Villa Savoia started many years ago as the idea of partners Michael Savoia and Steve Luxenberg as the company MSL. Together they created embroidery and pillows for high end showrooms in 9 major US markets. Over time, the ownership and focus of the company changed and became Villa Savoia.

Owner Michael Savoia is the man that wears all the hats at the company - personally designing and producing the embroidery in his Providence, RI studio where he also stocks his textile collection and pillows. Currently, his production embroidery and textiles are available at Mimi London showroom in Southern California. All other markets are serviced personally by Michael. Showroom representation in major cities is under consideration.


The Interview:

Q: You have established a line of embroidery - can it be customized?

A: I customize my stock patterns in several ways.  I can sew them on my specially selected ground fabrics or I can use other fabrics if they are suitable for the process. The best way to determine suitability is to send me a sample for review. I have access to a large quantity of color and can fine tune color selection based on the client's input. Although it would be impossible to match every color, I have developed a process of layering colors to come as close as possible. The scale of a stock design can also be changed. This may result in different textures being used to fine-tune the structure of the embellishment.

Q: Do you do custom work outside of your stock program? 

A: Yes, I do, however all custom work must be done directly through my office here in Providence. Custom work is complex and I need to work directly with those making the decisions. And oftentimes there are unknowns and changes that happen during the development process which make the process so labor intensive that it cannot be done within the commission structure of showrooms.

Q: Are table linens and pillows available at showrooms? 

A: My table linens are available only through Villa Savoia. I sew them all here in my Providence studio to maintain quality and I like the idea of the line being exclusive, which is a reasoned alternative to the retail market which demands low-priced goods. I've never been one to focus my energy on that market. In this case, I believe less is more. Regarding pillows, the market for pillows in the past few years has changed greatly. Instead of creating stock for showrooms, I choose to limit production to experimentations of new ideas and patterns and sell them through my studio and I also donate them to various charities as fundraising items for silent auctions. I welcome custom requests for pillows, of course.

Q: How do you price your work?

A: Custom, artisanal creations by definition take time. When I hear my work described as expensive, I can't help but want to ask how one is qualifying the term,yet it is never appropriate to do that. Basically, working in the US is expensive, period. This is my full time employment. I think often I am being compared to product that are created outside the US which can be done less expensively. I bring focus, experience, and a great knowledge of all aspects of the process to the table, and I do nearly 100% of the work myself.

In terms of my background, I have a Master of Fine Arts degree in weaving and textile design and I have worked almost exclusively with the Interior Design community since completing my education. I had my start as an outside sales representative for Donghia Showrooms in Chicago servicing much of the midwest. After a brief time working for Pat Green at Groundworks, as National Sales Director for the western half of the country. Next I moved to the west coast to manage the Donghia Showroom in West Hollywood. In time, I began working at Mimi London in the Pacific Design Center and created MSL with Steve Luxenberg, thus creating a product line for showroom representation focused on embroidery and embellishing, often hand beading. Eventually, I moved into interior design work while Steve managed the product line and had projects published in various magazines including Architectural Digest, for both product and interior design.

Now I focus all my energy on my own project, Villa Savoia. When you work with me you are getting my eye, my knowledge, my hands and my creativity. My work is not mass produced and cannot be priced as if it is.

Q: Do you have guidelines for doing custom work?

A: Generally I treat all inquiries individually as each project is unique. I do require cooperation with other workrooms, as my work is generally finished by others. Drapery and upholstery workrooms need to provide accurate measurements for me to quote a project and the more information I have, the better I can provide clear information. Since projects are so customized, I can generally limit the amount of overage that one pays for that ends up on the workroom floor. Once a fabric is selected it is reviewed for suitability, I require a yard to create a meaningful sample for texture and thread color confirmation. It is important to sample on the exact fabric as each fabric has its own characteristics, thus requiring changes in stitch types and densities. Regarding table linens....I will create custom patterns and am happy to fine tune colors. Just send me a piece of your china and relative color information and I will provide a sample for approval. I love to fuss on such things.

Q: what is your standard delivery time?

A: There really isn't a clear standard - I like to say between 6-8 weeks as a general answer but because I am a one person operation, and lead time directly revolves around my current production schedule. I work very hard to juggle production in a way that tries to work with delivery requirements as much as possible. Ask and I will give you a current lead time. But give me time to think things through - layouts and pattern matching can be challenging.

Q: What excites you the most about what you do?

A: I LOVE experimenting with embroidery. Using the tools that I have I am constantly exploring new ways of seeing the effects thread can have in embellishing. I also have a habit of working by hand on pieces throughout the year. Some of these are commissions for elaborate pillows or table runners. I enjoy applying beads and paillettes in unexpected ways to enhance a shape or texture. I have a large library of inspiration in both books and photographs...inspiration is everywhere and it excites me to use embroidery as a way of illustrating what I see.