Our Charlottesville History & Partnership With Monticello
Perhaps you know about our Charlottesville, VA headquarters on the historic Downtown Mall. The large glass storefront entices passersby, beckoning them to come inside to browse our collections. Through the years, many people have asked why we chose Charlottesville as our primary location.
We used to have our headquarters in New York City hoped to open a store there. However, when we started searching for suitable Big Apple properties in 2004, the harsh reality of steep rent prices made the dream of opening up a store there unfeasible. During the continued hunt for a retail location, Caspari’s President, Lisa Milbank began taking frequent trips to Charlottesville to visit her retired mother. It was during these visits that she realized that the small university town, with its diverse population and vibrant cultural scene, was the perfect place for a Caspari store. When we opened the location there in 2005, our intention — which remains true today — was that it would be the home of the Caspari vision. Our store brings together everything that inspires us about home décor and entertaining, enabling us to pass that excitement onto you.
Monticello is arguably one of Charlottesville’s most famous attractions. People flock to marvel at Thomas Jefferson’s primary home, especially since the former president designed it. Jefferson appreciated the work of Palladio, a 16th-century Italian architect. He let it influence him while creating Monticello, as well as buildings on the nearby campus of the University of Virginia.
We looked to Palladio and Jefferson while designing the inside of our Caspari store, too. And carried out extensive research on Palladian architectural principles to guide our decisions about the store’s scale and layout, plus referred to the buildings and grounds of Monticello.
The remarkable things about the design of Monticello and the original buildings of UVA is that they were so gracefully designed and embody the classic tenets of architectural design, which remain relevant centuries after Palladio lived and worked.
Caspari has been privileged and honored to work with Monticello on various projects and events since opening our flagship store. They are our Charlottesville neighbors. More than the house, Monticello is also the grounds and gardens of the estate – Jefferson is famed for his role as a founding father yes, but also for his agricultural and viticultural pursuits. Monticello in its entirety is a testament to his boundless curiosity.
A newly added botanical design in our line, Jefferson’s Garden Study features vivid pink and orange blooms. Monticello.org states, “Monticello’s gardens were a botanical showpiece, a source of food, and an experimental laboratory of ornamental and useful plants from around the world.” Jefferson traveled in Europe and would have been curious about and studied botany in the UK and Europe to see if he could bring specimens back to Monticello. The style of the Jefferson’s Garden Study design is the type of botanical illustration he often would have seen.
We’re proud to donate the royalties earned from this product line to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns and operates Monticello today. Therefore, while each purchase of this design is a fantastic way to brighten up your home, it’s also supporting Virginia heritage and history.
Now you know why we picked Charlottesville for the location of our flagship store. Whether you already stroll the Downtown Mall frequently to stop in or are now eager to plan your first visit, be sure our store is only one stop of many throughout this beautiful city. Abundant with history, gardens, music, art, fine dining, unique local business, and more, Charlottesville offers a lot to see!