For the Love of Food

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Cisco Pinedo stands in the kitchen, mulling over the ingredients in front of him. There’s fresh, green parsley, a spring onion, and a crisp fennel bulb. He’s making a springtime favorite: a refreshing mung bean salad. He picked up the ingredients at a local farmer’s market earlier that afternoon, but advises it’s best to go at the end of the day to get the best deals.

A timer goes off. His mung beans are done sautéeing. Cisco moves about the kitchen with ease, tossing the beans and dicing onions. He had always loved food and appreciated the art of cooking, but mostly just grilled outside with friends. About 20 years ago, this all changed for him. He embarked on his culinary journey during a month-long trip to Italy. What he thought was going to be another family vacation transformed his relationship with food forever.

He rented a cottage in the town of of Alba in Piedmont, Italy-- one of the gourmet capitals of the world. “We used the cottage as a hub to explore Europe instead of staying in a hotel. It felt more authentic,” Cisco said as he chops a radish with ease. The knife seems more like an extension of his hand than his favorite kitchen tool.

Cisco has always been about authenticity, and building a community centered around it, whether it’s in crafting sustainable furniture, creating clothes to showcase Angeleno-pride, or frequenting local farmers markets. “I’ve always been fascinated with farmers markets. I stopped by one in Alba, and started asking the vendors what I should make with their produce,” he said as he scoops the pit out of an avocado. “One night I decided to make what the vendor suggested and it turned out delicious.”

The meal was so good, he returned to the farmer’s market to do it again the next day, and then the next, and by the end of his trip he only ate at restaurants twice. He got so excited about the amazing flavors the merchants and farmers were teaching him about. When he got back to the U.S., the first thing he did was go to local markets and learn to cook from the local vendors.

The devotion to food grew and developed over the years, but he has always stayed true to the staples. “Pasta, tacos, those are the things I love to cook. I’m fascinated by the simple foods we all eat. I don’t really make fancy dishes, just ones that are good and simple,” Cisco said as he starts to throw his vegetables together.

It’s that fascination with simplicity that helped start the tradition of taco night at our High Point showroom. Cisco used to bring in chefs to cook their specialties, but people kept asking why he would hire a chef when he is one himself. And so taco night was born!


This year, we had our first paella night at High Point. Cisco fell in love with paella while traveling to Spain in search of new fabrics. On one of these trips, his friend Nelly told him, “You like paella? My mother makes the best paella in the world.” And it turns out, she just may have been right. Cisco was blown away by the smells and flavors of this Spanish speciality. Nelly’s mother taught Cisco her secrets to making this perfect paella. After her mother passed away, both Nelly and Cisco continued to make her signature paella as a way of honoring her.

This spirit of good food and community has permeated the walls of the Cisco Home factory. We planted a garden of vegetables for anyone working or visiting to take home. “We had the space for it, and were paying for water anyway, so why not start a garden?” Cisco said as he throws the cooled mung beans into the salad, mixing everything up and adding the finishing touches to one of his favorite dishes.

For Cisco, it all ties back into his mission of honoring the handcrafted. He said, “We live in a culture of buying things in a package. Things are filled with preservatives. I think there’s something incredibly gratifying about pulling a carrot from the ground and making it into something delicious with your own hands,” he said as he sets the finished product on the table, ready to serve.

Want to try your hand at Cisco’s signature mung bean salad? Try the recipe below!

The Road to High Point

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Long before Cisco’s pieces find their way to your living room, they live only in a sketchbook. This sketchbook is an unassuming accessory that follows furniture designer Jorge Gonzalez everywhere he goes, particularly at this time year as High Point Market approaches.

High Point Furniture Market in North Carolina is a biannual event that brings together furniture companies, wholesale retailers, and interior designers from around the world. For Cisco Brothers, High Point Market is an exciting time as we celebrate and launch our new designs. All our dreaming, designing, prototyping and perfecting culminates in Cisco’s High Point showroom.

Starting at the end of October, the Cisco design team gathered to work on new pieces for April. Drawing inspiration from Cisco’s travels and new sustainable methods Jorge sketched out this year’s 35 new pieces. This market, Cisco is focusing the new designs towards case goods. A welcome arena for Jorge, who loves working with metal and wood. As he explained, “In upholstery, a minute change can completely transform the design, whereas case goods can turn out exactly like my vision.”
Maurishka Pinedo, on the other hand, is a fabric aficionado. She contributes an expert understanding of color, fabric, and patterns to the design meetings. Having a small, core team of four streamlines the process. As Maurishka explained, “Cisco is the visionary, Jorge is on the technical side, Camilla Trigiano brings the marketing perspective, and I consider scalability.”

After weeks of these design meetings, digital drawings, and careful calculations Jorge’s models will be sent to production. The first stop is the wood factory, two blocks from Cisco’s headquarters and owned by Cicso’s brother, Pepe Pinedo. Emanating from the building is the sweet, earthy aroma of fresh sawdust. Patterns hang from the ceiling as craftsmen cut, glue, and sand down below. Jorge and Maurishka carefully inspected each new piece as it passed through the wood factory, giving notes to the woodworkers.

Every new piece will then find its way to the engineering area, a corner of Cisco’s headquarters designated for working and reworking the designs as High Point approaches. The design team tweaks and reviews the pieces every step of the way. Meanwhile, the craftsmen take notes and create patterns, documenting the precise materials necessary to later create an exact replica.

The team aims to create the best possible pieces, and thus doesn’t rush this prototyping process. As Cisco explained, “Every good idea comes to engineering area, but some stay here for years until they’re perfect. If something’s not working, we’ll set it aside to come back to in the future.”

The new collection is playful and innovative. Jorge described his inspiration, “I see furniture going towards small-scale pieces that are highly designed, dynamic pieces that are multifunctional.”
His face lights up talking about his passion, “I love seeing my design through to creation, it gives me an amazing feeling of pride and satisfaction when my ideas come to life. It’s very rewarding work.”

Our handcrafted collection, designed and manufactured right here in Los Angeles is about to hit the road to our High Point showroom. Each piece is the result of months of dreaming, designing, crafting, and creating; we can’t wait to show you.

If you’re also heading to High Point Market this April please join us at Mill Village!

A Family Legacy

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

“Manufacturing and making goods are essential for a city to be self-sustained. We bring that to our community, it’s a way to give back to the place I live.” -Cisco Pinedo

As the eldest of 5 brothers, Cisco Pinedo was the driving force behind building the family legacy that is Cisco Brothers. What started as a small family furniture business has grown to a buzzing ecosystem of over 200 employees. One thing that hasn’t changed over the past 20 years is Cisco’s commitment to family. Not only are Cisco’s own family members an active part of Cisco Brothers, each piece of furniture supports countless other families in our community.

Meet Carmen, the matriarch of a family that touches Cisco furniture throughout every step of the manufacturing process. Carmen has soft smile lines revealing her kind spirit, but a no-nonsense demeanor. As the head seamstress, Carmen delegates work to 15 seamstresses under her. Everything that needs to be sewn, from pillows to sectionals, passes under her watchful eye. 19 years ago, a friend recommended her to Cisco in the early days of the company. Since then she’s become a vital manager and has gone on to watch two of her daughters and a son-in-law join the Cisco team.

Nestor is Carmen’s son-in-law, husband to her daughter and father to her grandchildren. As the head of packaging, Nestor is the final pair of eyes before a piece of furniture heads out for shipping. What started as a piece of fabric under Carmen and her team of seamstresses, has transformed into a sustainable and beautiful piece of furniture. Nestor checks each piece for quality with a close attention to detail.

Once the piece is thoroughly inspected and packaged, it moves on to shipping where Nestor’s wife Yesenia stores and plans pick-up. A bubbly woman who rubs her pregnant belly, Yesenia oversees nine employees as Cisco Brother’s shipping manager. This is Carmen’s eldest daughter, with a clear resemblance in her kind eyes.
She is the last one to see the couch, cushion, or ottoman before it enters its future home. Yesenia recounted the tale of marrying Nestor at Cisco, after a year of timid greetings before he finally made a romantic move. Over the years they started dating, married, and have built their lives together. Their 5-year-old son Matteo and baby-on-the-way are living testaments to their union. Yesenia was excited to see a Cisco fabric called Matteo after returning from her maternity leave five years ago.

Here at the end of the manufacturing journey, she sees the products her family has helped create. From her mother’s early production sewing, to her husband’s careful checks, when Yesenia organizes shipment she takes pride in knowing one family’s new piece of furniture was a product of her family’s craftsmanship. Sometimes sales representatives will send her reviews and notes from customers, “and I am proud that my family got to participate in making it.”

Along this journey, one more family member takes part. Yesenia's younger sister and the newest one to join the Cisco team, Melissa, serves as a customer service representative. Like the rest of her family, Melissa has grown quickly at Cisco, moving from reception to customer service in just two short years. She is the go-between for customers, in-store representatives, and production, Melissa’s social ability and calm personality allow her to create bridges between our craftsmanship and your home. As she shared, “I love knowing we are one family working within the bigger Cisco family."

Everyone in Carmen’s family appreciates the boundaries and joys of working with family, they each have a job to do and expertise in their unique sectors. At the same time, each one of Camen’s daughters smiles when talking about working at the same place as their family. Carmen radiates a sense of pride in her work and in her family. As Yesenia affirmed, “My mom is so proud of us.”  From Carmen’s family to the Cisco family we will continue sewing, handcrafting, and creating furniture that is as healthy for the planet as it is for our community.

A Sustainable Garden

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Every piece of Cisco furniture is handcrafted at our headquarters in Los Angeles. From the outside, the factory blends into our South Central environment with graffiti along the side wall and California native plants lining the entrance.

Over the next few months, we’ll be taking you through the red brick walkway, up the outdoor teal elevator, and behind the scenes of a factory where natural daylight pours through the windows and craftsmen construct sustainable furniture. 

A garden extends across each sun-facing wall of the factory. This unassuming garden, like many things at Cisco, has a story and beauty beyond what meets the eye. Thang Tran is the IT expert and gardener at Cisco Home. He has an attention to detail that translates from data security to his lemongrass plants. His face lights up describing each plant and he laughs as he says, "I could talk about the garden all day."

Thang has carefully arranged the plants, okra to attract ladybugs and corn along the wall where heat radiates off the red brick. This corn, traditionally a summer crop, grows throughout the winter here thanks to Thang’s planning. He meticulously hand-pollinates each cob of corn so that every piece of silk will produce a kernel.
Thang started growing food 8 years ago at the Winston Smoyer Memorial Garden in Alhambra. He rented a plot of land and master gardeners taught him the best methods of gardening. Thang started bringing his thriving produce to Cisco headquarters to share with his co
workers. After a few months of fresh vegetables from Alhambra, the Cisco team asked him to help build an edible garden at the factory.

Less than a year old, the garden is already teeming with life- butterflies and ladybugs abound. New cucumber and Korean melon seedlings sprout in front of the corn. Past these seedlings are the chives from which Thang carefully cuts the young flowers. Especially good for your eyes, Thang explains, these expensive florals are a nutritious byproduct of the chive’s lifecycle.

A Vietnamese immigrant, Thang is especially proud of the lemongrass lining the corners of the garden beds. This plant is the key ingredient of a spicy soup that originates from Huế in the middle region of Vietnam.

Over one raised bed is a small pile of drying chard leaves. Thang lifts the leaves to show the life below them. These leaves have made a little compost pile, attracting micro-organisms and worms to the soil underneath them. Thang will move the leaves around the garden as they decompose, bringing with them an ecosystem for healthy soil.

The same care and attention Thang gives to the garden, he applies to his work in IT. He runs servers to the stores, heads the security system, and implements the back-up and disaster recovery plan. Thang attempts to teach and empower each person at Cisco to learn the basics of maintaining the IT system with him. He explains that everyone at Cisco is a part of his team; a claim his inviting demeanor makes easy to believe.

Want more Cisco stories? Sign up for our newsletter for a monthly peek behind the brick and into life at Cisco.

Vintage Guatemalan Textiles

Friday, July 07, 2017

If there’s one thing we love here at Cisco Home, it’s beautiful fabric. We draw from a curated range of high-quality, natural textiles from around the world to upholster our furniture. From imported, hand-dyed colors to patterns designed in-house, we pride ourselves on our array of striking options for custom furnishings. It’s this love of fabric that makes us so thrilled to come across a beautiful new textile. So what’s our latest fascination here at Cisco Home? ` morgas!

These vintage skirts are made using natural un-mercerized yarn that has been dyed with indigo. Mercerization is a processing method that smooths the yarn, making it easier for a machine to dye and sew. Un-mercerized yarn, however, is softer to the touch and retains the same feel wash after wash. Since the morgas are hand-dyed, the fibers can stay in this more natural state. A range of indigo dye is used to create a variety of blue and white yarns, colors and patterns that are unique to the village in which they were made.

Traditionally, the morgas were woven by the men in the village using a foot loom. The women would then take these large woven panels and sew the ends together to form a fabric tube. The seams were another opportunity to show off regional styles; bright colors and intricate embroidery would adorn these hems. This colorful trim is known as the randa of the morga. The finished morga is a large, tubular skirt that is tied onto the waist with a fanciful embroidered belt.

The natural indigo dyes and handicraft nature of the morgas make each skirt unique. When we came across this heavyweight, dark blue morga fabric, we could just picture how beautiful it would look on furniture. The dyed yarn is woven into a variety of pinstripe patterns, giving the textile an unparalleled sophistication. Vibrant randas cut across the fabric adding a playful dimension. We still get excited about each morga textile we come across knowing we can transform it into an elegant and one-of-kind home furnishing.

Open Air Market in Pasadena June 24th!

Saturday, June 17, 2017
Come one! Come all! Next Saturday, June 24th we are bringing a bit of the desert to Pasadena with some incredibly talented artists from the Joshua Tree area. In addition to these fantastic desert artists, the Los Angeles Makers' core crew will also be here with their stunning pieces. Artisans include: BkbceramicsUrthenSierra Keylin Jewelry, Aphrodeedee natural soaps, Nina Savill JewelryEcho + Air ClothingJill Aiko YeeO & M LeatherFiddle Fish, Hello Shelby, Bask Leather,and Blonde on Denim Embroidery!

With wonderfully handcrafted ceramics, leather work, clothing, jewelry, hand-poured soy candles and natural soaps, there is something for everyone! 
Thanks to our incredible neighbors, Whole Foods, we will be serving up refreshments and ice-cold lemonade to quench your thirst in between shopping at each artists' tent! Bring your friends, bring your dog, or bring your pet goldfish named Gil - as long as we see you next Saturday from 11- 5! 

Daleet Spector Design

Thursday, December 01, 2016


Shop with me

People often ask me where I shop for my clients – where I find great furniture, pillows, accessories and lighting fixtures. So, I thought it would be fun to take you along on some of my shopping trips and share my favorite spots.  As a native Los Angelean, a busy mom and an interior designer who spends way too much time in my car, I feel like I’ve explored so many (but not all!) the different parts of this massive city. And each little pocket seems to have it’s own personality which is something I love about LA. As a designer, Los Angeles is one of the greatest cities I could ask for because there’s no shortage of creative people nor amazing decor stores.

read the rest of the story here  

Refoundery Event

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Refoundery Event at the Los Angeles Design Center. Check out our photo gallery! 

Learn more about Cisco and Refoundry on the Huffington Post

You can donate now to help support Refoundry expand the conversation on our nation’s criminal justice woes and to engage people in solutions that work. DONATE NOW!

Dining Room Decorating: How to Choose the Perfect Chairs for Your Table

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The days when dining room tables and chairs came in matched sets are long gone, which gives you the freedom to be creative with your dining room design. While there are no firm rules about which chairs work with a table, there are a few strategies we share with our clients to ensure their dining rooms look inspiring and feel good for years to come. Here is our advice, and table and chair pairing suggestions to use as inspiration:

Echo, Don't Repeat
The Santomer Dining Table has a bold, organic look that would dwarf dainty chairs. The Fasano Chair echoes the table's strong form but with a curved top and soft fabric that provide balance.

Match Lines, Mix Materials
When the precisely straight lines of tables like the wood and metal Wilcox Dining Table and the wood Block Dining Table are paired with the Bertoli Slipcovered Dining Chairs it creates a seamless aesthetic, but the contrast of the chairs' white slipcovers with the tables' wood or metal elements ensures a multi-textured look.

Different Styles Add Drama
Combining very different styles, such as the clean-lined Gable Dining Table and the curvy and tufted Bo Dining Chairs, creates a chic look as long as both designs have a timeless appeal.

Our Experts' Best Interior Design Advice

Thursday, October 06, 2016

We asked some of our on-staff design gurus to share their favorite decorating tips of all time, from essential truths that everybody should live by to more specific advice that only the pros know: 

Invest wisely

"Spend the majority of your budget on art and the major upholstered pieces. Quality is important and will save you in the long run." —Rosie Pinedo, Cisco Home Costa Mesa

"Work with classic designs for the main pieces and make trendier items accessories or lighting, to have the room remain timeless." —Lance Terrile, Cisco Home Melrose

"You get what you pay for! Pay quality prices for the main pieces, like your sofa, your bed and the dining table that your family will gather around for years to come. Budgets sometimes don't allow for you to do everything at once, so make a design plan and buy to the plan, room by room." —Carla Sofia, Cisco Home Melrose

Color theories

"Fluidity is important. We want to float from room to room organically, so pick a theme and color scheme to use throughout the house. One color can be more prominent in one room while in the next it plays as an accent piece." —Carla Sofia

"When painting a room always pay attention to how the light in the room changes as the day goes on. Place large samples of a color on each wall so you can see how the color looks at different times of the day." —Lance Terrile

"Bold patterns and bold color can be sued in small spaces. A powder room for instance is a perfect place to use that must-have herringbone black and white wallpaper or floor pattern." —Carla Sofia

Style is in the mix

"Mix it up with different textures of upholstery and layers of textiles to amplify the space so it looks multi-dimensional, especially if you're doing a lot of neutrals." —Susie Ahern, Cisco Home Pasadena

"Beyond color and pattern, look for variations in textures of fabrics. You want to avoid repeating too much of the same weave." —Amanda Overton, Cisco Home Pasadena

"Don't forget to mix up the surfaces of your hard pieces too. Layer different materials look wood, metal, glass and mirror." —Rosie Pinedo

"Don't forget the legs of your furniture! You should mix it up, with some short, some long, some curvy and some variation in styles. Together this brings visual interest to a room." —Amanda Overton

"Two words about wood: Stains and grains! It's always important to use consistent or complementary stains and finishes, but the grains of the wood should never be repeated more than once. It's ideal to have one 'statement' grain like teak or reclaimed Douglas fir, then blend in other complementary woods such as antique oak or walnut." —Amanda Overton

A room's "envelope" is as important as the contents

"Always start floor up, whether it's hardwood, carpet or tile. Work from a color in the flooring to start your scheme for the room." —Lance Terrile

"Window treatments in most rooms are like the eyebrows to our face. They balance and anchor the features, so make them strong and pop. Mount them 1 foot higher than the windows, fooling the eye into seeing a taller and more prominent space." —Carla Sofia

Accessories define your style

"If your budget can't accommodate the total remake of your living room, a few pillows go a long way. Find your favorite print and get a lush, cushy pillow in that fabric." —Amanda Overton

"Every room should have a couple of vintage or global pieces, without going overboard." —Rosie Pinedo

"Let your investment pieces be a focal point. Have a family heirloom painting? Hang it above the fireplace. Gorgeous antique paneled screen? Use it as wall art." —Susie Ahearn

"I always say, 'If you love it, it will work.' Show off your old antique screen or grandmother's rocking chair by putting it front and center. Placement and balance are key. An antique seen can make a great room divider or a unique one-of-a-kind headboard—I have a Moroccan dressing screen that I use this way. Your grandmother's rocking chair reupholstered can fit into any setting. As long as the color scheme and balance is there, it will work!" —Carla Sofia 

The interior design experts at Cisco Home stores are full of great advice like this, and their services are free when you shop with us!