Rita Ho-Bezzola is the CEO of Somerton Dwelling, a family business focused on helping you live the life you love. She sat down with us for a quick Q &A to chat about the company, design and of course, furniture.
Q. How did you get into the business?
Rita: I come from a furniture family—the love of well-crafted furniture came from my dad. He’s been building furniture using generations-old techniques for as long as I can remember. Of course, modern technology is incorporated to allow Somerton Dwelling to create and sell furniture that’s smart, stylish, adaptable…and affordable.
Q. There are lots of furniture companies out there, what makes Somerton Dwelling
Rita: There are so many things that make us different—our designs are modern but not cold, they are functional but not boring, and there are so many different options. I’m a busy wife, businesswoman and new mom, and just like millions of others I use the Internet for research, inspiration and shopping. That’s another thing that makes us different—we don’t just want to sell you furniture, we want to help you find exactly what you’re looking for to create the home of your dreams and we want to do that on your terms. Whether that’s online or in one of our local furniture store partners
—we’ll make it happen.
Another thing that sets us apart is one of my personal tenants—we want to be better citizens of the earth. At home I recycle everything; we have drought-tolerant landscape, we compost—the whole nine yards. Yes—I’m THAT mom too—I make my own baby food (it’s easier than you think) and we have a garden and chickens even though we live in urban southern California. I bring that commitment to the environment to work with me every day. We’re always looking for eco-friendly ways to improve our products and how we make them. Our woods are sustainable, never endangered and our packaging is recyclable materials.
Q: What does your typical day look like?
Rita: Because of the baby (she’s almost one!) we are up early. For me and my husband it’s all about divide and conquer—one of us will get the baby while the other takes care of the chickens and the dogs. Then it’s getting everyone ready, fed and dressed so we can start our day! I am lucky to have help most of the week, so when my nanny or my sister arrives to help me with the baby, I hop into my home office or in my car to head into work where I start answering emails and pay the bills.
If I am working from home that day, I’ll also slip in some cleaning in between phone calls—with two dogs we need to clean the floor every day; then there’s laundry, and grocery runs. Usually by the time I’m halfway through my to-do list it’s time for the nanny to leave!
We start winding down (by we I mean the baby) when the nanny leaves–this is when I put on my mommy hat and be a mommy and nothing else. Baby and I will spend time in the yard (her grandparents bought her this swing that she can’t get enough of and we hung it on a tree in our backyard) or if it’s too warm we’ll play in her room until daddy comes home.
Evenings in our house are usually pretty quiet—once the baby sleeps then my husband and I will relax over dinner with a good glass of wine or a cold beer. We may catch an episode (or two) of House of Cards or Daredevil on Netflix before we call it a night; otherwise we’ll end our night with a game of Scrabble and maybe some scotch if we aren’t already too tired!
And then we do it all over again the next day!
Q: What’s your favorite piece of furniture?
Rita: My favorite piece of furniture is this antique chest my husband and I bought (our first furniture purchase together!) a few years ago right after we got married. It’s made in the late 1800s in China—so it’s more than 100 years old! We first used it as a liquor chest and after we moved we decided to use it as a linen chest. I love the fact that it’s old, beautiful, and versatile. Not to mention that it was this purchase that marked the starting point of my husband and me creating our home together!
Q: What’s your favorite design magazine?
Rita: I subscribe to Better Homes & Garden, Dwell (one can dream), Elle Décor, Traditional Home and Sunset. Sunset is my favorite! It’s not quite a design magazine in the traditional sense but it has so many GREAT ideas for small, eco-footprint living and solutions! And it’s so West Coast focused that it’s really relevant for us.