Home Decor with Gusto in West Palm Beach – Garden & Gun

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Home & Garden
A Florida design haven pushes the bounds of imagination
By Nila Do Simon
February/March 2022
photo: Charles Peed
Inside a wonderland of an atelier on the outskirts of West Palm Beach, an eighteenth-century sofa has found new life amid the showstopping home decor vignettes that have become Casa Gusto’s calling card. Rumored to be connected to Jane Austen, the George III mahogany stunner sits among other antique gems, including drop-leaf tables from Sweden, a jeweler’s table from Spain, and a Louis XIV console, all of them unearthed by a family whose love of revamping found objects matches their ability to present them as only they can.
Cris Briger and her sons, Charles Peed and Pablo Briger, have long filled their lives with goods both new and old, collected and invented, from all corners of the globe. “We’re glorified hoarders,” Pablo says with a laugh. “We joke that Casa Gusto is our excuse to justify and continue our hoarding.”
Founded in 2018, Casa Gusto inspires design lovers with a fanciful showroom filled with discoveries—from furnishings to tableware—updated with a coat of Briger-Peed whimsy, or “gusto.” The trio transforms, for instance, botanical engravings by the early nineteenth-century English illustrator and engraver George Brookshaw—perhaps now considered old-fashioned—with frames and mats painted in a pattern that elevates them to theater. “We’d normally find these prints at a place like our grandma’s house,” Pablo says. “We wanted to reimagine them for today’s audience.” 
The team then arranges those pieces in gorgeous tableaux that allow the imagination to take flight. In one scene, admirers might see how a remastered baroque wooden console could interact with a white-petaled tole orchid or pansy just manufactured by Mexican artists. Another set piece pays homage to the legendary horticulturist Bunny Mellon and her storied Virginia garden room, with touches from Cris Briger including floor-to-ceiling wall panels, blooming florals and greenery, and a rotating collection of furnishings. “We’re putting home design in a different light,” says Peed of the evolving scenes. “I could stuff this place full, but then Casa Gusto would just be another furniture shop. The pieces have to breathe, and they have to connect with the things around them.”
Tableware, artwork, and furniture designed by the family and then crafted by skilled artisans from the company’s workshops in Mexico and West Palm Beach include colorful hand-painted Talavera ceramics and sprawling framed papier-mâché botanicals, both of which the family refers to as “our version of Mexico.” The family’s connection to the country runs deep. Cris Briger had formerly parlayed her strong aesthetic eye into a to-the-trade furniture and accessories company with her late husband, Paul. Based near San Miguel de Allende, the outfit became known worldwide for its one-of-a-kind pieces. After Paul died, in 2017, Peed, who had studied culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu, and his mother started a new life in Palm Beach, cultivating Casa Gusto, with Pablo joining full-time in spring 2020. Now the showroom has attained a global following, too, thanks to Peed, a self-taught photographer who captures the imagery for the brand and social media—Instagram alone accounts for nearly 80 percent of sales, with clients as far-flung as Australia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Colombia, and Canada. 
The trio credits Casa Gusto’s success, though, to its Florida setting. “We couldn’t do what we do just anywhere,” Peed says. “A lot of walks of life come to West Palm Beach, attracted to the energy and laid-back lifestyle. We’ve become a little Shangri-la out here.” 
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