Jewelry designer Caroline Ventura’s beautiful West Village loft—located above her husband Michael’s design business, Sub Rosa, as well as their home furnishings store, Calliope—is a good reminder of the need for patience when it comes to finding, renovating, and decorating your space. Caroline and Michael lost several properties before acquiring this beautiful building (actually, two buildings connected by stairwells), then worked their way through a complete gut renovation, and waited close to two years before opening their retail shop. Now, it’s a dream—filled with beautiful light and an eclectic mix of furniture and objects from their travels—but it took a lot to get there! Hearing about their design process through our home tour and interview with Caroline was so interesting to me. I hope her stylish space and words inspire you too!
Rip & Tan: How did you come across this apartment? Did Calliope come first or second?
Caroline Ventura: My husband Michael and I had been looking for a space that could serve as a work/live space for both our design studios. We thought we had found the perfect spot but it ended up falling through and we were so bummed. The next day we just happened to walk by this dilapidated old building in the West Village that had a rental sign out front.
Calliope was the last piece of the puzzle in our building. First and foremost, we needed an office space for Michael’s design agency—they are on the second floor. We also needed a place to live, which was we designated the third floor for. We opened the store on the ground floor two years after we moved in, and we also have an adjacent gallery space that opened last year.
Rip & Tan: What type of rehab or DIY projects did you take on when you moved in?
CV: The building needed a full gut renovation. There was mold and asbestos in various parts and we really wanted to restore what the space looked like originally, so we tore down a lot of walls that had been put up, stripped the floors down to the original wood, and reinstated a lot of original materials and design elements. Our apartment was basically an empty space once it was gutted, so we were able to add in a small kitchen and bathroom downstairs. The loft where the bedroom is already existed and just needed a little structural work.
Rip & Tan: How would you describe the décor?
CV: I always have a hard time defining our decor. There are industrial elements; the shelving that is in our living room is from a French steel mill. There’s a little mid-century mixed in too. Mostly our place is a collection of things we pick up on our travels; rugs from a trip to Morocco, fabric from Japan, antiques we’ve bought on road trips. To us, our home is an always-evolving space that reflects the life we’ve lived and the places we gone.
Rip & Tan: What is your favorite corner or object in the apartment?
CV: The kitchen always gets the most traffic. It’s the place where friends gather and hang out, and, at the end of the day, I often sit at the counter to unwind.
Rip & Tan: How do you tend to entertain? Who comes over and what do you do for them?
CV: I love to have friends over for dinners. This is the first place I’ve lived that could actually have a proper dining table so we cook dinners on the weekends a lot.
Rip & Tan: Tell us about your vision for Calliope. What are you hoping to achieve with the store and what guides your buying process?
CV: I wanted a space that wasn’t intimidating to shop at. There are so many shops that are beautiful, but intimidating. Shopping should be something that is fun, and we encourage people to just come and hang out. It doesn’t have to be so serious all the time. We like to develop relationships with our customers and really try to create a cozy neighborhood atmosphere.
When we buy things for the store we only have one rule: only buy what we love. We want to fill the space with things we personally love and things that make us happy.
Rip & Tan: What wellness or beauty ritual do you cherish?
CV: Every night I try to take at least 10 minutes to myself before bed. I do a little facial massage after I wash my face, and that acts as a little meditation time too, and sort of preps my brain to begin to shut down for sleep.
This article was originally published on Rip and Tan on February 16, 2017.