Home & Garden

Expanding and streamlining

Fortini has brought its custom design services to the forefront of the business, including its expanded cabinetry offerings.
Fortini has brought its custom design services to the forefront of the business, including its expanded cabinetry offerings.

After seven years in business, San Luis Obispo’s Fortini Home Garden Design is revamping its showroom — and identity.

Best known for its furniture and home décor, Fortini also offers full-service interior and landscape design, as well as custom cabinetry.

“So much that we do is behind the scenes,” said Marisa Fortini, who owns the business with husband Ryan Fortini and motherin-law Anne Fortini. “We wanted to bring it all out onto the showroom floor and really highlight it.”

Partly spurred on by a slower economy, Fortini has dramatically reduced its retail space to 1,500 square feet from 4,500. The freed-up space is now dedicated to the other three-quarters of the Fortini equation.

“Our business is very much design driven,” said Marisa, “So we have decided to make that our main focus, while still having an inviting retail space that showcases what we’re all about.”

Both Anne, who is the interior designer, and Ryan, who handles landscape design, previously worked in offices tucked out of sight. Their offices are now part of the main showroom, accessible to all.

"We want people to travel through the store, make their way back and be able to talk to all of us,” said Marisa.

The new office setup also allows Fortini to show case some of its furniture lines. Anne’s design studio includes office furniture and a seating area. Ryan’s office shows off part of their outdoor furniture line.

Fortini has expanded its cabinetry business, which is overseen by designer Jan Kepler. It has recently added a contemporary line, allowing it to offer custom cabinetry in a range of styles and price points.

There is still an outdoor display area with outdoor furniture, garden accents, pottery and plants. The indoor showroom features a pared-down inventory that will flow with the seasons. For instance, when the holidays roll around, it will shift toward gifts and holiday decorations.

“We won’t have the tchotchkes and nooks and crannies,” said Marisa. “It will be more streamlined and focused.”

Antique pieces are a new addition to Fortini. It has partnered with a buyer who seeks out unusual finds from auctions and sales. Recent offerings included a 1910 marble urn and tile garden plaques from the 1700s.

As always, the décor remains eclectic — another element of the store’s identity that has sometimes been misunderstood.

“People always think that we sell Italian pieces because of our name, but we have never gone with one look,” said Marisa. “We like to take a bunch of different styles and make them work together.”

For bargain hunters, Fortini is still clearing out old inventory. Currently, it has pieces priced at 50 percent to 60 percent off, including dining furniture, upholstered furniture, accent tables, pillows and books.

Fortini Home Garden Design is at 3021 S. Higuera St. in San Luis Obispo, 542-0500.

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