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Bridgeport's Most Handsome Home
January, 2009 - Issue #51
Michael Georgio, a CEO with Gothic Designs and Management, has extensive experience in the field of landscape and maintenance contracting. Perhaps that's why his own 4,200-square-foot Bridgeport home is so meticulously groomed.

The three-bedroom Tuscan house, which also includes a home gym, five bathrooms and a game room, is exceptionally appointed.
The handpainted, layered stencilwork in the master bedroom took weeks to complete.
The handpainted, layered stencilwork in the master bedroom took weeks to complete.
His designer was given the task of creating a masculine space that honored three things paramount to Michael Georgio: his family, his faith and his culture.

A bachelor and proud father of three daughters, Georgio's home has become a canvas filled with family photos and mementos. Over a dozen framed pictures sit center stage at the focal point of the stairway. But accessories are not the only way that this place reflects his family-centered philosophy. "My 16 year old always has four or five friends here, and the 21 year old comes home from college a lot - often with friends. My oldest is married and has a new baby boy. We have lots of barbecues here, and the space needed to be accommodating and comfortable," says the homeowner.

It also needed to reflect Georgio's faith in Roman Catholicism. Ornate, hand-skilled crosses, as well as images of saints, have a prominent place in this home.

The ornately-scrolled buffet table in the dining room coordinates perfectly with the Old World map of Italy located just above.
The ornately-scrolled buffet table in the dining room coordinates perfectly with the Old World map of Italy located just above.
Not coincidentally, the religious icons thematically and visually coordinate well with Georgio's other goal: to have his home positively reflect his Italian culture. As a second-generation Italian American (both sides of his family are recent immigrants from Italy), he takes special pride in the incorporation of Italian designs into his home. A substantial Old-world map of the mother country serves as one of the home's major pieces of wall art.

All of this is accomplished in a decidedly masculine manner. There is an extensive use of black, chocolate, gold and olive tones. Simply-lined furniture is covered in supple leather or sturdy tapestry-inspired fabrics. And while the home is accessorized, collections of candles, pillows and other accents are well thought out and minimal.

So, was it a success? Were the goals outlined by this successful businessman fulfilled? "Everything I wanted this home to be was achieved," says Georgio.

Holiday Entertaining Tips to Remember all Year
Combine "wow" offerings with easy-to-prep items. Yes, you want to break out your most impressive recipes, but don't stress out. Fill your "signature" chicken enchiladas with pre-cooked rotisserie meat to save a prep step. Go for the ready-made pizza crusts. Forget baking your own bread for the bruschetta. Spend the extra $2 for a pre-assembled vegetable tray. Guests won't know the difference, but they will surely notice that their host is relaxed and ready to have a good time.

Make serving decisions based on what you can do ahead. You deserve to be a guest at your own party, and your guests will be able to enjoy themselves more when they know that their host isn't slaving away in the kitchen on their behalf.

Spread out the food, in more ways than one. Avoid traffic jams, and encourage mingling, by avoiding the traditional, singular buffet table. Instead, have stops for savory items, another for sweet treats, and yet another location for your beverage bar. You also need to consider holding some food "back," for either festive or safety reasons. Items that should stay cold either need to stay on ice (like shrimp) or should be removed after an hour. Introducing a new offering to the line up ("The mushroom turnovers are just out of the oven!") can keep the energy going through the evening.

Have something for everyone. There's a good chance that you'll have at least one representative from each of the following categories: Dieters, Vegetarians, Fish-phobics and Meat and Potatoes Men. Make sure that every guest has at least one dish on which they can happily nosh.

Create seating clusters. You want to encourage small, more-intimate conversations when gatherings are large. Instead of setting up large seat groupings around big couches (leading to the inevitable "talking over each other" conflict), devise a design that combines two to five seats.

Love it, Do it!
Michael Georgio's daughter Meghan studied culture and language in Florence, Italy. Appropriately, her bedroom contains a collection of photographs accumulated during her trip.

What makes this grouping more "art" than "messy collage" is the execution. To do it yourself:

Collect photographs, digital or printed, that have a consistent theme. Ideas include groupings of your kids' baby pictures or shots from a much-loved vacation.

Print (or scan and re-print) your photographs with a consistent color scheme and finish. Lustre finished black and white photos add an immediate artistic flair; sepia tones will suggest that the collection is aged. Glossy color shots usually don't work well for this purpose, as the variety of shades is too distracting.

To add visual interest, print the photographs in varying sizes. Include more 8-inch by 10-inch shots if the space you want to cover is large.

Using small metal tacks, slowly layer your photographs starting at the epicenter of the space you want to cover, and working outwards. Use a variety of different angles to add dimension to the space.
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