Design Inspiration

Brigette Romanek’s “Gucci Meets Gap” Method Makes Every Room Feel Perfectly Lived-In

She explains it all in her new book.
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Living room through windows
Photography by Justin Coit

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In Bridgette Romanek’s new book, Livable Luxe, the designer to one-name-only stars (Gwyneth and Beyoncé, for example) reveals the stories behind the homes she’s created, even her own. But early on, she explains one of her go-to decorating methods, which she calls “Gucci meets Gap.” In this excerpt, Romanek puts it in her own words.

I love walking into a store and getting that feeling in my bones that I’m going to find something great. An unusual piece or two that I’ll fall in love with. The piece that speaks to me.You’re probably picturing me in the vintage shops in Paris, London, or Italy, and that is very likely. But it’s just as likely that I’ll find that piece in the $10 shops in downtown Los Angeles or driving through a small town.

Dining room with wall of plates
Photography by Yoshihiro Makino

If I had a house with all “precious” items (that’s code for expensive), I would be worried all the time. Worried that something would be spilled on the fabric or something would break. I never want to live that way. I want to enjoy every space—of course visually but also in comfortability.

I call it my Gucci meets Gap approach.

Let me explain.

My living room is where my kids have skateboarded, played tag, had parties, chased our dogs, our dogs chased them back, etc. All true.

I loved that that was happening in the house. I never shouted for them to stop. I shouted to tell them to go faster. 

White living room with tan chairs
Photography by Douglas Friedman

My living room is one of my happy places. What looks to be the most valuable could be from thrift shops or something I stole from a family member’s basement that they didn’t care about anymore.

One of my favorite things in my living room is my white coffee table, where there are many small Chinese vases resting on top. And I’ll throw tall flowers in a few of the vases for even more of a statement. Looks like a million bucks, but between you and me, the most expensive vase is about $10. So a total of about $180. And yes, a vase was broken by a ball being thrown for Rufus, but it wasn’t a big deal. I have reserves in one of my kitchen cabinets.

Now I do have some lavish pieces. Pieces I’ve saved for! But I still want people to enjoy them. The high-low mix—the Gucci meets Gap—is my jam.

“Livable Luxe” by Brigette Romanek, Amazon

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Julie Vadnal

Deputy Editor

Julie Vadnal is the deputy editor of Domino. She edits and writes stories about shopping for new and vintage furniture, covers new products (and the tastemakers who love them), and tours the homes of cool creatives. She lives in Brooklyn.