Born in Southern California, Elizabeth Vallino traces her aesthetic formation to ballet class, where an eccentric Russian émigré taught a group of small girls the importance of following strict, traditional rules to achieve the precision of form and balance that is classical ballet. All movement was described in precise French terms. This introduction to form, language and culture was the beginning of a lifelong fascination with classical, old-world elegance.
While at Pepperdine University, Elizabeth joined an Italian friend on a trip to Europe, and decided to return to Rome after graduation to complete a degree in Interior Architecture from the Istituto Pantheon. Living in Rome, she experienced spaces that had been inhabited for centuries, and witnessed how the passage of time affects material things. She gained deep familiarity with classical art and architecture, and with the singular beauty of Roman light.
In New York City Elizabeth worked for the Italian Trade Commission, marketing Italian fabric and fashion. She traveled each season to the Ready-to-Wear collections in Milan, and textile fairs in Como and Biella. In New York, she was exposed to the best in modern design, art and architecture.
When Elizabeth returned to the west coast, she settled in Santa Barbara, working as a fashion and prop stylist for clients including Guess Jeans and Elle magazine. Then she met her husband, Gianni Vallino, an Italian artist who creates lighting from recycled industrial materials. Gianni is a wonderful chef, an avid Francophile and lover of Proust. They now live happily in the hills above Santa Barbara with their son, Luca.
In 1999, Elizabeth started her own design firm, and began creating interiors that draw on all her experiences in the world.