HOME in five with Valeria Carbonaro-Laws

Valeria Carbonaro-Laws is the owner and director of Studio Italia, and the unofficial matriarch of Italian design in New Zealand. We caught up with Valeria to see how she’s been spending her time away from the showroom. 

HOME: What’s the best part of your view from home?

Valeria Carbonaro-Laws: I just love the northeast corner of my deck where I have my favourite design from Patricia Urquiola, the Calla armchair, it makes such a statement but at the same time fits perfectly with the landscape. I also like how our new seal pet from our friend Ben Foster, “Foca” (Italian name for Seal), sits so nicely next to the chair.

I love the bright colours against the plants and the black fence. It’s a gorgeous spot in the sun for a cup of coffee in the morning.

H: What are you reading?

VC-L: Oh – I am doing lots of it at the moment… My Favourite Escape… right now, the only one!!

I still read in Italian as I find it easier and helps me remember my mother tongue.

I am a bit slow when I read in English but a couple of years ago, I discovered audiobooks and I am just loving them. I can go through so many more books now… I am listening to “ The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne, It’s a fantastic read, totally recommend it.


H: What are you watching?

VC-L: I am watching the present I gave my husband at the end of July for his latest birthday… a brand new Vespa Picnic which includes a basket for your food and wine and the blanket…I love it so much, it reminds me of my youth at home. I can’t wait for summer now!

But if you mean on television then I have been watching every minute of the US Tennis Open. It’s the silver lining of being in lockdown for me. I can watch the night games and I don’t care if it gets very late.

But as a family, we often watch movies or a series together. We’re only a family of three (four if you consider our little dog) so it’s nice not to lose ourselves in different corners of the house. We just finished Mrs America which was very inspiring. The series details the political movement to pass the equal rights amendment in the US. An interesting arm-wrestle between conservative Phyllis Schlafly and the feminist Gloria Steinem of the 70s.

H: What are you cooking and/or baking?

VC-L: Oh well on this front I am pretty hopeless. I might be the only Italian woman that can’t and doesn’t like cooking. But I have been the luckiest person because my daughter (who just turned 17) loves cooking and she does such an amazing job. She creates so many different dishes/baking and delicious salads that really make me feel like I am at a restaurant every night!

I am a supportive mum so if she enjoys it so much, I really don’t want to take it away from her!

H: What’s inspiring you right now?

VC-L: The lockdown itself is kind of inspiring me. I hate it and love it at the same time. When it’s getting hard and challenging, I need to dig deep and find a way to make myself happy and sane again. It’s a great way to learn resilience.

When I feel happy it makes me very motivated and I do all the things that I have been wanting to do but I never had time for. It’s also giving me time to think of the future and what the next step is. It’s exciting…

Discover what our friends are up to in lockdown in our HOME in five series.

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