer


Richard Brendon

And the creator, above : Richard Brendon, a London based designer, British bone china specialist and entrepreneur who graduated from Kingston University in 2010. Richard’s inquisitive nature has led him to taking an archaeological approach to design.  He believes to design truly innovative work, a firm understanding of what has come before is essential. Richard has a particular skill in identifying and distilling the best elements from the past and transforming them into contemporary designs.  Through his work, Richard aims to bring a new audience to hand crafted luxury goods, and to help regenerate the incredible industries that make his products. Photos: courtesy Richard Brendon website.

ZAK+FOX textile

ZAK+FOX Kaze textile


ZAK+FOX Volubilis Textile

ZAK + FOX company’s founder and creative director, Zak Profera, draws influence from his early studies of conceptual art at the prestigious San Francisco Art Institute. His relentlessly curious nature and adherence to eclecticism have resulted in the creation of an aesthetic that is classic, contemporary, and ever shifting. It is based on the notion that great ideas can come from the most unlikely of places. From the outskirts of Istanbul in search of vintage finds, to the depths of the Black Forest for an open-air expedition, Zak’s travels afar charge his imagination with the same sense of adventure that inspirits his designs. He presently lives and works in New York City with his fox, Shinji. Photos: courtesy ZAK + FOX website.


Designer Insights-Interview with Elza B. Design, Inc

I was recently asked to answer some questions for a DESIGNER INSIGHTS interview by a  firm called Terry’s Blinds in the UK. They appear to be a company similar to Smith and Noble here in the USA. Tudor, their social media person got in touch with me and asked if I would participate.

I love that a window treatment company is so in love with design that it motivates them to go the extra mile on their blog and create a design interview concept that brings to the wider public the behind the scenes of interior designers and other design creators (landscape, architecture, etc).

Designer Insights

Tudor is actually taking the time to interview dozens of designers to find out what inspires them. What a fun idea! It’s also a great tool for a young adult wondering if this is the field they want to enter. In Designer Insights, designer wannabees can find out what creators have inspired designers, how they got to this place and what they recommend.

Here’s my interview (click anywhere on article to see expanded view):


I thought I’d turn tables on Tudor and let him answer a few questions!

Tudor Davies of Terry’s Blinds

1) What is your role at TerrysBlinds?

TD: I work on the online marketing of the website, specifically this means making connections on Twitter and developing new and unique content ideas, such as the “Designer Insights”. I try to come up with features like this and get people interested in them and involved. It’s amazing to take an idea from the drawing board and test it in the real world to see whether industry professionals like it. 
2) Is Terrys Blinds the equivalent of a company like Smith and Noble in the USA? Tell me more about the firm.
TD: I suppose we are. I’ve just looked at the website and we seem quite similar. The only difference being that they sell curtains as well. 
The company is relatively new, and we only really starting trading January of this year. However our sister company (Terry’s Fabrics) has been trading for 40 years. Since January we have been growing the company by improving website visibility and increasing awareness on social media. We have done some amazing things on Twitter and connected with some amazing contacts, such as yourself. We have launched “Designer Insights”, an astounding interior designer interview feature. All of this has increased brand awareness and helped to establish the company as a brand. We have a lot more to do but the progress in the last 8 months has been amazing.
3) Why and when did you decide to create Designer Insights?
TD: I came up with the idea back in February 2014, after carrying out a similar idea asking 15 designers their golden rules of interior design. I really liked that idea and was surprised at how many people wanted to get involved. After it was over I realised I could refine the idea, by making the final feature more personal to each designer and something that they would love to share online. I wanted to make a feature that was of value to the designer being interviewed and that looked like a high quality magazine feature.
4) What is your wish with this project (such a cool project by the way)?
TD: At the moment we have interviewed over 100 interior designers (about 130 so far), so I just want to build upon this and get more designers involved. Our next target is 250 and from there who knows? Getting requests to be featured is also a goal, as at the minute I invite people to take part. We have had a few inbound inquires but I just want to make the feature more popular to get even more.
5) What have you learned about doing this project?
TD: That you can create an amazing piece of valuable content that speaks to an individual person. Most content marketing involves sharing content with hundreds of people at a time, which has limited results. Whereas my approach is a one-to-one approach, it is much more rewarding for both parties, giving us both something of value. It also allows me to get to know designers on a personal level, to learn something about them that no one else knows. It’s very rewarding.
7) Were there any surprises? 
TD: I suppose the biggest surprise was how well the “Designer Insights” feature has taken off. When I started I never imagined I would get to interview over 100 designers. The first interview I carried out was a complete experiment, after that people just kept saying “yes” and wanting to take part. It was quite flattering and rewarding really.

Thanks to Tudor for allowing me to interview him and for the lovely interview feature on their site! I enjoyed doing this tremendously!




Kitchen Design Planning : Reporting back from JENN-AIR

This summer I had the amazing opportunity of being invited by the JENN-AIR brand at the gorgeous World of Whirpool Corporation in Chicago. Other design specialists and myself were flown out to the windy city and treated to an intensive training forum on state of the art kitchen technologies. Chicago Airport | Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch   I was mesmerized by the psychedelic lights in the Chicago airport corridors! Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch

Whirpool clearly knows how to treat their guests. They have their own chef on site and employees get to eat gourmet meals every day..Sigh. Delicious lunch on the rooftop terrace at Whirpool Headquarters | photo Barbara Elza Hirsch 2014-07-08 19.55.52 All dishes prepared by Whirpool Chicago’s Corporation chefs | Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch

It was a good thing the food was nutritious as there was a lot to learn about in a short visit. Here’s what I learned. JENN-AIR was founded in 1947 and is the inventor of down draft technology, a form of ventilation on the cooktop. They are also the first brand to have offered convection ovens in the USA. After going through a dark phase, it was aquired by Whirpool in 2006. Relaunched in 2009 as a luxury brand, JENN-AIR is considered a step above the Kitchen Aid, Maytag and Whirpool brands. Whirpool did some strategic thinking to figure out how to define and place each of their brands so as not to compete with each other. It was great fun to walk through the Whirpool training center and showrooms and see Maytag washing machines, Whirpool fridges or Kitchen Aid mixers. 1919 Kitchen Aid Mixer | photo Barbara Elza Hirsch The first Kitchen Aid mixer (1919) came attached with this cabinet and was wheeled by saleswomen door to door! Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch

JENN-AIR now offers a full suite of beautiful streamlined appliances. General Manager Steve Brown-an architect by trade-brings to the designs European flair and a great sense of clean and appealing design. Kitchen Design Considerations: Ellen Cheever of Ellen Cheever & Associates was a tremendous speaker and source of knowledge. I’d like to share some tips she shared which are essential in today’s kitchen design. -Kitchen planning standards have changed. Start with selecting appliances before you select cabinets. It helps with issues such as clearance rules or installation differences which one wants to be prepared for before specifying cabinetry. -As much as possible, try to select a suite of appliances so to offer clients a cohesive design look. -Two sinks is ideal but if there is not enough room, try to specify a multi-configuration sink. -As much as possible, try to invest in a small under counter ice machine. It makes the best clean ice, at an ideal temperature. -The height of appliances is extremely important. Design with your client in mind. -People are interested in new technologies such as an integrated coffee machine, a steam oven, induction ovens, etc.

Below are a few features on some of the newer technologies I saw in action and was most impressed with:

Induction cooktops have made tremendous progress. In the 80’s and 90’s induction burners used to steal power from each other. Modern induction burners offer a very responsive source of heat and offer the advantage of doubling up as an extra work surface. Today’s induction cooktops are 90% efficient compared to electric (60%) or gas (40 to 50%). Jenn-Air Induction Cooktop, 36" JIC4536XS JENN-AIR offers an induction cooktop that has a sensor boil option: it boils the water automatically for you and lets you know with a beeping sound when it is ready. The induction cooktop has elements below the burner surface that send electromagnetic forces to heat conducive pots. This allows for a safe cooking surface, as human hands being non-heat conducive, they cannot burn. Middle burners are today’s prime piece of real estate on any cooktop. It’s where the strongest heat source is located. JENN-AIR offers an exclusive 5000 wattage (36000 btu) middle burner.

Another fascinating technology was ventilation:  This Jenn-Air® luxury telescoping downdraft ventilation offers minimal design and powerful performance right at the cooking surface. The sleek telescoping downdraft vent appears at the touch of a button, and elegantly retracts back into the countertop when not in use. An unexpected refinement in ventilation, each Accolade™ Downdraft Ventilation System is individually crafted and hand-polished. Its graceful movement is matched by its singular performance: It powerfully, quietly, beautifully clears the air, then disappears on command. It’s truly at the forefront of design and performance. JENN-AIR has beautiful ceiling ventilation such as this beauty (offering high clearance, ideal for taller individuals): JENN-AIR ventilation | photo Barbara Elza Hirsch  The average home kitchen releases 1 to 5 gallons of grease per year, hence the importance of ventilation! One should never underestimate the importance of adequate ventilation. Ideally, a ventilation system should be 6 inches wider than your cooktop. it is ok to have it the same width, but some states have different code regulations regarding this matter.

I was pleased to hear downdraft vents (vent is on the cooktop and vents downwards) have much improved over the last few years.

Steam Oven cooking grabbed my attention and I sure wish my kitchen had room for this 24 inch Steam/Convection oven: Jenn-Air 24-Inch Steam and Convection Wall Oven JBS7524BS This versatile wall oven uses steam to preserve nutrients in vegetables and tenderness in meats, and convection for evenly-baked pastries and roasts. One can use steam and convection together for food that’s tender inside and roasted or crisped outside.

The steam/convection oven offers 11 preset food categories in its steam options, 89 presets in all! These can be used manually or automatically. It operates with a water reservoir that needs to be refilled (but never mid cooking). With steam cooking,  there is 0% odor transfer between foods being cooked. This means you can easily cook salmon, baked beans and dessert all in one!

The eco-focused Whirpool facility we trained in was built at this Chicago historic landmark building using locally-sourced construction materials; materials made from recycled, renewable and/or recyclable content; low-flow plumbing fixtures; and low VOC coatings. Even the construction waste was carefully recycled throughout the project. The location uses extensive day lighting, and includes a large outdoor space with an herb garden providing fresh ingredients for cooking demonstrations and events. Housed in Chicago’s Reid Murdoch Center, it offers a fantastic clock tower with offices inside the tower: Inside the Whirpool Tower, chicago | Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch

Views from the tower were amazing:

Chicago | photo Barbara Elza Hirsch  | photo Barbara Elza Hirsch The outdoor terrace of the Whirpool Facility as seen from the tower.

A really cool brick detail of the inside of the renovated tower:

Inside Whirpool Clock Tower | photo Barbara Elza Hirsch

I’d like to share a final fantastic new JENN-AIR product called the obsidian refrigerator:

Obsidian fridge

 The Obsidian Refrigerator by JENN-AIR: The dual evaporator system creates two distinct and independent climates for enhanced food preservation. Offering LED lighting throughout the interior, the Obsidian minimizes shadows and reflects against the black interior to dramatically display ingredients. Saw it in person: as cool as it sounds!

Technologies are constantly evolving and it is so helpful for us to see what is out there. I truly enjoyed my time in Chicago, the kind hospitality of Whirpool and JENN-AIR. I came back with a better understanding of what one needs to consider in today’s kitchen designs.

Demystification of a Design Collaboration

Today I’m sharing a behind the scenes of the designer/client collaboration.

Soooo, how does working with us REALLY work?

1/Good designers are not out to exploit you. They care. They have a strong work ethic and they work very hard.

2/Hiring a designer requires a budget, and you can’t hope for a total redesign on a $1,000 budget on designer fees for your living room. That is, simply put, unrealistic. Imagine how many hours it takes you to select one wall color when you go to the paint store! Now multiply that task by 50. Imagine selecting furniture, lighting, rug, at, accessories, wall color, tile, flooring options for a project. Add to that the hours spent meeting on site with you and or the builders, the preparation of powerpoints and budgets, the travel time and the custom selections of fabrics and design of bespoke items, communication with vendors, orchestrating deliveries, creating designs and drawings. Designers easily reach 30 hours + on a room design depending on the scope of the project.

Inspiration Board by Elza B. design, Inc.Inspiration board section detail by Elza B. Design, Inc. This board helps the client and designer make sure the client is on board with the vision for the project. Each board takes several hours to research and put together.

3/A good designer will be super organized, prepare a contract, and take time to go through important steps of preparation. Tip: Never work without a contract.

Contract-Elza B. Design, inc..Extract of a contract from Elza B. Design, Inc.

4/Preparation: Designers need to build the backbone of the design project before you can even start designing. CAD drawings, vision plan, color schemes, measurements, photos.

Example of an Elza B. Design Package.Example of the type of work we prepare at Elza B. Design, Inc  before even starting any research or purchasing for our clients. This can take 15 to 20 hours prep work.

5/Trust: Once you select a designer (and we recommend you do your research), please trust they know their craft.

6/Hire someone with excellent client satisfaction reviews, a great portfolio, strong communication and organizational skills. This person should be someone you can relate to and trust to listen well : after all, they are helping you create a space YOU will love.

Designer's Office board for a Project. Elza B. design, inc.Back in the office, each client has a board with all the items, colors, fabrics, info on hand. Elza B. Design, inc.

8/It may seem scary to entrust us with your home or space, but we will do everything we can to make you happy with the outcome. We wear multiple hats, including overseeing shipping and custom fabrication : we are problem solvers and our goal is to deliver.

Elza B. Design Sketch for Custom Pillows.Sketches by Elza B. Design, inc.Custom sketches like these are prepared to communicate with you and the specialists who work with us to ensure a seamless production and installation. Elza B. Design, Inc sketches.

9/Yes, there can be issues but we will solve them! Like when the fabric comes in from the mill at the workroom and it’s defective. We’ll take care of returning it. Or when that glass lamp shade arrives broken. We’ll organize the exchange.

Elza B. Design, Inc | Chez ElzaExample of resolutions we take care of at Elza B. Design, Inc.

10/If you can trust us, great things will happen, and both parties will enjoy the collaboration. If you hold back, and begin to see us as the enemy, a good partnership cannot flourish. Please express your concerns. But please trust you have hired a professional who will steer you in the right direction.

11/Collaboration is KEY. A good designer will want to communicate. He or She will love it if you can say “I don’t like that because…” “I really like that color but I would prefer…” Your constructive input is needed and appreciated.

12/Please let us know when you are happy. Do send photos of the space to share your excitement when the sofa has been delivered or when the kids are happily enjoying the new family room! We love it when clients share the joy! Makes our day!

13/Budget? Why are we asking about your budget before the contract is signed? It’s very important for a designer to know beforehand if the budget is realistic. Our goal is to meet the client’s wishes: if we know what the budget is, we will know if we are a good fit for you, what solutions to come up with and which stores to shop.

14/Do designers work on weekends? Would you ask your electrician to come during the weekend? Probably not unless it was an absolute emergency. Designers take weekends off like everyone else. I will occasionally do a weekend visit but there is an extra fee for that.

Elza B. Design Board of Design Elements put Together.Here is an example of how all can be decided prior to any purchase. We are able to show clients what they are buying with the help of new technologies. Board by Elza B. Design, Inc.

15/The big reveal? If you want a custom designed space, please don’t have unrealistic expectations. We simply cannot deliver awhole room redesign  in three weeks when a simple sofa takes up to 12 weeks in production! Expect the project to last months. If you want a big reveal, we can have our receiving warehouse inspect and hold all the items, and then deliver and install all the same day with our assistance. There is an extra fee for that, but some clients say it’s worth it!

16/”I want an IKEA priced sofa!” Imagine a dish (we’ll call it A) made with fresh herbs, fresh mushrooms and a homemade tomato sauce. Now imagine the same dish (we’ll call it B) made with dried herbs, canned mushrooms and a jar of inexpensive store bought tomato sauce. Dish A make look as good as dish B, but A is going to be tastier and pricier if you order it at a restaurant than dish B. It goes the same way for furniture. It may look good but the craftsmanship and quality of components is what you pay for. IKEA is a great place to start when you’re out of college or on a budget, but you will find the quality is not as high. Designers know all about quality and where to get it. Ask us. We’re happy and proud to explain how the items are made.

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes and found it educational!

A bientôt!





Hotel Gritti Palace Renovation (Swoon!)

I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Chuck Chewning speak at the Boston Design Center about the complex renovation he supervised for the Gritti Palace.

Santa_Maria_del_Giglio_Square_EntranceThe Gritti Palace Entrance. Photo courtesy the hotel’s website.

Photo Courtesy Gritti Palace Website.Hotel Gritti Palace Entrance looking towards the canal. Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.

Chewning is a highly talented interior designer from Georgia who majored in Historic Preservation of Architecture and Interior Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. He is the current creative director of Donghia and director of design at Studio Rubelli. Chewning offered an intelligent, beautifully articulated presentation (and I loved how accessible and down to earth he was) on an enormously complicated renovation of one of the most famous buildings of Venice. US based Save Venice Inc. helped fund the project and the renovation was launched shortly after the palace closed its doors in 2011, after having been flooded no less than 24 times in 2010!

Chuck Chewning. Photo courtesy Donghia.

Chuck Chewning. Photo courtesy Donghia.

The glamorous 16th Century Palace was in dire need of help. Chewning and his team dug 8 feet under the foundation to create concrete basins to capture the water excess and counterweight the foundation. Local artisans were brought in to create historically accurate terrazzo flooring. Marble waiscotting was used on the lower levels to conceal the concrete foundation. The original 91 rooms were reconfigured into 82 grander rooms offering proper bathrooms with modern amenities.

Once the building was structully habitable, the designer sifted through all the original furniture and realized only 50% of the original pieces were salvageable! Chewning and his team drew sketches in order to create replicas. Months were spent collecting art and accessories around Europe.

My favorite part about the building is that Chewning named the bedrooms in honor of past famous lodgers and worked tirelessly to re-create a bedroom they would have loved. My two favorites are the Peggy Guggenheim Bedroom Suite and the Somerset Maugham Suite.

Photo courtesy The Gritti Palace.The Peggy Guggenheim Bedroom Suite, named after the famous art collector and her epynomous museum across the Grand Canal. Beautiful 1930’s inspired furniture adorn the space, and the eclectic and highly original details (the cornices!) make for a stunning space. Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.

Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.The Peggy Guggenheim Bedroom Suite. Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.

Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.Bathroom in The Peggy Guggenheim Suite. Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.

Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.English novelist and playwright Somerset Maugham’s Suite. The 81-square-meter suite is adorned in luxurious 18th century inspired fabrics and antique furnishings, interesting curiosity objects and offers a scattering of the author’s novels. Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.

Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.The Punta della Dogana Patron Suite. Stucco and Murano glass fans, you are authorized to drool!

Another wonderful part of the renovation was the Redentore Terrace Suite with its private 250 square-meter terrace:

TheRedentoreSuiteTerrace2Gritti Palace Epicurian School. Photo courtesy Gritti Palace.The Gritti has its own Epicurian School where up to 12 students can learn the art of fine cuisine and then sit down to enjoy their hard work!

The Palace opened its doors in 2013 to great acclaim and Chewning is happy to share there have been no floods since the renovations!

A masterpiece!

 All photos of the hotel courtesy www.thegrittipalace.com