I wanted to bring in something celebratory into the room, so I brought in some of the outside parts of Little Italy into the inside dining room. I created a street park vignette and I strung the ceiling with large café lights much like the lights that span across the actual streets of Little Italy. The neon signs added a bit of WOW texture into the room and I replaced Rocco’s curtains with large silk bold striped panels. I placed the table on an old rich patterned rug, which to me screamed “home.” I worked very closely with the brilliant lighting department on the show to make sure that the dining room had an amber glow, which created a warm ambiance. Overall I felt that the room had an awesome amount of nostalgic elements that worked in a harmonious way…. Caroline Manzo specifically stated that she felt like she was in her grandmother’s kitchen and that the room reminded her of her courtship days with Albert. Now we’re cooking with décor gas! On to FABRIZIO!!
Fabrizio was very clear about the environment he wanted to create for Rocco’s terrace dining room. There was definitely a language barrier there, but we worked it out. It seemed clear to me that Fabrizio was a natural born chef, especially when it comes to Italian food for sure.
He was very adamant about wanting to create an outdoor sharing experience, so naturally his choice of the terrace was a smart one. I am not sure if his design motifs would have worked as well in the other dining rooms.
In order to bring the outdoors in, I placed the table on a faux grass rug and added a ton of real herb plants: rosemary, French lavender, basil plants, etc. I wanted to beef up the existing trellis by adding a ton of grape clusters and naturally dried Tuscan roses with grapevines and ivy accents. Fabrizio is all about the food, so I accented the room with displays of fresh vegetables on a beautiful old wooden side board.
I thought both rooms were great, but I especially liked the little italy room. I loved the old italian family photos on the walls and the lighting. Rocco seemed to bag on that room a little which was kind of annoying - does he get nice at some point this show? ALL the other guests seemed to really like this room and the food better...not sure why Ninamaria didn't win.