By TIM McKEOUGH
Published: February 13, 2013
FOR MOST OF US, Valentine’s Day is a good excuse for an extra splash of red, even if it’s just a bunch of roses or a heart-shaped box of chocolates. But for those who really love red, like Alessandra Branca, there’s no need for an excuse, today or any other day.
In many of the interiors Ms. Branca designs, red is the accent color of choice, brightening up rooms grounded in black and white. “Red is that moment of exuberance,” she said. “It’s energy. It’s visual enthusiasm.”
Ms. Branca, 54, who grew up in Rome and runs a business in Chicago, has four homes, in Chicago, New York, Rome and the Bahamas. And “each one of them has red in different ways,” she said. But never in an overwhelming way.
When you add red to a room, she explained, it’s like using a spice —meaning it should be used in moderation. “When you cook, you’re careful to use things in their proper measure,” she said. “Red is no different.”
Shopping for red accessories in Manhattan, Ms. Branca began at Creel and Gow, a boutique on the Upper East Side filled with curious pieces inspired by the natural world (or taken directly from it). Among her favorites was a pair of coral-shaped glass candlesticks. With their orangy-red color, she said, “they’d look great against a background of driftwood or concrete.”
Farther north, she admired the decorative objects at De Vera, snapping photos with her smartphone as she went. When she spotted 18th-century prints of insects by Franz Panzer, framed with letterpress cards with a fanciful red border, she had to have them. “It’s a Valentine you can keep forever,” she said, buying some for her husband and children.
At Barneys New York, she loved the shape — and the red glass handle —of the Dandy glass pitcher by Nason Moretti. At $285, it cost more than everyday glassware, she said, but “sometimes you do need to hold something special.”
Online, Ms. Branca found a more affordable way of bringing red into a room: Cross Dye baskets made from woven sea grass, for about $5 to $7 each from West Elm.
“They’re great for storage,” she said, adding that she had already ordered a few for herself. “I’m going to put my floor plans in them.”
She also fell for the retro appeal of the brilliant red Smeg refrigerator carried by West Elm. Such a large red appliance, she admitted, would be anything but a subtle addition to a kitchen.
Still, it was hard to resist such a strong blast of red. “It’s in your face,” she said.
Read the full New York Times article to see her great picks!
Shopping with Alessandra Branca
Can't get enough red? Check out The Scoop for Alessandra's Blog and tips on using the color.
5 Simple Ways to Use Red in Your Home