One of the things that has brought comfort during these trying times and getting an inside look at Patina Farm, the Ojai, California home of designers Brooke & Steve Giannetti. Brooke has shared so many wonderful videos (via Instagram) sharing about her daily life which includes looking after the animals who call Patina Farm home.
The Giannetti’s work has been featured in notable publications such as Veranda and Romantic Homes. The interior designer and architect have also published four books Patina Style, Patina Living, Patina Farm, and the recently released Patina Homes that features 12 of the homes that Steven Gianetti designed and their interiors that were a collaborative project with wife Brooke and various interior designers.
In this interview Brooke shares about the design style throughout her Patina Farm home, a few of the most treasured finds she made during the design process, a typical day looking after the animals who all Patina Farm along with the two newest residents, Ruby and Otis.
For those unfamiliar with Patina Farm, when did you first find the property, and was it the first spot you looked at?
We found our property about 10 years ago. Steve was working on a project in Ojai and we fell in love with this charming small town. Ojai is a community made up of many artistic people who have an appreciation for natural beauty. It’s also only 1 1/2 hours North of our design projects in Los Angeles, so we can still live a nature-centered lifestyle while still being close enough to do site visits.
How would you describe your personal design style throughout the home?
The architectural design of our home is inspired by the Mediterranean and farm-style architecture prevalent in Ojai. We combined a cleaner version of these two styles as the basis for the design of our home, while also infusing our home with a modern sense of space. Because we live in a very moderate climate, our home is designed to allow the indoor and outdoor spaces to flow together. We see our gardens as an extension of our home.
We filled our home with upholstered furniture pieces that we designed to pair beautifully with the antiques we love. We also include unique décor that reflects our personal history, like the plaster ornament from Steve’s family’s plaster studio as well as large-scale photographs of our animals and Steve’s artwork. We describe our design philosophy in our first book, Patina Style. In this book, we explain that we embrace the imperfections of natural materials that occur as they are used. We believe antiques add their own story to our home, and we layer our story to these pieces as we use them. We also describe how we combine rustic and refined elements (velvets and linens, modern sheets of glass, and antique architectural elements) to achieve a beautiful design balance.
What is one of the most treasured finds that are either a part of the home itself or part of the interior décor?
It’s hard to choose just one! I love all of the antique architectural elements we used in the design of our home. During a visit to Belgium before we built our home, we found two limestone quatrefoils. We bought them and ultimately placed them on the walls of our home: one above our kitchen stove and the other above our tapestry that covers our television in our living room. They are beautiful focal points in the space.
Tell me about a typical day at Patina Farm.
Our days start early! Steve usually wakes up around 3:30 to start drawing. He finds the early hours to be most productive. I wake up at 4:30 and start preparing our animals’ breakfast. We first begin feeding the animals that live in the lower area of our farm … opening up the chicken coop to let our ladies free-range, letting Bonnie and Clyde, our cats that sleep in the coop, free to roam, feeding and grooming our four mini donkeys, Daisy, Buttercup, Blossom, and Huckleberry, and our four Highland heifers, Beatrice, Clementine, Adelaide, and Annabel. Then we head back up to feed our animals that sleep in our barn: our Pygmy goats, Thelma, Dot, Sam and Ida, our Babydoll sheep, Linen, Paisley, and Cashmere, and our Potbelly pigs, Alice Rue, Henry James, and Prudence. Feeding takes about two hours. It’s usually around 8:30 or 9:00 by the time we are done with feeding and cleaning our animals and ourselves! Kerri and Dan help around the farm and also help us with our online store, GiannettiHome.com They are in charge of afternoon feeding and cleaning during the week, which gives us time to focus on our design work.
At sundown, we close everyone up to make sure they are safe from night-time predators. We are in bed early, usually passing by 9 pm, or maybe a little earlier.
One of my favorite things to do is watch your Instagram videos and catch up with how the animals at Patina Farm are doing. What do you enjoy the most about creating videos for your followers on Instagram?
I’m so glad you enjoy our videos! I started creating videos about our life on Patina Farm because I wanted to share the calm and peace our nature-centered days have brought to our life. Especially during these stressful times, sharing our animal and garden videos is a way for me to bring a sense of calm and beauty to other people’s lives. Leila, our daughter, now helps with the videos. It’s a joy to be able to work with her while making other people happy.
Your newest additions are two of the cutest puppies. How are Ruby and Otis settling in?
Our new Shih Tzu puppies, Ruby and Otis are pure love! They just want to make everyone feel better and bring joy. They seem to instinctively know that’s their job, and they are very good at it.
This year you’ve started a new clothing line in collaboration with your son Charlie. What was the best part about working on this project with your son?
I was so excited when Charlie decided to create Giannetti Factory, his clothing factory in Los Angeles. Before we began our design collaboration, I had a difficult time finding pretty, comfortable, easy-to-wear clothing that I could wear both on the farm and in Los Angeles. I love the linen, cashmere, and velvet pieces we’ve created together. Charlie is so creative and knowledgeable about clothing construction as well as fabrics. He is a dream collaborator. As a mother, it is also an amazing opportunity to support Charlie in what he loves to do.
Last month you released your latest book, Patina Homes. When working together on a book project what do you enjoy the most about the process of creating a new book and sharing an inside look into the homes you’ve working on together?
In our previous book, Patina Farm, we were able to explain how we intentionally designed our home, Patina Farm, to allow us to live our dream life. In our latest book, Patina Homes, we are excited to share how we used these same intentional design principles to create our clients’ dream homes. We really enjoyed looking at all the beautiful photography by Lisa Romerein of our projects and reminiscing about the collaborative process of turning the stories and dreams our clients share with us into reality.
In addition to the new book, you’ve added a studio at Patina Farm. Now that you will be working out of your studio versus a storefront, will this change how you interact with your clients?
Although we used to have a storefront and design studio in Santa Barbara, Steve and I have always preferred working from home. During the past year, our design associates have also discovered that there are many benefits to working from home. We are still able to collaborate with our design team and our clients via zoom as well as visits to our homes and to job sites. In many ways, our design process has become easier and more streamlined. We find our clients enjoy visiting our home and seeing design details in person. Zoom calls are also very productive since everyone is able to look at the drawings on their own computer screen rather than having to look over our shoulders.
When you first started building your home and welcoming your animals to their forever home, could you have imagined Patina Farm would become what it is today?
Our dream has definitely evolved and built on itself over time, which has allowed all of us (including our animals) to not get too overwhelmed with too many big changes at once. I’m pretty sure we’ll never be done adding new features to our property.
What is your greatest hope for 2021?
Steve and I hope to be able to create a stronger, deeper connection with our online community by offering longer video content on our Giannetti Home website and to create a place where our community can have a dialogue about a variety of topics including all types of design, gardening, cooking, beauty, health, and wellness. We also love the idea of offering small group visits to Patina Farm, and of course, we want to continue helping our clients through the design and building process to create properties that allow them to be fully present in their life.