Art of a Studio - Leonel Capparelli

A R T I S T  .   D E S I G N E R  .   R E S T O R E R

Photos by C.  Whitney-Ward


He gathers it, slices great chunks of it into beautifully-grained boards, and marries them with gathered Colonial architectural elements to make unique, one-of-a-kind furniture and accessories. A native of Uruguay -  born to Italian parents - Leonel moved to Santa Fe in 1986 and opened his  shop.  Over the years he has  honed his skills, stretched his design sensibilities and cultivated clients. He has done collections and commissioned pieces for Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdale's and the  Max Factor family. Here in Santa Fe you can see his work at the Inn of the Anasazi, Hotel Loretto and most recently,  the St. Francis Hotel.

Leonel collects New Mexican and Mexican antiques and his great barn-of-a-building, tucked just off E. Rodeo Road, is brimming with eclectic finds - many that he has painstakingly restored.

This beautiful religious statue was found in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and is in the throes of being restored.

A soft brush begins the process of sweeping away layers of loose paint. Then the real work begins - filling  and repairing cracks, re-painting and restoring her to
her near-original self.

Usually clients will come in, Leonel explains, roam around and find an artifact they would like incorporated into a piece of furniture. Occasionally they will bring in a piece that they love and want re-cycled into something quite different - a  treasured headboard into a table, for example.  Leonel will do drawings...

And once approved, he and his staff create the piece in a huge workspace, filled with  electric saws, sanders and stacks of just-cut wood panels.

What emerges is a beautiful amalgam of woods and a unique
 hand-wrought treasure. Rescued from the Past - Preserved for the Future.

H A N D S   O F  A M E R I C A
401 E. Rodeo Road

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