Jumat, 25 Januari 2013

My new American friend Rela


Dear friends, today I do have to tell you about my new friend, the Napa Valley based interior designer RELA GLEASON.

1 Website Rela GleasonRela Gleason

If my husband would have known that I was going to write this post, he absolutely would have insist to write down : ‘We do have to tell you about OUR new friends Don and Rela’ !

And actually he is right, we met Rela and Don in Belgium, a few days before Christmas.

Jan and I, both have a weakness for the spontaneous way American people behave. We just love this ! A few moments after our meet and greet, it actually felt as we did know each other since a life time. We spent a wonderful evening together in a restaurant in Brussels. And while Rela and I were talking about interior design and all things related, Jan had a heartwarming conversation with Don.

1Rela and I

2Don and Jan


In earlier times we already met American designers and architects Natasha Esh (New York), Maryanne Flaherty (Texas) and Brooke & Steve Giannetti (Los Angeles). All such a wonderful people who became dear friends. We do cherish these friendships!

imageNatasha Esch and I - Jan and Natasha’s husband Matt  (Brussels, November 2009) 

2013-01-23_213509Maryanne Flaherty and I – Jan and Maryanne’s husband Peter  (Paris, January 2010)

2013-01-23_202352Brooke Giannetti and I – Jan and Brooke’s husband Steve  (Brakel, June 2011)

Blogging is a fantastic way to connect with people from all over the world.


Back to Rela now!

Stumbling on my blog a few months ago, Rela contacted me by email to ask me about some interesting places to visit in Belgium. She was planning a business trip to Belgium.

I realized that Rela knew a lot about Belgium! Not surprising, if you do know that she was raised in Brussels! She probably does know more about our capital than I do!

After Rela contacted me, I visited her website Rela Gleason Design and I was thrilled to read that Rela collaborated with one of my favorite American architects Bobby McAlpine of McAlpine Tankersley, to build her house named ‘CASA KULANU’, which means “all of us” in Hebrew. So ’Casa Kulanu’ is a warm and inviting family home.

Rela and Don told us that they both love to have their children and grandchildren around.


1 AD‘Casa Kulanu’, the Napa Valley home of Rela and her husband Don, which was the first California commission for  the Alabama based architect Bobby McAlpine.

It was Rela herself who made the first house sketches.

The house definitely has architectural influences of the Flemish farmhouses of Rela’s Belgian childhood, but Rela emphasizes that she loves authenticity and she absolutely didn’t want to create a faux-Tuscan villa. ‘Casa Kulanu’ is an honest house and the architecure of it possesses a Napa-style authenticity.’, Rela says.


3 ADThe salon, - with steel doors, wooden beams, linen upholstered seats and a Flemish chandelier -, reveals Rela’s Belgian childhood.

Rela knows exactly how to choose the right furniture for every particular room of the house and she even has her own furniture collection.

2 Website Rela GleasonThe cavendish daybed - Rela Gleason Design Collection  Source website Rela Gleason Design


4 ADThe sunroom of the house.


5 ADRed-cedar-paneled library.


6 ADGorgeous master bedroom! Rela combined a love seat and a wing chair of her own collection with an antique armchair.


7 ADBeautiful bathroom design! Notice the marble vanities with iron mirrors, designed by Rela herself.


9 ADA chalet-style box bed in a child’s guest room.

Rela travels across the United States and to Europe to find the most beautiful antique pieces for her clients. Her interiors are stylish and are composed of bespoke furniture and quality pieces.  “Invest in quality pieces that can follow you anywhere.” says Rela convincingly. And I couldn’t agree with her more!


If you are interested to see more of Rela’s work, please visit her website RELA GLEASON DESIGN http://www.relagleasondesign.com/

If you would love to ask Rela to help with the design of your interior, please contact Rela at info@relagleasondesign.com

Blog Rela’s Journal : http://relasjournal.blogspot.be/


For the wine lovers among you, I do have to mention that the Gleasons are settled in the Northern Californian’s wine country and that the family’s Summer Hill Vineyards produce Cabernet Sauvignon wine and olive oil.


8 AD Vintner Don driving through the family’s Vineyard.

Source images : Architecutal Digest November 2011  – Photography by Roger Davies


Please tell me, do you love Rela’s house and her design work as much as I do?




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