Made in Sarasota

By staff November 1, 2001

About a year ago interior designer Christine Desiree realized she was having a hard time finding the perfect pieces of furniture for some clients. Within six months, her sleek, eye-catching furniture in woods, concrete and granite was at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. Today, her pieces grace showrooms in Dallas, Chicago and Fort Lauderdale, and she has clients as far away as in Egypt and Japan.

A Sarasota native and graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design, Desiree did a post-graduate stint with an American Indian and Japanese architectural firm in Colorado, where she fell in love with the svelte, whimsical style of Japanese furniture and interiors. She adapted that style when she moved to Sarasota and set up shop with husband Brian Snyder.

Inspiration for her own line comes from far and near. African woods are one passion; others are movies from the 1920s and '30s and books about Japanese culture. In her new-and aptly titled-"Sidewalk Series," Desiree turns the prosaic into the unexpected with chunky concrete pedestal tables. She's also working on a sand-blasted granite line.

"Design is all around us," Desiree says. "You just have to look for it. Ideas come to me in the middle of the night when I sleep."

Inspiration may be plentiful, but transforming it into attractive and comfortable pieces of furniture takes time, especially for a perfectionist like Desiree. She has about 2,000 designs on file but has deemed fewer than

30 good enough to prototype. Her collection is only available to interior designers and architects through showrooms, and it's aimed at luxury buyers. Her beard lounge chair, for example, costs about $10,000.

"I believe that if you love something so much, it just comes," Desiree says. "I want the whole world to sit in our furniture."

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