Friday, January 28, 2011

A Visit to disegno Karina Gentinetta: Antiques Shop in New Orleans

The prettiest armoire ever, now owned by the very lucky Daria Pew
I hope she blogs about it when it’s installed (hint hint Daria)!

The Fanciful Designs paper rose napkin rings on the edge of the mantle made it in
nearly every picture I took.   I won a Fanciful Designs paper rose in a giveaway
and will be blogging about owner Noel Solomon’s art in late February.

Architectural detail, layer upon layer, everywhere in this sensuous city.

Karina at home with her poochies Thelma & Louise.

Lucky for me, I came across Karina’s blog  for her gorgeous fine antiques store disegno Karina Gentinetta as a novice blogger.    Eventually, whenever I needed a picture of the prettiest antique I was trying to emulate with a yard sale find for a blog post I automatically emailed her instead of googling.

I found her via Claudia Strasser’s Paris Apartment blog, intrigued by a post about a designer that started an antique shop after life-altering tragedy.

What touched me the most about Karina was ‘the voice behind the blog’.   She’s down-to-earth, self-effacing, and asks about the mundane as well as the marvelous in my life when we correspond.   After a shoot at my studio for Romantic Country magazine where the stylist used bright red props I didn’t delight in, she put her lawyer hat on and counseled me over the phone when I stressed over a solution that would make all parties happy.

When I thought I had a December deadline for shooting photos to include in my book, I automatically emailed Karina asking if I could cite her shop’s dream furniture (it's the real deal and priced to reflect that) for leading broke folk like me to good ‘lines’ when yard ‘sale-ing’.

I flew to New Orleans (very French and rife with its own culture) in October 2010 and took pictures of her home and shop.   I couldn’t control my reaction (gasping, jaw-dropping) when I came through the door—it’s the drama of entering a palace.   Or a dream.   Everything was going so well for the 2-day shoot; her pretty city (well-healed) bewitched me, I saw Spanish moss hanging from live oaks for the first time, I didn’t accidentally call her “Katrina”.   Her great cook of a husband made an excellent shrimp dish and I learned the very hard way I’m suddenly allergic to shellfish.   He spent most of the night in the emergency room with me when he should’ve been sleeping for a job interview in the morning.

Tragedy struck again--her husband was laid off and now only her shop (and his temp work) supports them.   Like her city with its occasional bulldozed lots next to neighborhoods of the cutest twee Creole cottages nestled in subtropical landscaping, Karina dances on.   She’s put her wares on 1stdibs, the New York Design Center, and even as props for the next Twilight movie.

If you ever need a French furniture fix, dash over to disegno Karina Gentinetta and linger in her shop and its piquant New Orleans flavor.   And, if you hope to own a shop someday, believe in it.   Anything can happen.

Until next time, stay shabby!

I’m sharing Karina’s magic with the White Wednesday blog party at Faded Charm, come join us!