Christopher (Topher) Gabellini runs his interior design/antique/faux finish and architectural design business in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Nestled in the community where he calls home.
Topher is a graduate of Spring Garden College of Philadelphia, with a major in interior design and minor in industrial design.
Returning from school after earning a bachelor’s of fine arts, Topher joined his father’s firm, Gabellini Design. Together, they did interior design for residential and commercial properties, including country clubs - Lehigh and Dupont in Delaware - and industrial properties in Texas, California and Switzerland.
Topher's father, John Gabellini, had started the business in his earlier home in Vera Cruz in 1947. Before starting his own business, John had worked for Max Hess, founder of Hess’s department store. John had been responsible for buying all the antiques they used to decorate the flagship store in downtown Allentown. “He also purchased all of the chandeliers and did a lot of the floor layouts for Hess’s,” Topher says. Topher says his father also specialized in graphic design and was responsible for the now-famous Hess’s logo where the name Hess’s is written in cursive and repeated in red, blue and green.
Topher has taken the original Gabellini Design and added services that his father didn’t provide. Among them are faux finished and murals. Topher spent a year training in Brognoligo, Italy, outside of Naples, to learn a technique that has been handed down for many generations. Topher used his faux finishing craft to paint a trompe l'oeil in the style of Picasso and Miro at Pistachio’s Bar & Grille at the Shops at Cedar Point in Allentown. The late Pistachio’s owner Sid Stecher "Topher did a wonderful job.”
Topher is able to find decorative finds, including antiques, in Bucks Country and in the antique district of New York. “Sometimes I find furniture at incredible prices at shops where they don’t know what they have,” he says. Other times he shops in stores that are open only to members of the American Society of Interior Designers.
If Topher needs a piece for a client that he can’t find or is too tall for today’s homes, which have lower ceilings than earlier homes, he might have a reproduction made. He uses the same craftsman for his reproductions that his father did for this task. The craftsman is local, but like his recipes for his glazes, Topher says he’s a trade secret.