Casa Ispirata and Cavalletto Home are two wholesale, to-the-trade-only furniture brands launched in the United States at the June 2021 High Point Furniture Market. Owned by an Italian furniture designer and manufacturer that has been in business since 1984, the fledgling brands are attracting new clientele as they expand distribution throughout North America.
“The driving force behind our brands is our passion for design, love of the creative process, and the pride we take in building furniture of remarkable beauty and enduring style,” says the company’s U.S. president, Bill Heffern.
The brands were created in collaboration with a small group of home furnishings industry veterans and are supported by a worldwide team of more than 100 employees. The organization includes designers, engineers, finishing specialists, and product testing and quality assurance teams.
Heffern, who has made his career in the furniture industry since the mid-1980s, explains: “We are a compact and focused company with a process grounded in the fundamentals of Italian-influenced design and craftsmanship. Our direct connection to Italy and the ‘Italian eye’ for luxury brands gives our Casa Ispirata and Cavalletto Home collections each its own unique yet timeless and iconic style.”
Each brand has a distinct design language. Casa Ispirata is clean, upscale American-modern. The look is informed by a combination of the brash confidence and energy of American design and the restrained elegance and austerity of Italian design.
In particular, the aesthetic is centered around the romantic era of Italian-American alliances and partnerships in the automotive, film and fashion industries between 1965 and 1995. Each design is imbued with a graceful sense of refinement that references both the beauty of Italian minimalism and the scale and comfort of American architecture and design.
Cavalletto Home is pure California-modern, a fusion of a wide variety of styles, from mid-century and brutalist to Japanese and Scandinavian and, of course, a healthy dose of 1970s Italian modernism. Here, you will find sleek, modern forms clad in open-grain oak and complemented by a variety of artisan metals, stone, concrete and leather, placing a high priority on luxuriant colors and textures.
“The genesis of our designs lies in the transformation of raw materials—leather, marble, wood, metal—into beautiful bedroom, dining room and living room furnishings of high artistic value and quality,” says Heffern.
Distributed through better retailers and designers in the United States and Canada, each brand features three distinct finishes—a light finish, a mid-tone finish and a dark finish. “The beach communities—the hotter climates—love the light finishes,” says Heffern. “But, in general, everyone is an individual with their own decorative style and finish preferences. We do our best to address them all.”
The furniture, manufactured in Vietnam, features high-end details such as custom, solid brass hardware, English dovetail drawer construction, undermount soft-close drawer glides, and full slat-rolls with adjustable height options on beds. Chairs are built using traditional wood joinery and ship fully assembled. These features coupled with outstanding design, craftsmanship and pricing elevate Casa Ispirata and Cavalletto Home above the competition.
The June 2021 launch presented several hurdles. While business boomed for many existing companies in the industry during the first years of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was enormously challenging for this new venture due to worldwide travel restrictions combined with factory and transportation disruptions. High Point Expo attendance suffered, and retailers were working remotely, making introductory visits impossible.
“Unable to get out into the field to call on potential customers made for a frustrating first two years,” says Heffern. “Still, during that period, we developed good relationships with the design trade and various retailers that found us online or attended, COVID notwithstanding, the High Point shows.”
To make up for the lost time, Heffern and his team are now crisscrossing the United States, personally meeting scores of furniture retailers. “I began my career as a salesman, then transitioned into sourcing, product development and quality systems. Getting back into ‘the field’ and meeting new people, is a real pleasure,” says Heffern.
Casa Ispirata and Cavalletto Home showcase their designs at the High Point Furniture Market twice a year. The company has websites for each brand with full product details, allowing consumers, retailers and the trade to get a realistic and detailed idea of the fine elements and workmanship in the products.
“We are grateful for the privilege of building furniture that becomes a part of the fabric of family life,” says Heffern.
Ellen Uribe is an award-winning journalist and a communications expert. She is a sought-after speaker, participating as a moderator and panelist at numerous industry events, conferences and broadcast outlets. She has contributed to Vanity Fair, Palm Beach Life, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Wear Daily and Time Magazine.