In early May, the Italian-born interior designer Alessandra Branca will open a 2,900-square-foot concept shop dedicated to her “classic, with a wink” aesthetic—but it won’t be just any storefront. Branca has remodeled a townhouse and created vignettes that showcase furniture and home accents in the rooms where they belong. The dining area features furniture and table décor, the library is filled with vintage books and stationery, and the bedroom comes stocked with sheets and linens. “A home is not just a space, it’s a story; it’s a person,” says the 49-year-old designer, who previously ran a small retail space adjacent to her studio at 1325 North State Parkway.
True to her signature mix-and-match style, the merchandise runs the gamut from $20 gift items to $20,000 furniture. Antique and vintage furniture ranges from the 17th century to the 1940s, and even new pieces get a twist with recycled fabric. Nearly everything is one of a kind: Branca regularly shops in Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, India, and South Africa, and this past winter alone she logged 60,000 miles. Accessories include the fabric and linen collection of Vogue Living’s style editor, Carolina Irving, and Branca’s own private-label glassware, plates, and cashmere throws. “I’m a mixed mistress,” she says with a laugh. “You could buy a wonderful Restoration Hardware sofa and come to us to buy a pair of chairs and pillows and build on it. My intent is to liberate people so they can do their own home.” 17 E. Pearson St.; 312-787-1017.
Photography: Salena Salfen