That was the statement scrawled on the white board when we first talked about developing a new line of furniture. How do we create unique but totally functional pieces that express individual style?
“We wanted to offer choices to give the customer a chance to create her own masterpiece—something that would become a family heirloom,” said Laura Daily, VP of Merchandising.
With such lofty ideas in mind, we wanted to go all out with the concept. Why not create a truly custom, made-to-order line of furniture? We would need a wide assortment of timeless body styles for any room in the home. With heirloom quality construction. And beautiful finishes.
That’s when the light went on.
For centuries, Florentine furniture makers have been refining their craftsmanship, often using the same simple tools and techniques of the great Florentine master painters that inspired their work. It’s this tireless dedication and pure artistry that drew us to Italy. Here, we created our collection of furniture, Casa Florentina. Each piece custom made by Italian craftsmen, with no detail overlooked.
Cabinetmakers showed us how they recessed finishing nails and coated drawer glides in beeswax. The hardware, inspired by time-worn doorknobs and hardware in Florentine homes, was carefully selected. And even the drawers are lined in marbleized paper.
Since each piece would be custom made to our customer’s order, we wanted a special way to authenticate the craftsman’s unique work of art. We established one last step before completing a piece: adding a plaque engraved with the name of the customer—inside a drawer, behind the door or beneath the top.
To bring our collection to life, we turned to master artisan, Grazia. We had worked with Grazia on projects in the past, and we knew she could help us create the exact look we wanted.
Grazia helped us develop an exclusive line of finishes that would come to define the collection.
We drew our inspiration from the rich colors and textures of Tuscany: wood, earth, stone and water.
We settled on 15 hand-rubbed finishes and paired each with a complementing interior finish. Using age-old techniques, Grazia, and the artisans who have trained under her, meticulously applied the finish in layers, distressing each one by hand.
When we saw the finished results, we knew we had realized our dream.
Versatile by Design
At its heart, Casa Florentina is beautiful, functional furniture that will last a lifetime—and longer. We chose a variety of body styles that can find a purpose in almost any room, from living room to home office, and in any décor.
“We were very careful when choosing the collection. We wanted a well rounded assortment that could fit in a variety of homes,” said Laura. “We could even imagine some pieces in a gray finish being more modern.”
(See In Living Color: How to Decorate with Casa Florentina)
A Return Trip
To introduce Casa Florentina in our September catalog, we thought it only fitting to showcase the collection in its birthplace of inspiration. We packed our bags and headed to Italy for a week-long photo shoot at a castle in the Tuscan countryside. We set up shots inside the rooms of the castle and outside in the beautiful gardens. In these photos we hope we captured what inspired us in the first place—and let you in on the experience.