Principal, Brooks & Company
Next year marks Brooks Vitalone’s 20th year as principal of her Paradise Valley design firm, a milestone marked by an array of experiences. Years earlier, the Arizona State University grad honed her skills studying fine and decorative arts in European epicenters like Paris, Florence, Amsterdam and Athens, Greece. She returned stateside intending to teach fine art but instead began working for a San Francisco paper company, a job that gave her the business skills she still applies today. Still, she always found ways to keep her passion alive. “My every free moment was spent going to antiques shops, design boutiques or showrooms,” Vitalone recalls. “It was easy to fuel my flame.” After getting into home remodeling and then working at Sloan Miyasato, Vitalone settled in Arizona and launched Brooks & Company in 1998, bringing her sense of vibrancy and character to desert homes. “I like our design community,” she says. “There’s enough work to go around and a lot of talent here, which is healthy. It’s fun to be among that group.”
Below, Vitalone spends a day showing us some of her local favorites.
10 a.m. Start with brunch at El Chorro, where I usually order the shrimp cocktail. The history and setting of this enchanting enclave–which was a school in the 1930s–only enhance the French chef-driven gastronomy.
11 a.m. Pop into two of my favorite galleries: Costello Childs Gallery and Gallery Russia. Costello is constantly bringing in current national and local artists to the design community, while Gallery Russia represents more classical artists. It’s nice to view a mix of both.
12 p.m. Stroll around at the Scottsdale Quarter. It’s a compact area with the latest stores, and it feels like a little European town. Stop in Paper Source, which is great for gifts.
1 p.m. For lunch, the cafe at Arcadia Farms continues to be a hit. It has a charming, cozy atmosphere, especially when the weather permits sitting on the patio underneath a plethora of umbrellas. My go-to dishes are the pesto grilled shrimp or the crab and avocado tower.
2 p.m. It’s time for shopping. My favorite showrooms include The Collector’s House, Savale Flowers Antiques, Brady Gray, Dean-Warren, John Brooks Incorporated and Paradise Valley Estate Sales, Auctions & Consignment. What I love about all of them is their ability to inspire anyone; there’s incomparable quality and originality to be found at each.
4 p.m. Visit the Phoenix Art Museum (I love the building’s architecture) or the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Both are manageable to walk around, so you can quickly get a big dose of what’s going on in the arts scene.
6 p.m. Have dinner at Veneto Trattoria Italiana. The atmosphere is the closest thing to being in Italy–how could it not be when all the waiters speak with thick Italian accents? I recommend trying one of the daily seafood pasta specials.
7 p.m. If you’re in town on a Thursday, check out the Scottsdale ArtWalk, a two-hour event in which galleries in the Scottsdale Arts District are open later to the public. It’s a wonderful way to open up your imagination during an evening’s stroll.
9 p.m. Need a late-night bite? Stop into Malee’s on Main for delicious Thai fare. The Tom Ka Gai soup is absolutely fabulous–it has a coconut milk base, and it’s ordered spicy on a scale of one to five.