What makes a purchase “worth it”? The answer is different for everybody, so we’re asking some of the coolest, most shopping-savvy people we know—from small-business owners to designers, artists, and actors—to tell us the story behind one of their most prized possessions.
Eliana Gil Rodriguez is a Venezuelan-Canadian designer, creative, model, and entrepreneur. In 2018, she launched her own clothing label committed to practicing slow fashion by producing elegant basics with classic silhouettes that are made locally in Los Angeles, California. If her name sounds familiar, it might be because you remember our home tour of the Beachwood Canyon studio that she previously shared with an ex. Since then, Eliana’s lifestyle has done a complete one-eighty as she resides in a beautiful 1930s Carl Kay apartment located in Los Feliz.
As a fan of modular furniture, Eliana is drawn to pieces that are smart, utilitarian, and functional, without sacrificing elegance. She doesn’t limit herself to a singular interior style, preferring to mix and match aesthetics—the space takes cues from Space Age, Scandinavian, Japanese, and Art Deco design. For the living room, Eliana was interested in finding a piece that she and her partner, Jordan, could play around with as they were figuring out how to arrange the entire space.
“I wasn’t starting from scratch completely, but this place was pretty big and unique,” she explains. “The coffee table was something that was so difficult for some reason. The room is kind of difficult because it’s not angled, one of the walls is completely curved, so a lot of things looked weird there.”
Bernard Vuarnesson’s Tetra coffee table for Bellato circa 1980 was most appealing to Eliana because it can be reconfigured in many different ways. Even though she wasn’t previously familiar with the French artist, she now praises his craftsmanship and all the intricate details that went into his woodwork, from the little grooves on the table to the trays that slide out like butter.
While getting settled into the three-bedroom duplex with her partner, Eliana was on a mission to thoughtfully curate it. “When you’re in a new space, there’s just so many different things that you need, but for some reason the coffee table was the most elusive part,” she recalls. “That was the last thing to come together.” Eliana ordered the Tetra table last December, but didn’t receive it until about two months ago due to customs delays in the Netherlands. When the package finally arrived at their doorstep, she was amazed by how easy it was to pack the table into a tiny box because it’s so compact.
From clothing to furniture, Eliana is an avid vintage collector. As she further explains, “Almost everything I own is vintage, so when I’m planning a space, I spend a long time scouring the internet, estate sales, and auction houses for the perfect pieces.” Eliana wasn’t seeking out anything in particular, so when she randomly scrolled to this table on 1stDibs she knew that it was meant to be hers. “I’m very intuitive, so if I’m attracted to something, I have faith that I’ll find a way to integrate it somehow, and things sort of end up going together in a way that’s not so by numbers,” she says. “Some of the most special spaces that I’ve been in and that I’ve been really blown away by have never been too calculated.”
From Eliana’s point of view, the Tetra table embodies the essence of good design—it’s a conversational piece that really tells a story about the person that inhabits the space the table is in. Now that she’s older and wiser, Eliana sees the benefit of adopting a “less is more” lifestyle, which means having fewer things out on display. “I’m still figuring out how to be a minimalist—it’s really hard,” she admits. “Clear surfaces make me happy, but I have such a tendency to allow clutter in.… I feel like for my mental health, I need to continuously keep myself in check or I will burden myself.”
Eliana really appreciates how this table can work in a variety of spaces with different needs—one of her favorite features is how the sliding trays can be pulled out in different configurations depending on how she and Jordan want to use it. “We know that wherever we go, we’ll find a use for a piece like that,” she says.