Friday, October 29, 2010


Upcycling, definition: "The practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value."


Taking this beautiful 19th century, hand carved french server with cabriole legs and original brass hardware (c. 1910)...

And turning it into this absolutely breathtaking 19th century, hand carved french server with cabriole legs and original brass hardware (c. 1910)...

Sometimes when I look at a beautiful piece, it calls to me. I see it and in my mind, I envision it, as in this case, in a beautiful french grey with painted layers of french blue details, darkened brass hardware, gesso, and a faux marble top.
This is a labor of love and hard work, but to restore a piece like this, detail by detail, layer of paint by layer of paint, while keeping all of its original components, history and beauty is what my day's work is all about.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Shop Talk: 1stdibs Loves New Orleans

Shop Talk: 1stdibs loves New Orleans
Susanna Salk

"Our favorite New Orleans dealers invite you to visit the city that they're passionate about — and to shop in their stores while you're there. Whether you're booking a trip or just dreaming of one, take a tour with us today."

Check out disegno Karina Gentinetta as featured on page 6 of this month's Introspective Magazine!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Introducing: the "Roma" Sofa

I've been in this business long enough to have come to the painful realization that, as much as I would like otherwise -- Man can't live on antiques alone. No, indeed. He just can't. He may love them, he may appreciate them, he may even collect them, but when it comes time for his Sunday golf game or Monday night football, that beautiful swedish settee just won't cut it. He wants a sofa -- a nice, comfortable sofa that he can lounge on, kick his feet up on, and even fall asleep on, labrador retriever and all.

And if your man is anything like my man -- 6'3", 200 lbs. -- you need a sofa that will stand the test of time, lots of time.

But then comes woman. Woman can in fact live on antiques alone. Yes, indeed, the more, the merrier. Forget function. Give me form or give me death!!!!!!

Hence, the age old marital dilema. He wants the comfortable sofa; she wants the beautiful furnishings.

For years now, I've struggled with how to merge beautiful antiques and furnishings with a practical and comfortable sofa in the living or family room. Frankly, finding the right sofa has always been one of those painful and frustrating experiences for me that ends up in a fight between my husband and I or, worse yet, one of those standoffs where no sofa gets bought. Hence, we continue with the old, mushy sofa that has a dent on the very spot where my husband sits day in and day out to watch tv. It's embarrassing. And, with kids and dogs, I opted for years to slipcover my sofa in a white cotton duck fabric only to have it end up looking grey and dingy no matter how many times I oxycleaned it. Talk about disgusting. There it was -- my house -- all nice and tidy with pretty vintage and antique furnishings and then this "thing" in the middle of the room, looking like it belonged on the front porch of a fraternity house. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about.

Finally, I decided to put an end to this. If the right sofa could not be found, then I was going to create one.

And I did.

Named after the most beautiful city in the world (and my own daughter), the tightly slipcovered Roma sofa is inspired by Swedish design. The tight cushionless seat and slightly tapered arms give the Roma sofa an updated modern feel. The soft yet durable Belgian linen fabric is completely washable and comes in a variety of colors including natural, white and oyster (my favorite and pictured here).

And the Roma chair, the perfect accompaniment.

And if you're wondering how the Roma sofa and chair blend with beautiful antiques, well, you be the judge ...

The Roma sofa and chair are both available on 1stdibs and can be made to any specification and size. COM also available.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

And the Oscar goes to.......

It is time for me to pass on my lovely award...

I've thought long and hard in trying to decide who to pass it onto. The choices were difficult. There are so many blogs that I follow (when I get a minute in the day infront of the computer alone) and there are so many of them that make me stop and think. Those I love the best. The ones that touch me deep inside and make me cry, or laugh, or get angry. There are bloggers out there that have such a gift for writing and those that share stories about themselves that allow you to live in their shoes if only for that moment.

There is a particular blogger in my blog universe who has been there from the start -- listening, commenting, and always letting me know how my stories have touched her. Her blog is so beautiful and so well written that if you have not had a chance to visit it yet, please do yourself the favor. She is a kind person. An empathetic soul. A beautiful woman, inside and out. A woman who has lived a full life and still has so much more living to do. Ironically, she is also from Australia and since I began my new venture, she has given me such emotional support to go on. Little does she know the impact she's had on me and how much I look forward to her weekly comments on my blog.

So it is with great pleasure and great honor, that I pass along the "One Lovely Blog Award" to ....

The envelope please......

How exciting!!!!!......

My hands are shaking.........!

The winner of the "One Lovely Blog Award" is ....

Julienne of Mostly Older than Me blogspot!!!!!!

Please join me in congratulating Julienne.

Julienne, you have been an inspiration and constant support to me. For that and much more, I thank you. Your blog is beautiful and full of thought and emotion.

My hat ....

(another creation by Anya Caliendo)..... goes off to you, my dear friend.

I hope you will accept this humble award.

With all my gratitude,

Monday, October 11, 2010

"One Lovely Blog" Award

I am so honored and truly humbled to have been given the "One Lovely Blog" Award by the talented and absolutely beautiful (inside and out) Australian designer, Frances Russell, of Beautiful Interiors and 18th Century Style. As you all may have read in previous posts, Frances and I met when she saw a white Belgian linen tufted sofa in one of the photographs I had posted regarding new pieces that I had finished restoring and brought to my New Orleans store, disegno Karina Gentinetta.

Frances had been looking for a french antique sofa exactly like this one for over 2 years and when she saw it on my blog, she immediately contacted me and asked whether there was any possibility of shipping it to Australia. Well, to make a long story short, this beautiful antique heirloom and a pair of Louis XVI tufted chairs are on a ship as we speak heading to Australia. I could not be more honored. And this, my dear readers, was the beginning of a wonderful friendship with Frances Russell.

Frances' design style is cool and refreshing.

Her color palette and her choice of fabrics are very coastal and fit naturally with her surroundings.

I cannot wait to meet you in person one day, my dear friend, and walk the sands of your beautiful Australia. I thank you for my award and I'm honored that you would think so highly of me and my blog.

Since I know how much you love baking cakes, I thought I'd bake one for you to show you my appreciation.....

(from my all time favorite cake designer, Sedona Cake Couture!)

So now..... the rules of the award call for telling you seven things about me....

Here goes.....

I, like Frances, come from a place down under. In my case, it is Buenos Aires, Argentina.

I once heard that an Argentine is an Italian, who speaks Spanish, who lives in a French house and thinks he's English. Well, I admit, we are a confused but passionate bunch of people, that's for sure.

I love beautiful things ... whether it's a piece of furniture that I'm restoring...

(from disegno Karina Gentinetta)..

Or a gorgeous couture dress that catches my eye...

I love hats! Especially this beauty ("Confidante") from couture milliner designer and friend, Anya Caliendo.

I love my New Orleans and its beautiful and nostalgic architecture...

I love good food...

And the mocha coffees my husband, AJ, prepares me every morning in our kitchen...

But most of all, I love my children, Liam ....

And my little Roma....

They are the reason I live each moment like it was my first and last.

Thank you, Frances, for this lovely Award.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shopping Le Petit Paris

New Orleans has often been referred to as "Le Petit Paris" and it is no wonder why. New Orleans is full of European charm and as the only city (indeed, the only State) in the country that still practices and follows the Napoleonic Civil Code, one wonders why go to Paris when you can stay in the U.S. and visit Le Petit Paris.

As many of you know (or maybe not), I am fond of and love to go on shopping hunts around town for my clients who may be looking for something in particular but don't see it on my 1stdibs store. My store is small and while there are many things in my inventory that may not be listed on my 1stdibs store, I do love to find it for you as part of my design services. In fact, while I'm not gilding or painting or otherwise choosing fabrics for some wonderful upholstery idea of mine, I am shopping for friends and/or clients for that absolutely perfect antique that they just can't live without.

A lot of people forget the French influence New Orleans has and the amazing european treasures that exist in this City alone. So if I don't have a particular piece you're looking for, there is no need to despair and take the next flight out to Paris. Chances are it is right here in Le Petit Paris if you know where to look. And what's more (like I have done in the past for many of my clients turned friends), if we find a piece and it needs upholstering or painting or waxing or restoration (and most antiques do), I can do my magic on it and have it shipped absolutely ready to be used in your home. In fact, a client of mine (a designer) was looking for months for an Italian gilded queen size bed for her own client. She called me and I went on a headboard hunt. I finally found an amazing florentine headboard that was stunning. As many antique headboards go, this one did not have legs but rather was meant to hang from a wall. Although the headboard was stunning (and I can't wait to show you photos of it as soon as we are done with it), her client wanted it altered to have legs such that a bed frame could attach to it and she also wanted the inside of the headboard (which was the typical florentine wood panel) upholstered and tufted. As my amazingly talented craftsman says, "No problem!!!" Not only is he making a frame with legs that will blend in perfectly with the antique Italian headboard, but we are also keeping the gorgeous gilded frame of the headboard but upholstering and tufting the inside of it in a white velvet. The result is going to be stunning!!! Photos to follow.

So please don't ever think something is impossible. Nothing, including my own dreams, are impossible, I've realized.

But enough of my blabbing. Here are some of the most beautiful treasures I found on a recent walk around my little european city.

Antique Italian giltwood headboard (similar to the one I found and am restoring for my client)(Bush Antiques).

Whimsical Painted Trumeau Mirror on wood (almost looks like the real thing!) (Bush Antiques).

I love the way the chandelier was hung from the paneling and the mirror placed behind it. (Bush Antiques).

Italian Beaded Chandelier with Turquoise painted wood frame. To die for!

I wish I had the room in my house for this trumeau, I would have taken it!!! Gorgeous 12 ft tall painted trumeau (painted in a gustavian grey) with hand carvings. (La Belle Nouvelle Orleans).

Even the outdoor architectural elements and furnishings are beautiful and easy to find in this city. (The Plant Gallery)

I love urns, whether you use them inside or outside.

Another 12 ft. trumeau -- this one is gilded and stunning. (La Belle Nouvelle Orleans).

And this Antique Italian Florentine chest took my breath away. My client needed something to put a small television on and this was absolutely perfect! (Antiques on Jackson).

Of course, there is always plenty of treasures at my own store, disegno Karina Gentinetta....

Just in -- Beautiful pair of brown mohair and down cushion french bergeres.

Pair of Italian painted bombe chest nightstands. I adore the hues of greys and whites on these pieces.

Swedish style painted corner cabinet and French antique sofa in Belgian linen and down cushion.

Custom made pair of Italian sconces (4ft. tall!!), handcrafted in Italy with Murano glass crystals. The beauty of these (aside from the obvious) is that they can be made to order in any size and in multiple pieces.

Italian handcrafted chandelier above custom made, four-post bed. The white belgian linen settee in the background just shipped to Manhattan.

Also just in, this gorgeous, hand carved Italian oval desk/table with original paint and original satin upholstered table top. One of my favorite pieces!! The accompanying french armchair also has its original pink satin toile fabric. Together, they are exquisite.

I love this carving detail on my of my newest antique Italian carved mirrors. Have you ever seen anything quite like it?

But just remember, just because you don't see it on my website or at my store, it doesn't mean I can't find it here in New Orleans buried among the gorgeous european treasures we have in this city. Just email me or call me through my 1stdibs page. I find it especially fulfilling to make dreams come true.