A sampling of the colorful pieces found in Design Box
On a quiet side street in the lush bayside village of Coconut Grove, you’ll find Design Box, a small shop full of treasures collected from all over the globe that opened in May of 2010. Vintage keys from France, Pakistani pendants and Indian stationery sit next to pieces from local artists. Herbie Parets is the aesthetics entrepreneur behind this charming emporium, and we asked him a few questions.
Were you always into the arts and decor? HERBIE PARETS: Yes, since I can remember I have always had an inclination towards all things beautiful and out of the ordinary. My interest in art and art history spiked during high school and continued through college and my adult life.
What made you open your shop in Coconut Grove? HP: Many reasons. I’ve lived in the Grove all of my adult life and really love the sense of community. I felt that the Grove really needed something like Design Box, somewhere where you could pick up a gift for a dinner party or find a great decorative piece or come in and simply be inspired.
Where do you find your pieces? HP: I find lots of pieces in my travels abroad. But I also find lots of things here in the US, and lots of the art and jewelry is by local artists from our community.
How often do you travel? HP: I try and take one to two over-seas trips a year.
What is your favorite country to shop in? HP: I absolutely love India. It has great pieces that have so much history and at the same time have newer pieces that are new but read as contemporary with an ethnic twist. They also have lots of European pieces in South India that are really amazing.
How do you ship things back safely? HP: I often come back with lots of suitcases—my India trip last year had nine in total. Other times I get local consolidators to ship larger, delicate pieces to me.
Do you ever accept requests from clients for certain pieces? HP: Absolutely. I’ve been able to procure many things for customers over the last year.
I know you started out decorating homes. Do you still work on those projects? HP: Yes. That is actually what I do from the back office of Design Box. I am currently working on a home in Miami Beach, an apartment in New York and finishing up two units in Venezuela.
What’s the best advice you can give someone who’s starting out with a new apartment? HP: Think about your priorities. How do you want to use the space? Measure and create a floor plan. Start off with the large pieces first—like the sofa, dining table, bed, night tables. Gain inspiration for the look from your favorite things. Aesthetics is always important for me, but comfort is just as important.