Casa Florentina: Behind the Scenes

          Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

Individual Style. 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?

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

“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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

Destination Inspiration

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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection
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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

Flawless Finish

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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

We drew our inspiration from the rich colors and textures of Tuscany: wood, earth, stone and water.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

Our Distressed Gray finish which echoes the stone found throughout Tuscany

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

Our Mahogany finish inspired by an antique cabinet

 

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

A weathered shutter in Tuscany inspired our Distressed Blue Gray finish

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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

“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.”

 

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

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.

Behind the scenes of Ballard Designs Casa Florentina collection

Find our entire Casa Florentina Collection, or browse ides on our Casa Florentina Pinterest Board.

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments!

 
How to Decorate Team

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.

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2 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kat

    November 30, 2011
     

    Beautiful line! I love it. It’s just what I’ve been looking for. 18th century inspired and nothing you would ever see at a regular furniture store. One of a kind gorgeous pieces and such a large collection with so many color choices. 🙂

  2. Reply

    sandy hendeles-goldman

    September 14, 2011
     

    i love this new line i called up and asked for a desk that would fit into a smaller space and you came up with this new desk i hope my decorator likes it because i do now i have to figure out what color to buy. thank you

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