By Jordan Houston
Unlike many businesses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Paris-Milan Home founder Nathalie Chianura saw a boost in sales.
Boasting more 29 years of experience in high-end European furniture, the French native opened the Paris-Milan Home luxury showroom, located at 15551 N. Greenway Hayden Loop, Suite A110, at the beginning of 2019. She has since made waves in the Scottsdale interior design market, offering contemporary furniture with European flair from Italian and French designers.
Chianura attributes her recent success to the number of people now working from home. Pandemic-spending research shows people who spent more time indoors invested more in their spaces by redecorating for comfort, organization and aesthetics.
“I consider this like my child; I am proud,” Chianura says of the European contemporary furniture store.
Paris-Milan Home offers living room, bedroom and office furniture; lighting; accessories; rugs; home décor; and interior design and home consultation services. With a 3,000-square-foot showroom brimming with timeless furniture pieces, the collection seeks to reflect the “modern world while staying true to the traditions of European craftsmanship.”
“It’s timeless contemporary,” Chianura says. “My objective is to find during my visits in the Milan fair and Maison et object in Paris things you don’t see everywhere. It’s where you see all of the new designs — and Europe is the best way to go.”
Chianura, born to a French mother and Italian father, says her taste is heavily inspired by her European roots. The caliber of her products reflects “the savoir-faire of artisans and designers working together,” according to the store website.
“I think Scottsdale will go more toward contemporary,” Chianura says. “You can see the construction is more contemporary, but we are not there yet.”
‘Calm on color’
European contemporary design flaunts clean lines and modern-yet-comfortable furnishings. The style caters toward making a house a purposeful home, Chianura explains.
She says two quotes accurately represent her aesthetic: “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication,” by Leonardo Da Vince, and “An interior is the natural projection of the soul,” from Coco Chanel.
The founder, who frequents Italy and France for inspiration, curates her selection to blend Italian contemporary design with French classic influences. Noble materials such as brass, marble, Murano glass, leather and high-end fabrics are common staples in Paris-Milan Home. The use of upholstered leather and fabric furniture is also “inspired by artist’s desire to create the finest products,” the store’s site continues.
“It’s classic, elegant,” Chianura says. “I think we have a lot of protocol in France, where you need to sit (like this) and present a nice way to be in society. My design reflects that — elegance is No. 1.”
Roughly 90% of Paris-Milan’s products stem from Italian factories, the founder shares. The rest hails from France, Slovakia, the Netherlands and Spain.
While the showroom pushes the envelope for contemporary home furnishings through design and materials, it is Chianura’s personal touch that curates its timeless appeal.
“It’s important when you come into my showroom everything is connected — I have a problem with color,” she says, explaining she prefers a “calm” color palette of black, white and neutral tones with pops of color.
But there is more to Paris-Milan’s products than meets the eye.
Not only are the pieces tasteful and timeless, they are functional as well.
“I like the functionality; a sofa needs to be comfortable,” Chianura says. “I will never sell a seat without my customer then trying it out, just as I will not buy my new collection having tried it out and therefore responding to my customer’s request.”
Chianura’s design studio also “imagines, designs and creates dream interiors,” according to the store’s website.
She works with her clients throughout all stages of the design process, from the choice of furnishing style and items to the selection of renovation materials.
Artistic at heart
Growing up in Lille in northern France, Chianura says she was always artistic.
“I was artistic. I liked to do painting and drawing,” she says. “I was very good at school drawing classes, but I wanted to be a businesswoman from a very early age.”
“My mom all the time said to me she knows I have a strong personality, and I was working hard at a very early age,” Chianura adds. “I started to do little jobs. At 13, I worked in the bakery, I worked in the clothes store — it was this feeling of connecting with people through communication.”
Chianura spent a year in the U.S. through an exchange program.
Although she initially landed in Boston, Chianura moved to Scottsdale in 1992 to work as an au pair.
She returned to France after the exchange year and obtained a business degree from the University of Business of Bordeaux. Chianura went on to work with a French furniture chain with 250 stores around the world, specializing in contemporary pieces from international designers, in her hometown.
The artist spent several years working in the design world between Lille and Paris.
“To visit family every summer here, I could see Scottsdale grow,” Chianura says. “Since the beginning, I said I would come back and I will be an entrepreneur and I will have my business here. It took me 13 years”
Chianura in 2005 tackled another milestone in her career, accepting an interior designer position at one of the most famous avenues in Paris – Avenue Montaigne.
Historically known haute couture brands such as Christian Dior, Chanel, Fendi and Louis Vuitton, Avenue Montaigne is the place to be for luxury, fashion, design and high-end customer service, Chianura says.
“I knew it would be good to take this job to learn how to train with different nationalities,” Chianura says. “You go to training to manage and apply the protocols coming from the different cultures of the Emirates, Russian, American or Chinese. It is important to know the foreign culture from your clientele to better understand them and answer their demand about their project.”
In 2006, Chianura pitched her first furniture store company, Parizona inc, with her former business partner at the French international furniture company.
“I saw the potential of the evolution of Scottsdale,” Chianura says. “When I first arrived, for me, the desert was way more of a measure of contemporary, minimalist and pure line with a touch of elegance. I didn’t understand the presence of a Tuscany style with the desert.”
“And today, we can see that the development of the real estate park reveals many contemporary architectures, which perfectly reflect my philosophy of contemporary design in the middle of the desert,” she continues.
After 11 years, Chianura separated from her business partners to start a new adventure alone, opening Paris-Milan Home on January 9, 2019 — and the rest is history.
Not a ‘job,’ but a ‘passion’
Since its inception, Chianura has helmed Paris-Milan Home as a one woman show.
The founder handles all operational facets of the business, including curating the collection, designing for clients and constructing the showroom.
“I am the designer, I am the owner, I am everything,” Chianura says. “People know in two seconds my knowledge. I know where to look. I have a database, supplier and factory with whom I’ve worked with for 29 years.”
The French native says she was ready to hire employees when COVID-19 hit. She then shifted to appointment-only showings as a way to adhere to health guidelines.
“I thought the system of appointment would be good — and also quality-wise, it’s only me and the client,” Chianura says. “This system allows me to give my complete attention to their request and thus respond exactly to their needs.”
This appointment system remains a part of Paris-Milan’s new structure option.
As Paris-Milan Home continues to flourish, Chianura says she is again gearing up to hire staff.
She hopes to arm her team with the same education and training she received while working in Paris.
“It’s not a job for me; it’s a passion,” Chianura says. “I’m not married, I work like crazy, my parents were not rich — I invested in this business and I am proud about my accomplishment — and to show to the new generation that it is possible.”
The Paris-Milan Home showroom is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. It is also available by private appointment.
For more information, visit paris-milan.com.