Brooke Giannetti—interior designer, business owner and blogger—understands that “life isn’t about the things you own but about the experiences you have with them.”
Furniture, decorative accents, doors and windows are all imbued with this hidden narrative. Patina Style “embraces the life in things,” celebrating the alterations time inflicts on objects and mingling Old World charm with new modern insights.
Brooke and her husband, Steve, re-imagined their home through a unique dichotomy: “Our personal style began to come forth as a reflection of our personalities. That special chemistry that is created from the dynamic interplay of opposites.”
They united ostensibly inharmonious pieces, merging the antiquated with the novel. There should be a balance between old and new, but they recommend that readers emphasize classic items as well. “Vintage pieces add layers of visual interest to a space—they absolutely make a room sing,” they write.
Repurposing vintage pieces is a great way to add layers to any modern setting. The couple, for example, fashioned a bookcase out of antique Swedish doors and shutters. Painting or wallpapering larger elements such as bookshelves to match existing décor helps tie a room together.
To replicate the pair’s aesthetic, Brooke suggests deciphering the shared link between pieces. Often people assume they can set items haphazardly throughout small spaces, but this makes the décor appear chaotic.
“We’ve found that putting like-minded things together—by color, type or theme—calms a room visually.” In their own home, the couple assembled a series of vintage globes from the 1940s varying in size yet sharing the same shape and neutral tones. These discordant though similar pieces adorn the same shelf and enliven their tiny space.
Objects might be alike in myriad ways. Try mixing things according to color. Of course, you do not have to use the same exact color, but “just the same general shade results in a subtle layered complexity.” Utilize hues of off-white—buttercream, ivory, antique paper—to keep the room interesting and the viewer’s eye wandering across the room.
Also organize by theme. Like the globes in Brooke and Steve’s home, a series of clocks or images of a shared subject matter will link pieces and render cohesion. Don’t be timid to mix collections as well. Find the shared link between them and expand on it. This will require an artistic eye and attention to detail.
Together the pair combined Steve’s travel watercolor sketches with pieces of decorative plaster offset by sleek vintage pocket watches. The items all shared the same color range, making “it easy to mix and match, keeping the focus on shape and texture.”
Realize the beauty in your cherished everyday items from the past. Create your own patina style. “We come to cherish the wears and tears of life, to know things are precious precisely because of their imperfections,” the two write.
Patina Style by Brooke Gianetti and Steve Gianetti, published by Gibbs Smith, 2011; gibbs-smith.com.