Saturday, September 17, 2011

Meeting a Huge Inspiration- Brooke Giannetti of Velvet & Linen

I'm feeling tingly inside right now! That's what my son says when he's excited about something.  I just met one of my favorite designers, Brooke Giannetti, of the hugely popular Velvet and Linen Blog. Brooke and her husband, Steve (also my husband's name :) were at Big Daddy Antiques in San Francisco last night for a book signing. 

Their fabulous new book Patina Style was on the shelf and off the shelf in less than a month.  (They're temporarily out of stock right now). Lucky for me, I got to purchase one of these beauties directly from the authors themselves.  What a treat!

I'm trying hard not to beam in this photo with Brooke. I'm so excited!

Brooke is even more beautiful in person and she is so warm and friendly.  She introduced herself to me right away, and before I could say hello back I blurted out how she influenced the aesthetic of my newly remodeled home so much that they put it in a magazine!  And, did she want to see the magazine?  And sign my book?  And see my kids?  And come to my house for dinner?      


Well, I didn't get that carried away, but it's hard not to when you're in the presence of such an amazing artist.  Truly, her homes are works of art. And Brooke seemed genuinely flattered and pleased by my imitation of her works of art.  Literally, my dining room has two elements that I copied right out of her home office-- the Wisteria Regal French Chandelier and the painted gray cupboard with bare wood glass doors.  

Brooke's home office-- a huge inspiration

My dining room-- a huge copy cat!  The gray color of the built-in cabinets with the stripped wood doors was inspired by the cupboard in Brooke's office.  The Wisteria lantern is a direct match.
The Velvet and Linen blog validated my attraction to worn and salvaged items.  I especially like them paired with elegant, clean-lined, new ones-- something beautiful and pristine contrasted with something worn and old. There were so many times during our remodel when my husband, contractor, build crew, and even my neighbors raised their eyebrows at me disapproving of what I was doing now.  In fact, this is one of my favorite descriptions by Deborah Baldwin of the protests I endured:

    "...Not everyone shared [Jenna's] taste for salvaged goods.  After producing a well-worn front door, complete with a mail slot, and asking that it be hung on sliding rails in front of the new master bath, she says she had to override a head-wagging chorus of 'Cheap.  No good [from the build crew].' " 
                                         ~This Old House Magazine, September '11

Without anyone on the ground supporting my vision and taste for well-worn objets d'art direct from the dump, I fired up my computer at night and sunk into the online pages of like-minded bloggers for support.  I needed reminders that I wasn't the only one sourcing discarded artifacts ridden with imperfections like peeling paint, rusty corners, and broken bits...and loving them. 



When the protests on the remodel front deepened I needed more validation to stand strong.  Velvet and Linen was one of the few that I had a strong connection with because of Brooke's affection for worn materials, elegant but unpretencious antiques, a warm neutral color palette, and the use of unexpected elements in places you wouldn't normally consider.  This rang true in my ear too and here was a well respected interior designer saying so. Green light for me!

Now, with the Giannetti's new book, I can curl up in bed and carefully thumb through the inspirational images of their home and design projects.  They also do a great job providing a practical guide for how to achieve a sense of style and comfort in your own home-- how to shop flea markets, arrange collectibles, select furnishings, choose paint colors and so on.  Their style of decorating is sensible, care-free, and approachable.  It's within reach for us all.
Patina Style   Patina Style
I also appreciate how Brooke and Steve's approach to designing a home is so much more than just filling it with beautiful stuff.  They describe in their book the deep connection that the elements of their homes have with their life experiences, with slowing down the hectic pace of life, and with capturing and retaining memories.  This resonates with me too. Thank goodness the immense time and energy it takes to create a home holds a much deeper meaning.  It's not about the stuff.  It's so much more than that.

"Life isn't about the things that you own but about the experiences you have with them...When we bring antiques and other artifacts from the past into our homes, we connect with the stories behind them, the people who created and used them..."
                                                                                ~Patina Style

Brooke and Steve also describe how they balance the notion of creating a beautiful home with raising children inside that same space.  Through their design aesthetic and their values, they demonstrate that these two things can be simpatico.  

Screen shot 2011-04-26 at 10.58.14 AM

Thank you Brooke and Steve for coming to San Francisco and sharing your wonderful new book with us.  The record of your design journey on print can now grow old and patina too.

I'm honored that you included me in your blog describing the evening. I hope to see you again soon!


  1. Oh what a lovely evening!

    Brooke and Steve deserve all the lovely comments, and compliments, and there is a reason that their book is flying off the shelves and out of Amazon!!

    They are the "real deal"!! And most unusually; they can and do "explain" the "why" and the "how" to create meaningful and magical, and nurturing spaces for their family!!! That is what many people long for in their own houses, yet do not know how to accomplish!

    They explain in such a constructive and lovely way. Never condescending; always encouraging and positive, and helpful.

    Treasures; that's what they are!


  2. I couldn't agree more, Penelope. Thanks for posting!

  3. It was so great to meet you Jenna! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I'm thrilled to know that our work inspired your gorgeous home! Congratulations on the magazine feature.
    Looking forward to the next one!