My life has run in cycles.  I’ve had my corporate life, my retailing life, and now I’m busy in a new one. I don’t believe you should do things for too long—only as long as they interest you and help you grow. My current cycle is that of author, lecturer and passionate traveler, with my husband Mel, in our favorite place Italy.
People Magazine said that I was “Nationally renown for her vision on how to make life more pleasant”. Though this was not one of my career goals when I started climbing the corporate ladder—first as a department store buyer and then as Vice-President for Vogue Patterns. Happily, my job required frequent trips to view the fashion collections and that led to my passion for antiques in the flea markets of Paris, London and Rome. (A Passion for Antiques, Antiques at Home). Success was gratifying, but my husband and I realized that corporate life didn’t hold the fulfillment we were seeking—we dreamed of traveling together.
However, we took a little detour and in the mid 1970’s we opened our Manhattan shop, Cherchez.  That Christmas, Cherchez was featured in many publications including The New York Times, Vogue, and House Beautiful, and to our surprise, there was a line of customers around the block! Cherchez explored new ground and set new trends constantly dipping back in to the past and presenting what we found in a new way. 
We started a home fragrance line—the term hardly existed at the time—and  recreated antique recipes. Room sprays, scented candles, oils and potpourris were created in our signature scents, Field Flower, Old English Rose and 16th Century Rondelitia.
Then in 1986, Clarkson Potter Publishers suggested we write a book and The Scented Room was born. It has become a classic, selling more than one million copies in countries around the world, including Britain, Australia, Japan, France, Germany and Italy.
There are now twenty-two books on subjects that range from flowers, antiques, decorating, gardening and travel—click Our Books to see them all. They have become well-loved classics for decorators, collectors and travelers who care, as I do, about how to live graciously. 
We closed our store in Manhattan and moved to our stone carriage house in the country. And, we have been able to indulge one of our passions, travel, fulfilling a dream to explore and write about Italy. We have had the most wonderful adventures, even living in our own Florentine penthouse overlooking the Duomo! And have written two more books, Dreaming of Florence, and Dreaming of Tuscany, filled with insider gems that we recommend to our good friends planning their trips.  We hope you enjoy them!

Grazie Mille! Barbara and Mel Ohrbach


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