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At Home with Vita is a monthly interview with artists, designers, and friends who inspire us. This month's Q&A is with Constanza Collarte, the founder of Collarte Interiors, which specializes in bespoke design services for residential clients. A Miami native, Constanza moved to New York to study interior design at Pratt Institute while simultaneously working on high-end residential, commercial and global development projects at the offices of renowned architecture and interior design firms including Campion Platt, Oppenheim Architecture, and Philippe Starck. After over a decade of working in New York and London, Constanza returned to Miami to launch Collarte Interiors in 2016. 

IL BUCO VITA: Did you find yourself “hosting” for yourself or for your family during the quarantine?

CONSTANZA COLLARTE: We found ourselves hosting frequently, it is what kept us sane! Our families live in the area so we had grandparents over for al fresco dinners or friends for evening cocktails in the backyard, living in Miami helps-we get to use our outdoors all year long.

IBV: Has cooking more meals in your home caused you to rethink the design of your kitchen or your home in general?

CC: I’ve always loved to cook and entertain, so I put a lot of thought into our kitchen when we renovated. Having easy access to tools, built in spice racks, and everything pull out was important to me. But with even more time in the kitchen, and extra grocery supplies, we had to rethink our auxiliary storage; we made a lot of use of our extra fridge and reworked our pantry.

IBV: Did you use the extra time at home to learn how to make something new in the kitchen?

CC: We tried new dishes I would have probably dismissed as too time consuming, and we branched out to try more international dishes like Indian Chicken Tikka Masala, or Cuban Arroz con Pollo.

IBV: What are your go-to “pantry recipes” for last-minute meals? 

CC: Pasta, with three kids under 7, the answer is always pasta!

IBV: What are your favorite purveyors or resources for local produce/provisions? 

CC: I love frequenting specialized locals like Josh Premium Meats and a variety of fishmongers on the Miami river. For entertaining in Miami, Marky’s is also a must.

IBV: What is the first place you hope to visit when COVID-19 is far behind us? 

CC: Italy! We head to Venice every summer, I have been dreaming about the food for 10 months!

IBV: Are there any causes or institutions that you are passionate about supporting during this ongoing crisis?

CC: Camillus House. This organization has been helping Miami’s homeless for over 50 years, through food & shelter, housing, health care and now more than ever they need the support.

IBV: Can’t have a party without?

CC: Wine, music and good company

IBV: Go to last minute center piece?

CC: I’ll pick olive branches, bougainvillea and kumquats from the trees we have in the garden and throw them in a vase for a splash of color.    

IBV: Where do you find inspiration for entertaining?

CC: I have folders full of magazine clippings and images of entertaining inspiration, accumulated over the years…but I also frequent the Instagram accounts of La Tuile a Loup, Cabana Magazine, World of Interiors, Penny Morrison, Remy Renzullo and Carolina Irving

IBV: If you had a destination dinner party, where would it be?

CC: The Tuscan farmhouse from the ’96 film, Stealing Beauty

IBV: Who are the top artists on your cooking playlist?

CC: A mix of soul, jazz and new wave, Nina Simone, Shuggie Otis, The Smiths, Talking Heads and lots of early Rolling Stones

IBV: What is your favorite meal to serve to guests?

CC: When entertaining, my motto is the simpler the better and anything that roasts, like fresh fish or a whole chicken, gives me a chance to hang out with my guests.

IBV: One word to describe your entertaining style?

CC: Inviting

IBV: Seated dinner or casual buffet?

CC: Casually seated

IBV: To decant or not decant?

CC: To not Decant, too fussy

IBV: Stemmed glasses or wine tumblers?

CC: Short stemmed glasses, taverna style

IBV: Favorite piece to include on your table for Summer?

CC: Fresh cut flowers and rattan accents

IBV: Whose house would you be the most excited to be invited to for dinner?

CC: I don’t know if he cooks, but I’d love to share a meal and sit in the home of Photographer, Francois Halard

IBV: Who has kept you inspired this year?

CC: My children, their resiliency in these difficult times has astounded me and they just remind me how important it is to make any moment a special one.