Today’s post shares the book Patina Farm. These are the thoughts I had as I read and upon finishing this stunning hardcover by Brooke Giannetti and Steve Giannetti with photographs by Lisa Romerein.
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If you read no further, let me just say that after reading Patina Farm from cover to cover I’m already preparing to order the books Patina Style and Patina LIving. That’s a firm “thumbs up” from my point of view.
If you love a sense of history to ground a home, then you’ll love Patina Farms.
Growing beyond a suburban lot
The Giannetti family has created a home for themselves in Ojai, California that is straight out of my dreams. My daughter’s Mother’s Day gift this year was the book Patina Farms. It chronicles the Giannetti’s home design process. She excitedly told me that as soon as she saw the book on Velvet & Linen that she instantly knew that their home would have me entranced! She was right.
The back story isn’t unusual from many other couples. Steve and Brooke Giannetti found that they loved gardening, animals, and nature in a way that well exceeded the opportunity of their Santa Monica lot.
“The happiness and satisfaction of these new experiencesPatina Farm, Page 11
furthered our desire to make larger changes to our life –
– to think of a life beyond our small suburban lot, a life on a farm.”
This is where the story takes a fork to become remarkable. Unlike many of us who only dream, they TOOK ACTION. Today they live on a lovely 5-acre lot that supports their love of nature with room to expand.
As they planned the elements they most wanted to include, they pulled upon their family history, professional training, and a lot of ingenuity to achieve a home that is simultaneously comfortable and elegant. That’s no small feat, especially with animals and teenagers roaming both inside and out!
Creating patina through intentional choices
Steve is a world-renowned architect. Brooke is a blogger, shop owner, and interior decorator. Together, they have the skills and resources to bring their particular choice of lifestyle into reality.
Further, they are also blessed to have the means to travel the world and see their family history in person. Compound this good fortune with the corresponding eye necessary to cull inspirational situations and individual pieces. This ability to be discerning is what transformed a parcel of land into their perfect experience of home. This is MUCH harder than it looks.
Many people can spot beauty and function. Where the challenge arises is to know if it is the RIGHT beauty and function to flow and live cohesively in a particular setting. In other words, you can’t pick up a room from a designer showhouse and assume it will live well in your own private surroundings, even though it may be stunning with an optimal layout. There needs to be a relationship within and between spaces that creates harmony.
This is a gross analogy but I think it’s effective. Consider a kidney transplant. The organ might be in perfect condition yet if it doesn’t match all the markers of the new body, then this seemingly perfect kidney will be rejected. It can’t assimilate optimally for healthy existence.
That may seem like a digression, yet I believe it IS the foundation of their successful interpretation of home. Bear with me for just a moment longer …
Dining at cracker barrel vs. the four seasons
Have you ever served a plate for yourself at a buffet to discover that you have five carb dishes, three fruits, and no protein? That certainly won’t keep you happy (for long) nor healthy. As opposed to dining at a five-star restaurant, where the chef only allows you to choose from the three entrées on that day’s menu. In the latter case, you’ll find that you are served the perfect balance of nutrients, proteins, and flavors. The portions will also allow you to enjoy dessert without feeling bloated and obscene.
Too much choice is HARD. The Giannetti’s, from what it appears, could make selections from the world twice over. Yet they have the mastery of their vision to curate every piece and nuance of their property perfectly. Not too many carbs or treats on their plates. Just the perfect amount of everything!
creating soul in a home
Back to the actual book. What you’ll find through the text and incredible images, is the background on all of their intentional choices including resources! From Diamond Kote plaster walls, to too many to count varieties of roses, to an enclosure for both chickens and garden that has me counting the days until I can build one. The book reveals the why and how of the multifaceted decisions that go along the way to building a home with an old soul.
If you are planning on building a home or doing an extensive renovation, this book is an educational MUST READ! Regardless of your personal style, the thought process is the highlight. All the rest is sugar and spice that may or may not be your thing. For me, it’s amazing. If you’re a strict modernist, for example, you might not appreciate the Harry Potter-esque staircase. That’s okay. Still read it for the process and road map that the authors detail beautifully.
stylistically: a new appreciation for shabby-chic
Now don’t get crazy, here. Yes, I’m bringing in shabby-chic, which could possibly make the Giannetti’s blood boil when related to their stunning home. Yet, that’s where my mind wandered as I read. I’ll explain.
First, I’m not talking about shabby-chic as a (formerly) trendy style. While all of us are susceptible to the influence of trends, I believe in creating the foundation of neither your wardrobe nor your home on trends.
Second, I’m not talking about shabby-chic as over the top folksy or stuffed with tchotchkes just for the sake of filling space.
What came to my mind is the 10,000-foot view of shabby-chic. What I believe draws people to the style is the emphasis on history. When a piece of furniture is loved, it shows it off through the patina of time. Nicks, scrapes, and general wear and tear are signs of use and appreciation.
patina is history
The Giannetti’s share their skill at highlighting history through found and manufactured pieces. In Patine Farm we see that most of the history is earned honestly and not manufactured in a DIY’ers garage (although there are a few of those moments too). Yet I don’t think either the historical or DIY recreations lack merit. Why make judgments? Some of us simply don’t have the means to travel to Europe and ship back these artifacts. Some of us HAVE to find a way to create the look of history on our own with less than remarkable origins.
When it comes down to goals, both variations strive to create a home that speaks of time. One that’s not too precious and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Let there be the follies of the old English manor house in all of our lives. Just for the sake of fun and conversation, whether it be on five-acres in the Ojai valley or a suburb of Upstate New York.
History, beauty, comfort, elegance, amusement, and companionship. That’s what both the exquisite pages unfold in Patina Farm and what you might be trying to knockout over the weekend in your garage. Let’s love and appreciate both. Finding what unites us without getting too stuck on pedigree.
“Patina Farm is a master classMy words.
of the shabby-chic DIY projects
many of us love to tackle.”
No, I wouldn’t classify Patina Farm as “shabby-chic” so don’t be scared off by my thought process. It’s simply that I believe they have a similar objective albeit through a very different journey.
aging with intentional choices
I’m over fifty-years-old. I imagine a face tuck or a little botox here or there would probably serve me well. I don’t have my 20, 30, or even 40-year-old body anymore. Instead, I have some wrinkles and curves that share a bit of my life with everyone who sees me. They don’t need to be erased. They are my history, present, and future.
A home is the same. Some wear and tear are addressed with maintenance, while others are left to grow as they illustrate our memories.
Thank you for reading my thoughts on Steve and Brooke Giannetti’s book Patina Farms, with photographs by Lisa Romerein. If you want to enjoy more of my musings and creations, please subscribe to “Coming Unzipped” by entering your name and email below.
To see more of the Giannetti’s, visit their website, blog, and Instagram accounts.
- “Giannetti Home” Website (LINK)
- “Velvet & Linen” Blog (LINK)
- Giannetti Home Instagram (LINK)
- Brooke’s Instagram (LINK)
- Steve’s Instagram (LINK)
With gratitude for your generosity of time and mind, namaste!