Vanilla to Vibrant

Set within Houston’s inner loop near Memorial Park lies a charming Tuscan village of 4 story, white stucco villas complete with red tile roofs.  Caceres is the neighborhood, a gated community bounded by River Oaks and Rice Military, where visions of the Italian countryside come to mind.  Think small villages in Tuscany and when you arrive you feel like you have been transported, without the hassles of a long and tedious air flight.

For international attorney Mr. Nick Evanoff, the transformation of his home in Caceres began when the living and dining areas on the second floor were completely furnished.  But the walls were a blank slate awaiting the artistic eye of international landscape photographer/artist, Donna Carnahan, to curate from her large selection of electronic images that would bring vibrancy to Nick’s living space.  Since Covid, he also spends many of his work days in his home office.

That opportunity came on a Saturday afternoon in September 2021 when Nick stumbled into La Donna Foto’s studio at Sawyer Yards artist complex and was immediately struck by a stunning visual landscape of a Tuscan vineyard in the wintertime. The pentatych on canvas, entitled “Winter Tuscan Vineyard,” was created on canvas and cut into 5 pieces to create a striking visual effect.  The piece, in fact, had been chosen by Ms. Shana Nys Dambrot, LA Weekly art editor, for the 37th Juried Membership Exhibition of Visual Arts Alliance.  That was the first limited edition work of art Nick collected, perfectly fitting in the niche above the granite countertop, adjacent to his newly acquired travertine Italian marble dining table. 

Subsequently, Nick and Donna discovered their mutual love for all things Italian and became friends, sharing stories of European trips to Florence and Cinque Terre in Italy.  The friendship evolved and Nick knew he wanted to have some custom pieces.  Nick discovered that Donna’s photographic eye very much captured his own visual recollections of his time in Italy, particularly a photograph of the Florence cityscape from Piazza del Michelangelo, featuring the Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo, among other famous landmarks.  Nick and Donna collaborated to reproduce the photograph as a triptych, or three canvases, matching his own fond memory. 

Donna’s images of the Cinque Terre, on the northwest coast of Italy along the beautiful Italian Riviera, also caught Nick’s attention as they mirrored his memories of how the villages were built, tucked away in the cliffside hills, making it difficult for pirates to raid the homes in the 1300s.  Donna created a large piece featuring one of the Cinque Terre villages that now resides on the third floor at the top of the landing.  In addition, scenes of Florence and smaller images of a vegetable market and Tuscan vineyard in autumn with vibrant blues and yellows, completed the transformation of the second and third floor living space, with beautiful Italian landscape visuals that complement the interior style of Nick’s home and office. 

Donna collaborated with Nick on his interior design, taking it from vanilla to vibrant, just in time to share his masterpiece home over the Christmas holidays.  Friends and family rang in the New Year surrounded by Italian landscape canvases by La Donna Foto.

The installation of each carefully selected piece complemented the size of the wall space.  Hanging each piece at eye level placed the center at 60 inches from the floor.  Together with tape measure, pencil, hammer, nails and hooks, each piece was perfectly measured for the most esthetically pleasing visual representation for Nick’s second floor living room, dining area, kitchen, guest bathroom, and staircase leading up the third floor hallway. The collaboration was natural and easy, aided by a similar esthetic, mutual affinity for Italy and an Aperol Spritz or two!

By private appointment only, in person or Zoom, contact:

Donna Carnahan

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