I arrived in Chicago on April 13th, 1996 from my hometown in Adelaide, Australia. I remember landing at the O’Hare Airport. There were people everywhere and the weather was colder than what I was used to. The world just opened to me and I was about to embark on a very long walkabout.
I had a job with Motorola as a Sports Scientists and a part-time modeling career with Elite Model Management. I had an apartment in the vibrant area of Lincoln Park which was a great destination for networking (smart-phones didn’t exist in the 90’s). Chicago was where I met my wife, Katharine. Like most successful relationships, it was a “work in progress” because we were two young individuals trying to discover life together.
Katharine and me in Sydney, Australia a few years ago.
On one afternoon, I came to her apartment that she just moved into with two other guys and decided that her bedroom didn’t feel right. I wanted to surprise her with a makeover that changed the setting to a more inviting and cozier room. So, I organized the closets, hung artwork and mirrors, dusted, and cleaned. I was hoping to get bonus points after this!
I had a couple more hours before surprising Katharine and decided to walk down Clarke Street where there were some cool home décor stores. With little money that I had, I purchased new throw pillows, a table lamp, and an elegant tablecloth. There was something special about the pattern and soft tones of this tablecloth that got my attention. It was more than I wanted to pay for, but I knew I was about to make my girlfriend extremely happy. I wasn’t sure where to display this tablecloth, but it had to be the focus of the room.
There was a dresser that Katharine had moved around from boarding school, so it had a good amount of wear and tear. I decided that this was the spot to drape this soothing material. I then placed her perfumes, photo frames, and the new table lamp on top of the dresser. Suddenly, I created a cozy bedroom for someone new and special to me.
I wish I was able to capture her smile when Katharine walked into her bedroom. A room that was once an empty space with messy furniture and white walls just gained a soul. My intention was to give her a feeling of comfort and belonging which my family gave me in Adelaide. The tablecloth helped me speak without speaking. It was the gesture that connected two people that were once worlds apart.
I guess growing up with an Italian family in Adelaide taught me the values of relationships and traditions. To me, the tablecloth is the fabric that is spread on a table, so family and friends can rejoice together. It transforms a solid surface with color, patterns, and a texture that looks and feels welcoming.
This tablecloth created a bond between Katharine and me. It was the right solution to bridge two people together and helped spark a lot of fond memories. After Katharine’s bedroom makeover, she convinced me to go to interior design school which I did in the Spring of 1997 at the Harrington College of Design.
I am so grateful for that tablecloth. It was also the first time I trusted my interior design instincts which is everything in the world of interiors.
Happy Valentine’s Day Katharine.
Great table accessories from Bloomingville (above), Bloom & Give (below).