Interiors designers Violante & Rochford have gone retail, right next door to their studio on Paseo de Peralta they have occupied for nine years.
Michael Violante and Paul Rochford display their interior design esthetic at The Store, their simple name for the space for the one-of-kind items picked up on their world travels.
There are fabrics, napkins, throws, scarves and runners from Guinea in west Africa; hand woven palm baskets from Mexico; and a set of hand-blown drinking glasses — all of slightly different height — from the small mom-and-pop company La Soufflerie in France.
Their signature touch is mixing contemporary items with antiques “for a little soul” in many of the interior designs they have done for homes in Santa Fe and across the country and overseas, Violante said.
The Store is set in a furnished eight-room, 2,200-square-foot 1906 Craftsman house. Contemporary and antique merchandise abound. Much of it is made by small family companies or individual artisans, with quite a bit from New England. Items such as soap covered with alpaca wool, crafted by the same Maine woman, and ceramic kitchen and tableware from Farmhouse Pottery in Vermont are on display.
“They are found pieces or artisans we find on our travels,” Rochford said.
The Store, at 401 Paseo de Peralta, opened in November, one year after the married couple leased the house.
“It took a year to get to open,” Rochford said. “It took that time to get the right pieces; we wanted to make sure you couldn’t get the pieces anywhere else in town.”
The online version of The Store went live in February.
“It was a huge amount of time photographing everything properly, writing descriptions, measuring it and weighing it,” Violante said.
About 120 items are available online, but eventually Violante and Rochford want to have all 480 items at The Store, except maybe the larger furniture, available online. The online business is fed by Violante & Rochford’s 17,300 Instagram followers along with 4,500 Facebook followers and 2,600 Twitter followers.
Violante & Rochford’s interior design work is mostly in play in Santa Fe’s historic district and in the Monte Sereno and Las Campanas neigborhoods. Their designs can aso be seen in places like New York, Texas and California — “We just finished a home in Carmel,” Rochfort said — and overseas, “We’re working on a home in Wengen, Switzerland,” Violante said.
Violante & Rochford have gotten high-profile media coverage in the Chicago Tribune, London’s Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph Home magazine, Flair, Modern Luxury Interiors Texas, HGTV and often in Santa Fean magazine.
The Wall Street Journal will photograph a Monte Sereno home with their interior touches at the end of March.
Rochfort is a native Santa Fean; Violante arrived in the City Different nearly 30 years ago from Minneapolis and is originally from Chicago.
The Store was a solution to the clutter building at their studio next door. “We were buying a lot anyway,” Rochford said. “We’ve been buying like we have a store for many years. We were warehousing it at the studio. This property became available about three years ago. We were not ready.”
A couple office tenants came and went over the next year and half, and by then the couple was ready to commit to a lease — if not opening The Store until a year later
The Crafstman house’s exterior — like the name The Store — is unassuming, easy to overlook on a drive by. The interior is early 20th century and upperwardly mobile.
“I want it to feel like a magical experience and totally unexpected,” Rochford said.