As a dynamic and talented design specialist, Mariano Verrico Sr. (Mario) has been conceiving uniquely inspired room creations for over 25 years.

From his beginnings in retail, Mariano’s focus was on elegant and affordable accessories and furnishings for the home. He worked directly for Eugene Kalkin, founder of Linens and Things at Kalkin & Co. in Bergen County, NJ. Mariano then became a designer with Richard Roberts Ltd., a home furnishings store with locations in northern New Jersey.



In 2005, Mariano founded Contessa Designs in Verona, New Jersey, a boutique specializing in providing furnishings and accessories for the home that are a combination of both luxury and practicality. He then evolved Contessa Designs to become a full service interior and exterior design business with clients located in New Jersey, New York and Florida. 

Mariano is a master at guiding his clients’ room designs and layouts with fabrics and trims, wall coverings and window treatments, accessories and furnishings, including upholstery and re-upholstery. His specialty is custom color concepts.  In 2017 m.francesco was awarded best of Houzz for customer service efforts. 


Mariano has a strong commitment to the community in which he lives and works. In 2008, Mariano received the good Neighbor Award from the Township of Verona for his work on behalf of numerous charities.


From 2011 through 2014 Contessa Designs and Mariano Francesco operated two speciality boutiques in downtown Millburn.  During this time Mariano served as secretary of the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance, DMDA. With Mariano’s help and exuberant support, DMDA sponsored two very successful “Girls Night Out” events promoting shopping and dining in downtown Millburn.  It was during this time-frame that he launched the private label "Mariano Francesco"  line of natural fiber fabrics.  These fabrics are made of cotton, linen, wool and other natural fibers and are suitable for use in draperies and upholstery.


In 2016 Mariano opened his newest venture,  m.francesco in Montclair, NJ. a home furnishings design studio.  The design studio carries a full assortment of over 1,000 fabrics, wall coverings, upholstered floor samples, furniture, lighting, home decor, gifts and home fragrances.  

Coming soon our Design Studio at 20 Trinity Place


© 2018 by Contessa Designs LLC

537-539 Bloomfield Ave.

Montclair, NJ 07042



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