Autumn is that time of year when families turn inward. Shorter days, cooler temperatures and fading light entice us to come inside for a while and sit by the fire. Home becomes our retreat again, and families move inside with the promise of homework, daily rituals and holiday gatherings. Designing a home optimized for luxury family living has become an art form for architects like Steve Giannetti. He and his wife Brooke, an interior designer, are known for creating warm, inviting spaces focused on real living—but more importantly, on family living. Their styles—Brook loves laid-back antiques and subtle, sophisticated color palettes while Steve’s passions are in classical architecture and industrial-era pieces—have come together to forge a new design path they call “Patina style.”
Blending old and new, masculine and feminine, and 21st century lifestyles with timeless features, Patina style has become a celebration of all the things we value most in life: family, love, a sense of history, a feeling of luxury and the narratives behind our homes as well as the objects inside them. Previews Inside Out recently checked in with Steve Giannetti to ask him how he cultivates the Patina style to infuse warmth and refinement into a home.
Previews Inside Out How do you design a home for a modern family, while still keeping it luxurious?
Steve Giannetti Natural materials are both luxurious and practical because they age so beautifully. Antiques also work well for a modern family for the same reason.
Previews Inside Out How did you and Brooke first develop the Patina style?
Steve Giannetti When we decided to open a store [Giannetti Home], we put all of the items we loved on a table. Brooke brought linen pillows in neutral colors, blue gray velvets, vellum books, and antique gilt candlesticks. I added leather books, industrial pieces and ornamental plaster. Combining the pieces we both loved created Patina style. We applied this look to our store and our own home, and found that our friends and clients loved the look as much as we did.
Previews Inside Out How might the Patina style apply to architecture?
Steve Giannetti Patina style combines the use of natural building materials, as well as antique materials: antique roof tiles, vintage wood beams, etc… with a more modern sense of space and light.
Previews Inside Out What do you think draws people to the style?
Steve Giannetti Because we use natural materials, our houses are very family friendly. Natural materials, such as wood and stone, age beautifully as they are used. Our use of neutral colors and limited palette create a calm backdrop for a hectic modern family life.
Previews Inside Out What are your favorite Old World architectural elements?
Steve Giannetti Antique wood beams, doors and mantels add a sense of history and warmth to even the most modern house.
Previews Inside Out Can Patina style be adapted to contemporary homes too?
Steve Giannetti We prefer contemporary homes that incorporate antique materials. Simple, contemporary spaces are enhanced by these pieces.
Previews Inside Out When you’re bringing in Old World materials and elements that have a weathered feel, how do you give it a feeling of luxury?
Steve Giannetti It’s important to have both rustic and refined. An antique limestone mantel, for example, may have wear but also have beautiful classical detailing. The elegance of plaster can be used in a home with vintage barn beams to create a space that feels both elegant and relaxed.
Previews Inside Out What have been your most memorable projects that embody the Patina style?
Steve Giannetti One of my favorite projects is a house and barn we designed in Maine. We looked at the local architecture and used the theories of Patina style to simplify the design. We basically deconstructed the local architecture, removing the unessential elements, leaving only the details that connected the house with the environment. We created a post and beam barn with simple plaster walls and a modern sense of space. The house used elements drawn from local ship building techniques. We furnished both spaces with Giannetti Home furniture and antiques found in the local antique shops.
Previews Inside Out If you were going to purchase a home today and you wanted to bring in elements from the past, what would be the one architectural element that would ‘sell’ you on the house?
Steve Giannetti Good light and an open floorplan are essential.
Previews Inside Out What have been some of your favorite old finds that you’ve brought into your own home?
Steve Giannetti We are in the process of building a new house for ourselves. It will be a modern European farmhouse, and we are using antique hardware, doors and stone windows that we found during our travels.
Steve Giannetti, an architect with over 30 years of experience, is the founder of Giannetti Architects. He and Brooke are owners of Giannetti Home in Los Angeles—which now has an online store. Their book, “Patina Style,” is available on Amazon.