Caroline Lizarraga of Caroline Lizarraga Decorative Paint
Caroline is a dear friend whom I have admired for years and feel blessed to have been able to work with. I recently had a fun exchange with Caroline and asked her some questions about her life, inspiration, and design projects.
How are you navigating your new life with your gorgeous "Peach" Rafaella, and your expanding business?
“Well, Navigate seems like an elegant word for just no sleeping! I am just giving all I have to Raffaella and my business. Luckily I am surrounded with amazing people who support me. My painting team is incredible. They are all stepping up in such an amazing way. And my family is super helpful. My son is constantly helping with The Peach and the business. He even ran to FEDEX the other night after dinner to overnight samples for a new hotel we are working on!”
Tell me a little bit about your background and education? I know you studied art restoration Italy. How did that education lead you into decorative painting?
“I actually first studied fashion design. I had a job as a buyer but I wasn’t sure it was going to be my end all. I always felt inside that I really had a purpose here and I was determined to find it. I always went to garage sales and flea markets on the weekend. I started buying furniture, but furniture that needed work and a transformation. I remember the first piece I bought, my mom saying that it was so ugly. I went home painted it chartreuse, hand painted magnolias, gold leafed the trim, and antiqued it. I mean I really had no idea what I was doing, but looking back it really wasn’t bad. I paid $20 for it and a designer that saw it offered me $1200...and there it began! I found a furniture restoration program in Florence, Italy and I moved. I then returned to San Francisco and apprenticed under a decorative painter for a few years before I went out on my own.”
Where do you find inspiration and ideas for all your fabulous finishes?
"I get inspiration everywhere. Fashion always, travel of course, nature, my friends, and other artists like Rothko, Cy Twombly, Dries Van Noten, and Alexander McQueen. It’s hard to not be inspired."
What's fresh and new that gets you the most excited about the future direction of interior design and decorative painting?
"Design is always changing and I love that. I have a hard time sitting still so it suits me. I think both you and I know as we advance in technology, the need for one of a kind and handmade has become even stronger. That makes me so happy to see craft and art going so strong. I feel so invested in doing things by hand."
We have worked together on several projects, which I have loved and am always inspired to work with you! What project was the most fun that you did for Found or my own personal home?
"Well it’s always such a joy to work with you and G. We basically love the same things so it’s very fun for me to paint my own taste. I would say the first thing we painted for you would have to be my favorite. We didn’t totally know each other yet, but I could see your look so clearly. We did your bar in 'Maja blue' with brass highlights in our agate finish. When we were done and all the accessories were in, I knew we were a match made in heaven."
During this challenging time, I know you have been very busy. Do you think the trend of people spending money on their homes and designing their spaces will continue as we move beyond Covid?
"Gosh, I have no idea what was going to happen with Covid. When everything started shutting down, I thought will we work again? That lasted about 5 minutes. I think some of our clients got worried that artists wouldn’t make it, so several of my clients literally went to their weekend homes, left me the keys and said, “Caroline can you do 5 rooms, whatever you want... just surprise us!”"
"I was so touched. I have always been busy but now it’s another level (the level where you wake up in the middle of the night stressing!!!). What I am seeing now as people get vaccinated, we will be back working all over the country again. We already have several projects booked on the east coast as soon as we are vaccinated. I think home decorating will be going strong for a while."
What was your most inspiring project?
"By far my most inspiring project was when we did Dita Von Teese’s house in Los Angeles...
"I already was such a huge fan, and when she called me, I almost fell off my chair! But the best part was that she trusted me, loved all our ideas, and let us do our thing..."
"We got to really push it because she obviously has very specific taste. It was a complete dream! She is truly the loveliest most beautiful soul."
What was your most challenging project?
"The most challenging was this year in the height of covid, and the elections. We had a project in Montana that had been in the works for 3 years. I had just had my baby, just a few months prior. My husband took paternity leave, and we drove with our 3 month old in a snowstorm to Montana. We arrived and it was 0 degrees! The job itself was so physically hard, but also everything was so behind. Let’s just say I am thrilled it is done and gorgeous now."
We are not able to travel as we wish right now and it is difficult for both of us because of our passion for travel, Where would you like most to travel and where have you traveled that you have found the most inspiration? Is the first place you will travel Italy!?
You have done many Decorator Showcase House rooms. What was the most fun of all the projects past and present that you have done for the Showcase House?
“Well, I do showcase only with the designers we work with constantly, and I consider dear friends. It’s really fun to see them design without perimeters and I always want to support what they want to achieve. I can’t really pick a favorite, I am just grateful that they include us.”
You know I love blues and greens, and have a custom 'Maja Blue' What is your favorite colors/color and are they also your favorite colors/color to work with?
“Well as a redhead, give me any green! Particularly chartreuse. We just made the most stunning color the other day, that is a deep yellow, with a touch of green. I am in love, hard. There is a joke that I spec orange like most people spec white. And it’s kind of true, it really can be neutral. Also we are having a major moment with Yves Klein Blue, that color takes my breath away.”
What is giving you hope, in the world of design, or otherwise?
“My son Sebastian and my daughter Raffaella! They are my everything. They are both flourishing in this challenging time, finding their paths. It really makes me so proud. But also my friends.”
"I know that Betty (Betty Lin, Mr. Lin) opened a store at the start of covid, which was designed by Eche Martinez and painted by you and your team! It is gorgeous!I love that it was born out of this time..."
"We all are working hard, believing in what we do, and putting only our best forward. We create our lives, and if you surround yourself with people that think and act this way, not only does it give me hope, but it inspires me and all the people around them! I am so grateful for all of this."
~Caroline has done some amazing work for us, from client projects to custom pieces. We have had her create a special wreath/malachite mirror for Children of Shelters, enhance a vintage chest, create a gorgeous custom screen, and paint an ethereal Redwood forest for our client's master bedroom wall. We adore working together and cannot wait for the next inspiration to do so again!~
In order to make sure I had plenty of new beautiful items coming to FOUND, I thought it was important to rush off for a last minute trip to my beloved Paris and was able to go see some of my favorite antique dealers and vendors. As we shelter in place now, I am ever more grateful for my time spent there, albeit brief!
As Team Found awaits with anticipation to share these items with all of you I thought it would be fun to give you a sneak peek of some of my favorite finds!
Father of the Sputnik style chandelier- this Gorgeous and rare Bakalowits chandelier is a masterpiece. Made of quality materials, its unique design delivers direct vertical light and radian light through the glass primis which sparkle from every angle. I want this for my own master bedroom if it doesn’t find a home!
A pair of Mid-Century Italian lounge chairs from the 1960s upholstered in the richest ivory Loro Piana boucle fabric. The chairs have gorgeous modern lines and chic heavy brass legs. Gorgeous as a statement duo in any space.
At FOUND, we are obsessed with many vintage things, one of them being Aldo Tura. I found this bar trolly in a rich modeled brown tone, which is rich and elegant. What a gorgeous way to serve your guests! Take a look at our chic green Aldo Tura bar trolly that arrive from Paris last month.
Italian designer Aldo Tura first began producing his iconic furniture in the 1930s in a workshop near Milan. Tura’s designs are a unique synthesis of mid-century aesthetics. Often employing idiosyncratic materials like parchment, eggshell, and, perhaps most remarkably, goatskin, as in this beautiful trolly. Each piece has a unique visual interest that cannot be found elsewhere.
A pair of vintage sputnik style sconces in brass each with 10 unique bubbled aventurine hand blown Venini glass globes that seem to shimmer and sparkle. I love these flush mounted on a ceiling or a wall!
I adore this beautiful and heavy weighted 3 tier brass bar cart by French designer Jaques Quinet for Maison Malabert, 1970. Perfect for serving your guest your signature cocktail.
A pair of crystal and brass table lamps also by Austrian designer Maison Bakalawits, 1970. These dazzling fountain shaped lamps have a wonderful femininity and bygone glamor. I love them paired in the same room with the gorgeous sputnik chandelier where they would be jewels on bedside tables!
While we are all spending more time at home, enjoying happy hour (which is every day in our house!) it is a perfect time to upgrade your bar game!
I designed the bar in our home around a solid wood bar with brass butterfly joints and riveted trim. Custom metal and brass shelves and cabinets house all of our vintage glassware and a vintage Cocktail sign that lights up was originally from a B-52s video!
I love to use vintage and antique pieces in the store and my home- and have a set of old Swedish barstools from the 70s that I recovered with a midnight navy leather seen in the photo above. For the store, we recently found a set of 3 Milo Baughman bar stools recovered in a deep emerald green velvet mohair and handles and foot cross bars wrapped with a camel leather reminiscent of the leather encased railings I had seen on a recent trip to Stockholm and fallen in love with!
6 of our must have pieces for your cocktail hour!
Jewel toned 1970s Ajka cut crystal whiskey glasses with a whimsical dot pattern. Adorn your bar and serve up a refreshing G&T with these beauties.
Champagne is my drink of choice and what better way to keep it chilled than in this vintage emerald green hand blown champagne bucket with clean modern lines and when it's not filled with Champagne fill it with your favorite blooms from the garden.
And place that beautiful emerald green ice bucket on this chic Aldo Tura hand-dyed and lacquered goatskin bar trolly in a rich modeled green. I can’t think of a better way to serve your guests.
A set of 4 whimsical cocktail napkins embroidered in emerald green on fine white linen by Walker Valentine. What a great way to ensure all your cocktail parties are filled with whimsy - it’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Customize your very own set, email contact@foundbymaja for details.
Chic Romeo Rega bar cart with a linear design, 1970s. Two glass shelves on a chrome structure that is inlaid with a brass detail. Filled with your best spirits, it's happy hour at home at any time of day.
Gorgeous alone, or filled with your best whisky or scotch, this Orrefors of Sweden cut crystal decanter brings a bit of glamor to the art of cocktail mixing.
Paris has my heart and I visit many times of year. We love to go for Maison & Objet and Deco-Off week in January to source fabulous pieces when vendors are showing their newest lines and trends, and antique dealers are well stocked for the surge of dealers and designers who fill the city. This year was particularly special given how the world quickly changed thereafter.
Some of my favorite new pieces are 2 Maison Jansen blue and brass collectible iconic pieces from the 1970s-- a gorgeous writing desk, and a versatile convertible console. I also adore a pair of to-die-for pink Mazzega sconces, and an incredible Aldo Tura bar cart
A trip to Paris is never complete without a visit to Marche Aux Puces with my favorite vendors- many of whom have become dear friends!
I also dine at Ma Cocotte when in the Marche Aux Puces- it is a must for lunch to dine amidst chic Parisiens having brunch and long lunches.
I prefer to get as lost as possible and wander down streets to just 'Find" and see what calls me- but some of my favorites that I go back to every time include:
La Tuile la Loupe- whose owner Eric is a charming gentleman and whose line of Provencal pottery I cherish and proudly carry.
The Bon Marche is the only department store to go to! Always a chic installation during Deco-Off week.
French pharmacy finds- I live in NUXE body oil spray and bring one back for all on my list!