Designer Elena Calabrese began her career in the fashion industry, something that’s breathtakingly apparent in her interiors. Blending luxe, fashion-forward materials with thoughtful layouts… her spaces exude the glamorous California comfort that we’ve grown to love. Both sophisticated and fun all at once, we knew to expect great things when we heard she was participating in the 2015 Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse. Tasked with transforming the dining room, Elena created a beautiful, unexpected space that we’ll be obsessing over for months to come:
The space is gorgeous! What can you tell us about it?
Thank you so much! I created this space for the 2015 Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse. When designing for the client, a bachelor and winemaker based in Napa, it was important that we create a masculine space that is luxurious yet stays true to Napa Valley’s relaxed, Californian vibe.
What was your vision for the dining room?
Due to the dining room’s location–nestled in between the living area and the kitchen–we really wanted it to flow with the adjacent spaces and have interest value and depth, as conveyed through the one-of-a-kind wall treatment. Combining luxury, Napa Valley, and masculine sensibilities, we designed a dining room perfect for entertaining and enjoying a bottle of the region’s spectacular wine.
There are a lot of super luxurious materials, but it still feels quite sophisticated. How did you bring in so many textures without it going overboard?
We layered luxe materials with earthy, organic elements for balanced look. While the metallic plastered shimmer walls and crocodile print glass are very luxurious, when combined with a masculine hide rug, dark trim, and a strong statement chandelier, the room feels grounded and reflects the natural beauty of the Napa Valley.
It’s all stunning… from the walls to the furniture! We’d love to know more about the pieces you brought in.
I collaborated with decorative artist Caroline Lizarraga to design the wall and cabinet back treatments. Providing her with the initial concept and inspiration, Caroline developed the shimmer plaster with Modern Masters. A big fan of vintage furnishings, I selected a set of Milo Baughman Chromcraft dining chairs and upholstered them in my favorite French blue ombre velvet. The cabinetry highlights statement natural luxe Ochre horn pulls and the McGuire Laura Kirar aged oak table grounds the room. Two of my favorite touches are the Avrett Oeuf Pendant from Hewn X and the statement diamond artwork by San Francisco multi-media artist Danielle Mourning.
You made the transition from fashion to interiors. What prompted the change?
After I remodeled a home and had a baby, I realized how I wanted to spend the rest of my working life, so I returned to school and started my design business. With a Fashion Designer as a mother and a builder for a father, the transition was natural for me and now seems inevitable. I originally studied at CCA under their jewelry and sculpture program, which gave me a really good Fine Arts base. As an accessory designer for the fashion industry you have to tell a story, so I’ve translated my creative storytelling to interiors.
What are your top tips for bringing fashion into your home decor?
While statement furnishings should be classic, accessories such as pillows and artwork are a great way to play with trendier pieces. Fashion is constantly changing and based on trends, which is fun, but you have to be careful not to create an interior that will look dated in a few years.