The Style Files: Villalobos Desio

villalobos desio headshot

I first met Alberto Villalobos and Mercedes Desio of the New York-based design firm, Villalobos Desio while in Los Angeles for Legends of La Cienega a couple of years ago. We had followed each other on Instagram, so it was fun to finally meet in person. This year, I have had the opportunity to get to know Alberto and Mercedes better as we are all NKBA Insiders for the National Kitchen and Bath Association for 2016. We spent several days together in Las Vegas in January for the KBIS show and instantly formed a friendship. Not only is this stylish duo immensely talented, they are also two of the sweetest people in the design industry.

Alberto, originally from Colombia and Mercedes, originally from Argentina met while studying at the New York School of Interior Design. Upon graduation, they decided to form a design firm together and also opened, ETOS, their antiques boutique. Through their diverse, culturally rich backgrounds which include living in South America and Europe, Villalobos Desio bring a unique approach to design which allows them to marry a broad range of cultural influences and styles in a way that is balanced and tells the story of each individual client. They have completed projects for clients in New York and across the United States as well as in Mexico, South America, and London. I hope that you’ll enjoy getting to know this sophisticated duo as much as I have.


Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Alberto Villalobos & Mercedes Desio: It is heavily influenced by our backgrounds and travel experiences. It is edited, seamless and functional.

1 Central Park South, NYC Interior Design: Villalobos Desio

PC: Has living in New York influenced your aesthetic in any way?

AV: Yes, I like the fact that there is no trend, it is very experimental.

MD: Yes, the exposure to some of the best design resources, museums and the New York grid, have all influenced me.


PC: What does your home say about you?

AV: My house reflects my love of uncluttered spaces. I enjoy organizing all my objects.

MD: I hope good things! It is definitely lived in and has knick knacks from all my travels.

1 Central Park South, NYC Interior Design: Villalobos Desio

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

AV: I think that inspiration finds you.

MD: Anywhere really, I find it in art, fashion, people

1 Central Park South, NYC Interior Design: Villalobos Desio

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

AV & MD: Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta and Chanel


{A Chic Vignette in the Parisian Home of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé | Photography via AD France}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

AV: Staying home and watching TV and reading design magazines.

MD: Buying shoes

Villalobos & Desio

PC: What do you love most about having a partnership in your design firm? What is the biggest challenge?

AV & MD: We complement each other and as a result it is easier to obtain results. We always try to have each other’s backs.


PC: Who or what has been your greatest professional influence?

AV: I cannot point to a person in particular, there have been a couple.

MD: My mother, she has an impressive work ethic.


PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

AV: A day in the country with no phone.

MD: Having the luxury of time on my side.


PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

AV & MD: We are completing a project on Park Avenue that we are very excited about. Also, we are collaborating with Frette by designing a bespoke bed, to participate in the fall launch of their bespoke line, for their fun “Get in bed with…” initiative.

1 Central Park South, NYC Interior Design: Villalobos Desio



{Alberto’s Favorites}

Go-To Outfit AV: Lanvin sneakers with jeans | MD: anything black

Style Mantra AV: function over form | MD: less is more

Scent AV: Declaration by Cartier | MD: none

Piece of Jewelry AV: Rolex watch | MD: a pair of earrings I made with diamond cufflinks that belonged to my dad

Color I Never Tire Of AV: blue, purple, gray | MD: black…although technically it is not a color

Flower AV: Gardenias | MD: Tulips

Indispensable Design Element AV: art | MD: objects that have personal meaning

Era for Design AV: today | MD: THE 1950’s, it was an innovative time after the war

Dream Project AV&MD: a house in the Caribbean

Fabric/Textile AV: horsehair | MD: a fine linen

Hostess Gift AV: champagne | MD: a good book

Meal AV: caviar | MD: Kaiseki

Drink AV: champagne |  MD: Lychee martini

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work AV: long shower | MD: a good kickboxing class


{Mercedes’ Favorites}

3 Things I Love About My City AV&MD: diversity, art and design

Weekend Destination AV: Colombia | MD: Nashville

Hotel AV: Hotel Mama | MD: Le Byblos, St. Tropez

City AV: London | MD: Tokyo

Museum AV: Fondazione Prada | MD: Victoria and Albert Museum

Artist AV: Serra | MD: Edvard Munch

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood AV: Stand by you, Rachel Platten | MD: Nostalgias, Carlos Gardel

Prized Possession AV: vintage Cartier watch | MD: wedding band that belonged to my maternal grandmother

Risk Worth Taking AV: all | MD: anything that inspires you

Greatest Extravagance AV & MD: traveling

Go-To Color Palette AV & MD: grays with blues and purples

Rule to Break  AV: all of them | MD: I prefer to bend the rules, not break them

Movie Set Design AV: A Single Man | MD: Cleopatra

I can never have too many… AV: nights at home watching tv | MD: shoes, it’s a problem!!

Paloma Signature

{Images Courtesy of Villalobos Desio Unless Noted Otherwise}

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