Within Studio left the NW Side for 19th century adobe
Updated: Jan 30, 2018
Move your office from Ina and Oracle to Downtown? Who does that?
That’s what interior designer Florencia Turco DeRoussel decided in July 2010 when she departed Cottonwood Plaza for a 19th century adobe with vigabraced ceilings in Barrio Viejo. She brought along her sister, husband and former business partner and now the four of them have their four separate businesses at the dual address of 88 Cushing and 301 Convent. Florencia is the principal at Within Studio, an interior design firm that brings a comfortable elegance to commercial and residential clients, including Spa One and Arizona National Golf Club and she was interior consultant to select the tile for Frost, A Gelato Shop. “It’s possible to get a Gucci look at a Target price,” she proclaimed. “All you need is guidance on where to spend your money.” Her husband James DeRoussel started up the environmental design firm ForeSite; her sister Carla Turco has her own graphic design firm that she calls *nontextual matters, complete with the asterisk, and Benjamin Cole, who used to work with Florencia, now bumps desks with her at his own architecture firm, Incite Architects. “We call ourselves 88,” Florencia said quite literally as so far there are no exterior signs announcing any of the businesses, only the 88 pronouncing the Cushing Street address.
Florencia just marvels at the pedestrian nature of Downtown and especially the historic character of Barrio Nuevo, which reminds her of her native Argentina. This contrasts greatly with the Ina/Oracle intersection.
“If a wanted a bagel from across the street, do you think I walked? No! I got in my car. Here, I put on my flats a go buy a bagel or walk to HUB,” she said. “I love Downtown. Parking is fantastic. Parking is not an issue at all.”
Many of Florencia’s clients are spread clear across town, far from Downtown, but she doesn’t see that as an impediment. “Not at all,” Florencia said. “It’s so easy to hop on the freeway or go down Broadway or Stone or Oracle.”
Just at the start of June, the foursome had their first wine and cheese gathering in their courtyard for an assortment of designers and architects for “open discussion about any topic. We want non-competitive conversation. We want to try to do this once a month. Your only entrance fee is wine.
They have also hosted a variety of events, including an Arizona Public Media event, a model casting call for a lingerie ad, a Watershed Management Group appreciation dinner, and the casting call and after-shop parties for a Spanish-language version of “The Vagina Monologues” called “Dia V.”
“I would say 80 percent of the people had not set foot down here, especially Barrio Viejo,” Florencia said about the newly energized Downtown. “Everybody loves it. They touch the walls. ‘That’s real adobe’ I think it’s all for the positive. They say ‘I didn’t even know it’s down here.’”
Florencia Turco DeRoussel’s ancestry is as exotic as her name. She describes herself as “quarter Swiss-German, quarter Argentinian, quarter Italian and quarter Spanish” and she married a Cajun
quarter Spanish” and she married a Cajun. Florencia was born in Argentina, but the family moved to New Orleans when she was five. The Turco sisters arrived in Tucson in 2002 to join Florencia’s then-boyfriend, James DeRoussel, who had preceded them by a year for an architecture job after graduating from Louisiana State University, where James and Florencia met.
After Hurricane Katrina, Florencia convinced her parents and brother to move to Tucson, too. Her father Carlos Turco started Belle Epoque Upholstery and has done awnings for Zin Burger and cushions for North, and her mother Elena Turco is a neuroscience researcher at the University of Arizona.
“My first year here, I hated Downtown,” Florencia said. “Then I came to love it, absolutely love it. “The first year here I was deathly afraid of Downtown. I got to see the beauty I didn’t see before.”
It took several years for Florencia to convert her love for Downtown to actually basing her business Downtown. The seed was planted in 2009 when Florencia and DeRoussell had their engagement photos shot in Barrio Viejo.
But they did not automatically settle on Barrio Viejo.
“We were looking at the Toole warehouses,” she said. “We looked at the Firestone Gallery area, the Lost Barrio. We looked at a lot of places on Congress.”
Then they came upon the corner property at Cushing and Convent, owned by he Rollings family. The Turco/DeRoussel design clan found a door linking he Cushing and Convent sides had been plastered shut for 20 years. With the doorway restored, the two properties are now united.
“Now you get to witness it like it was in the 1800s,” Florencia said. “ Don Rolllings has been a dream-come-true of a landlord,”
Florencia donated her time to pick a interior color palette for the Sonoran Institutes new Downtown offices, and she picked the interior colors and arranged to have new carpeting donated to The Screening Room, She and Carla also launched Ella Group (Spanish pronunciation), a self-defense and empowerment group for women.
“I strongly believe in giving back to the community,” she said. “If I have one wish, I would want to be an example that it’s possible to be part of the community, to give back, no matter how busy or complicated your life is.”
Like many others Downtown, Florencia has the same primary wish to immediately make Downtown a better place.
“I would love a grocery story with a little courtyard where you can enjoy your sandwich. It would do great down here,” she said.
Click here to download PDF of original online article