THE MAGIC OF BUILDING
our dream store in Florence
We discovered our new boutique in Florence less than a year ago, on August 7th, 2022. It was a memorable day as Megan's sister and her family were visiting. Taking our guests on a day trip to Firenze, we stumbled upon an enticing 'for rent' sign on the door of a charming space on Via Borgo Sant'Apostoli. The sight piqued our curiosity, prompting us to snap a photo and let our imaginations run wild.
By September 6th, we found ourselves revisiting the space. Despite some initial challenges, the boutique spoke to us, and our dream of opening a boutique in Florence began to take shape.
A significant milestone occurred on October 25th when we received an invitation to meet our potential new landlords, none other than the famous shoemaking Ferragamo Family, who happened to be our future neighbors. The meeting with the Ferragamo team marked a crucial step towards turning our dream into reality, and we embarked on the journey of leasing a space in Florence, filled with excitement and determination!
Naturally, before finalizing any arrangements, the Ferragamos required an interior architecture project. In November, Megan and Sebastian meticulously measured and recorded every dimension of the space, pouring their hearts into capturing its essence. Megan dedicated considerable time to drawing, designing, and refining a look that seamlessly blended the spirit of DelBrenna with the timeless beauty of Florence.
Megan drew a lot of inspiration from Sebastian's mom, Gianna, who had grown up near the Uffizi museum, and visions were filled with horse carriages trotting by and the sweet melodies of tenors serenading in the nearby piazza. As Christmas came and went, Megan's mom visited - from her Kansas farm, bringing an extra touch of joy and fulfillment to the season.
Finally, on December 30th, a beautiful Christmas gift arrived a few days late—the Ferragamo's approved Megan and Sebastian's project, and we officially signed the lease! It was a moment of celebration, with Megan's mom, Sebastian's twin brother, and his family joining us to share in the joyous occasion. As we basked in the realization that our dream was becoming a reality, we also understood that a challenging and laborious journey lay ahead.
With the arrival of the new year, we embraced the motto of 'out with the old, and in with the new!' On January 25th, 2023, the demolition began. We aimed to breathe new life into the old walls that held countless stories. However, unexpected obstacles arose. The fabled antique Italian terra cotta tile floors, hidden beneath layers, were found cemented with leveling agent. The walls showed cracks, and other floors were as uneven as the ocean floor. Undeterred, we pressed on, stripping away the layers to unveil the true inner beauty of the space. And when the demolition was finally completed, we celebrated with a beautiful walk through Florence, reveling in the bare original state of the old rooms and feeling a sense of awe and anticipation.
As Valentine's Day approached, a crucial curved element needed to be mounted and approved before stucco and painting could commence. Sebastian and his twin brother, Alessandro, dedicated themselves to bringing Megan's design to life. They carefully crafted the curvature into the wood. Sebastian and Megan transported it across the Santa Trinita bridge, passing by the Ponte Vecchio and the Ferragamo Museum. Once in place, the curvature enhanced the vaulted ceiling, infusing the space with a whimsical, almost musical note. It evoked visions of a garden gate, a noble palace wall, or a hint that there is always something more to dream about. The successful installation called for a celebration, and we indulged in panini in Piazza Signoria, savoring the taste of victory and the charm of Florence.
On February 9th, our attention turned to finding the newest addition to our chandelier collection for Florence. Megan had specific dimensions in mind, which posed a challenge. However, we found a trusted ally in Signora Milani from Monte San Savino. She possessed an antique chandelier structure that could be transformed to suit our vision. Each crystal needed to be strung anew, granting us the opportunity to design the chandelier that would grace the center of our boutique. In addition, Megan restored a beautiful mirror provided by Signora Milani, adding a touch of timeless elegance to our space.
The day before Valentine's Day, we immersed ourselves in the task of choosing the perfect paint colors. Guided by the expertise of Florence's most charming painter, we enjoyed a warm coffee and cream to ward off the frigid February cold. And then, inspiration struck. A natural golden-hued alabaster cream color emerged, exuding warmth and radiance, perfectly capturing the essence of our boutique. To add a touch of extra color and geometry, Megan devised the idea of tall painted door frames that would harmonize the space and elevate the entrances. The second color came to life by infusing a hint of our DelBrenna espresso color into the alabaster cream, resulting in a mellow painted frame that adorned each store opening, inviting visitors to step into a world of beauty and craftsmanship.
As March rapidly approached, it was time to lay our bespoke parquet floor. We chose oak, symbolizing longevity, strength, stability, and endurance. But we wanted something other than a regular oak floor. Each plank was imbued with color using an ancient dying technique that involved tobacco sourced from Tuscany. The result was a whimsical ensemble of matching and mismatching hues, ever-changing and evocative. The planks, reminiscent of theater stages and the nostalgic memories of summer front porches, aimed to envelop the space in a warm embrace, brimming with wonder and evoking a sense of timelessness.
March 17th marked a crucial milestone in our journey. Our chandelier was nearing completion in Monte San Savino under the skillful hands of Signora Milani. Simultaneously, another lighting idea was taking shape—the design of our unique appliqué. Megan envisioned a light fixture that would captivate attention and illuminate the one area with no natural light. Her design featured a heart shape and oak leaves cradling each lamp, symbolizing love, longevity, and passion. We found an artisan near Arezzo in Rigutino, a true master of his craft, who shared our enthusiasm for the design and dedicated himself to bringing it to life.
Finally, on March 25th, the long-awaited day arrived to transport the new chandelier to its new home in Firenze. Sebastian's twin brother, Alessandro, proved invaluable as we rented a van and carefully secured the exquisite piece for the journey. Once in Florence, we employed centuries-old techniques to carry it into our new atelier, meticulously hoisting it up to illuminate the vaulted ceilings with utmost care and attention. It was a moment of sheer beauty and satisfaction, seeing the chandelier take its rightful place, casting its dazzling glow upon the space.
Just two days later, we prepared to relocate the window displays. Crafted from corten-steel and glass, they were covered and ready to be transported. We took a moment to meet with Enrico, our trusted metalsmith who had been creating our displays since Megan designed them for our Showroom in Cortona back in 2012. Including the Florence shop, Enrico has now produced fifty slim and eight wide cases, with more bespoke creations on the horizon, poised to make future dreams come true. These cases serve as the catalyst where each and every jewel finds its new home, meticulously handmade with love, just like our jewelry. The icing on the cake was the installation of our new sign—the final testament to the fulfillment of our dream.
And just like that, April 1st arrived—the day we would see all the fixtures in the boutique and move a very special desk to Florence. The desk once belonged to Sebastian's aunt Susi, who had used it as the cash desk in her ceramics shop many years before. Sebastian's father, Massimo, joined us to lend a helping hand, and we carefully transported the desk to its new home together. Although the pieces were still slightly scattered: the display cases, the new appliqué, surveillance cameras, and the beloved cash desk were mostly in place. Another noteworthy item was the table from Sebastian's grandmother's country house, where he fondly recalled indulging in the most delicious Sunday lunches. Now, our team would gather around that same table for their lunch breaks, forging bonds and creating memories.
By April 5th, the first weekend of the month, Sebastian and Megan decided to visit the renowned antique fair in Arezzo. They hoped to find the finishing touches the shop still needed—a magnificent Cinderella mirror, a chandelier to illuminate the smaller second gallery, and a mannequin to elegantly display their longest chains. As they wandered through the fair, they were captivated by the array of treasures from the past. They carefully selected the mirror, chandelier, and mannequin, envisioning how each piece would enhance the charm and allure of their boutique. Later that afternoon, carrying their finds across the Santa Trinita bridge, passing by the Ponte Vecchio, and basking in the beauty of Florence, Megan, and Sebastian hung the new chandelier; Megan meticulously restored the mirror to its former glory, Seb spruced up the mannequin, and their long-awaited jewelry safe finally arrived, ensuring the security of their precious creations.
A couple of days later, on April 8th, most of the team assembled to assist with the final details. The point of sale had to be set up, and the displays needed to be perfectly illuminated. Sebastian's skilled parents assembled the lighting, a process that took weeks and involved creating jewelry-like arches inside of each display to hold the lighting elements to achieve the perfect ambiance. Hinges required calibration to ensure smooth swinging, locks were adjusted, and the glass received meticulous polishing. Additional touches of painting, electrical work, and hanging mirrors remained to be done, but the finish line was in sight. Meanwhile, back in Cortona, our team continued supporting the Florence opening by preparing shopping bags adorned with our signature touch and pricing additional pieces for display.
The next day sparkled with excitement. The jewelry, painstakingly crafted over the course of months with the dedication of soldering every link, arrived. Each piece was counted, stocked, tagged, and displayed with boundless love. New designs, including the dazzling Giglio Collection, were unveiled just before the boutique's opening. Merchandising efforts commenced, and undeniable magic was in the air as the last two chandeliers were illuminated, casting a radiant glow throughout the space. It was almost surreal that our dream was on the verge of becoming a reality.
And on April 10th, we flung open our doors to the streets of Firenze, ready to share our passion with the world. As the morning sun spilled into the boutique, we welcomed our first customers, inviting them to explore the carefully curated selection of jewelry that adorned the display cases. The city embraced us, and we felt a deep sense of gratitude for our incredible community, whose support and encouragement propelled us forward. The boutique is a haven of artistry and craftsmanship, where stories are shared, dreams are celebrated, and connections are forged.
Looking back on that journey, We are filled with awe and gratitude. From the moment we stumbled upon that 'for rent' sign on Borgo Sant'Apostoli to the day we opened our doors, every step was infused with passion, dedication, and love. Florence embraces us with open arms, and we embrace Florence's timeless beauty, weaving it into the fabric of our boutique. THE FLORENTINE (The news magazine for Florence lovers: Art, Culture, Food & Wine) issued an article about our new opening — you are welcome to read it here!
As we stand here amidst the architecture and the glimmering jewelry, we're reminded of the journey that brought us to this moment. It was a journey filled with challenges, perseverance, and the unwavering belief that dreams do come true. In this little corner of Florence, Megan and Sebastian's dream lives on, radiating its light for all who visit!
STEP INTO OUR BOUTIQUE...
and let us take you on a journey. Let the golden hues of the alabaster cream walls and the enchanting chandelier illuminate your path. Discover the exquisite pieces that tell stories of love, elegance, and timeless beauty. Feel the warmth of oak beneath your feet, connecting you to the strength and endurance of our craft. And as you leave, carrying a piece of DelBrenna with you, may you carry a piece of our dream and the spirit of Florence in your heart.
Welcome to our new store
in Florence—a warm embrace awaits!
BORGO SANT'APOSTOLI 45R
DelBrenna, where dreams become jewelry,
and jewelry becomes a part of your story.