Italy: Design Leadership Summit, Inspiration & Hospitality

Inspiring artists and artisans. One of the best cuisines in the world. Historical landmarks that have been around for centuries... Yep, must be Italy. 

If you receive our monthly newsletter (you should!) or follow us on Instagram (@joystreetdesign), you’ll know that I took a trip to Rome and Florence in November. The trip was hosted by the Design Leadership Summit, but let’s be honest, I really went for the wine. And a cooking class. Okay, and design inspiration. 

This month, I’m taking you inside this international event, around these ancient cities, and giving you a sneak peek of something we have been working on for YEARS and will be launching in 2023…

Design Leadership Summit 2022

First, what’s a design event without the friends who join you? Having other American designers around is always a recipe for a laugh, and together, we enjoyed distinguished speakers and knowledgeable guides from the worlds of Italian design, culture, and hospitality. Being a peer and sharing the room with incredible designers that I’ve been personally studying for years was unbelievable.

Massimo Bottura was among one of my favorite speakers. Yes, you read that right. The famous chef. As one of the finest culinary artists in the world, he is turning his talent into philanthropy with real impact. By creating a Michelin Star Food Pantry solely with leftovers, he has accomplished his goal of cutting food waste and feeding the underprivileged. 

(As a side note, I’ve always believed that the best way to give back isn’t to volunteer for anything and everything. If you’re not a painter, why volunteer to paint? In my experience, the most meaningful and impactful way to give back is to give your unique gifts to the community. That’s what we do through Joy Street Initiative. How could your gifts be used for good?)

Discovering Fresh Inspiration in Florence & Rome

You can’t be in Rome and fail to see stunning architecture, design history, and ancient sites. And I mean that literally. Pick a street and you will eventually stumble across something incredible. I stayed near the Spanish Steps, which was perfectly located near iconic landmarks, like Villa Medici, Palazzo Colonna, and of course, the Colosseum — my personal favorite.

I also noticed a trend toward maximalism in all of the Italian interiors I saw. In the U.S. right now, most design styles lean toward minimalism, or at least simplicity. Who knows if this will change in the next decade. Trends are cyclical like that. (Like the high-waisted jeans and bell bottoms that seem to have come back lately…)

Of course, I couldn’t visit Italy without a trip to my favorite city: Florence! I will never tire of touring the Duomo. Whether you’re standing under it or far, far away, it has this ageless presence and beauty to it. It’s over 700 years old, and I can barely begin to imagine how something this colossal was created in those days. If you haven’t been to Florence, believe me, it’s worth it.

You also won’t be disappointed by the food…

I LOVED this rooftop cooking class I took in Florence. I tried to get a friend to join me, but she wasn’t into it. So here I am, cooking and drinking on my own (okay, there were other people there) and having the best time. The view wasn’t bad either.

Bringing the Vacation Feeling Home & An Announcement…

As you know, I’m a travel addict. I love escaping to new places. Trying new foods. Enjoying luxurious hotels and suites. To me, life is all about the experience. It’s why we design our clients’ homes for joy. It’s why I created a team that’s filled with character and life. It’s why…

…we’re launching our very own product line of elevated essentials!

Bet you didn’t see that coming. I’ve been sitting on this secret for a while (two years), but I think now is the moment. The Joy Street Home collection will finally launch this year, and I can’t wait for you to see it. We’re talking…

  • Bedding worthy of a luxurious resort
  • Linens that feel amazing on your skin
  • Accessories that dress up your home without it feeling like “stuff”
  • Everything you need for vacation-worthy restfulness and peace of mind

That’s all I’ll say about it for now, but over the next several months, I’ll be sharing more as we put on the finishing touches to get it ready for you. 

In the meantime, if you’re ready to infuse joy and comfort into your home with our team’s help, what are you waiting for? 


These might interest you too