Luxury Living in Little Italy


Designed By: Sarah Buehlman Photos By: Chad Mellon

When you think of San Diego, sunshine and surfing may come to mind, but in the middle of sandy beaches and relaxed vibes is the lively Little Italy neighborhood. Quaint pizzerias, upscale boutiques and outdoor markets reminiscent of Venice fill the streets. It’s in this hip neighborhood you’ll find Vici Luxury Rentals, a modern, thoughtfully designed residential and retail development. The property was built with the idea that it’s more than a residence, it’s a place where you can experience European-style living with personal concierge services, private garden terraces, sky-deck dining and a cocktail lounge, not to mention an open-air rooftop pet spa with dog park.

In preparation of its opening, the developers at H.G. Fenton Company wanted to design a model unit reflective of Vici’s modern and comfortable European lifestyle and turned to Cantoni to transform the space. “When looking for a strategic partner to deliver a lifestyle experience to Vici residents, we immediately thought of Cantoni,” shares Carroll Whaler, H.G. Fenton executive vice president of residential asset management. “Cantoni offers thoughtful, yet provocative curated furnishings that are works of art and statement pieces.”

Cantoni designer Sarah Buehlman oversaw the selection of furnishings, art and accessories. To find inspiration she only had to take a few steps outside. “Upon first visiting Vici, I was immediately inspired by the energy of the Little Italy neighborhood and the model home’s beautiful ocean views,” Sarah says. “There is this bright blue and teal-painted building, which also caught my eye and ultimately inspired me to use pops of cerulean blues and deep shades of green throughout the interiors to draw the outside in.”

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Along with a colorful palette, Sarah selected low-profile furnishings to maximize the two-bedroom unit and mixed materials such as glass, wood and lacquer to add visual interest. “It was important to find pieces that fit the area and worked together comfortably to capitalize on the flow of the space,” says Sarah. In the living room, Sarah selected visually light pieces like the sleek cocktail table and the charcoal leather sofa, which is lifted off the ground by walnut and metal sled legs. She brought rich jewel tones in emerald green and sapphire blue into the room by adding the “Bloquer I,” a hand-finished embellished giclée on canvas by artist Kelly O’Neal.

Off the living room is an outdoor patio, which Sarah transformed into a comfortable area for al fresco dining with the Malta dining table and chairs. The natural cork-like flat rope is a perfectly chosen texture connecting to the San Diego Bay Harbor that is viewable from the patio.

In the guest bedroom, Sarah maximized square footage by combining the a compact console with a small-scale leather stool and a large mirror to double as a workspace and vanity.

In the master bedroom, she paired a king bed with customized nightstands, which she topped with the smoky sea glass Joss table lamps. Pops of blue and green tones were continued throughout with the Neon Portrait II by Samuel Kane and a low-profile accent chair, which Sarah customized in a vibrant teal fabric and positioned in front of the floor-to-ceiling window, perfectly matching the colorful building just outside that initially caught her eye.

It all was just as Carroll imagined—and more. “Almost every prospective resident that walks into the Cantoni model apartment says, ‘wow’, standing still for a moment to take in the visual experience,” Carroll says. “Sarah understood the aesthetics of our customer and crafted a space plan along with furniture and accessories that showcased and elevated our unique rental offering.

From the modern luxury feel of the residence to the casual and inviting neighborhood, it’s evident that Vici is more than just a place to call home, it’s a place to live the European life to the fullest. It’s perfecto!

Sarah understood the aesthetics of our customer and crafted a space plan along with furniture and accessories that showcased and elevated our unique rental offering.

— Carroll Whaler, H.G. Fenton Company

Ready to start the process?

Your interior design journey with Cantoni begins with a complimentary consultation. This first step is essential as it allows us to discuss your vision, preferences, and the functional needs of your living space. Together, we'll explore the possibilities and outline the next steps to transform your home into a beautifully curated and cohesive reflection of your personal style.

We look forward to our conversation and to starting this exciting project together. Book an appointment below or call 877.881.9191 to connect with one of our seasoned Interior Designers.


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