When husband and wife team Damian and Britt Zunino launched the firm Studio DB, the plan was to merge their backgrounds in architecture and fashion to craft beautiful yet livable spaces, ideal for clients who refused to choose between the two. Their wide breadth of knowledge allows the Manhattan-based firm to manage all steps of the design process, from architectural planning to styling, allowing them to immaculately tailor spaces to the needs of their client. Armed with a knack for juxtaposition, be it an architectural chandelier with chinoiserie wallpaper, or a pair of surrealist Guillerme et Chambron chairs partnered with contemporary sofas, the duo allows for both fantasy and functionality to prevail. To go along with their collection of DECASO favorites, the duo recently shared some of their most wanted insider secrets. Here, they share everything from the surprising design tip culled from their wardrobes, the world-class collection Damian’s been cultivating since childhood, plus their expertly curated NYC crib sheet.
Favorite way to work a bit of vintage into a room:
I love mixing vintage dining chairs with contemporary tables. Incorporating vintage lighting is also a great way to add visual interest to a room. It’s really all about playing with interesting shapes and the dynamic juxtaposition of old and new.
Favorite way to mix high and low:
I approach it the same way as I approach getting dressed: One great detail can elevate the entire look. The search for good design at all price points is what keeps our job fresh and interesting.
Favorite place to splurge and favorite place to dial it back?
Splurge invest in the architectural and details that are difficult and expensive to change later. And splurge on pieces your children can’t touch, like lighting. Otherwise, keep it simple and clean and don’t be afraid to let your home evolve over time. It’s important to invest in things you love, and will treasure and to remember. Those items forever elevate your home.
Favorite decorating trick?
We often paint the ceiling the same color as the walls; Especially in rich, darker colors. The result is a fluid backdrop for your art and furniture. We also love to play with scale and proportion. I love filling a wall with very oversized artwork or incorporating unusual lighting elements.
Favorite way to add drama to a room?
Favorite design risk you’ve ever taken?
The bar is set very high at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, and we knew risk-taking would be rewarded. Once, we were given the tiniest room that easily could have been a sweet, safe little nursery. But we decided to go dark and very sexy with it instead. The room was a moment of adult decadence, unlike much of our family centric body of work. It was a great exercise in going with your gut feeling and not looking back.
Favorite project in your portfolio (and why you love it)?
Our favorite project is our weekend home in Dutchess County, NY. Damian and I bought land, and probably designed 30 houses as our family grew and evolved, but we were patient and didn’t rush into it. We also didn’t exactly agree on the direction in which it was going! But one night, Damian stayed up until dawn creating the perfect plan, and that was it. And it keeps getting better every year. It’s home.
Favorite pattern (and how you love to use it):
Florals, stripes, or a micro-print – we use them all. And most importantly, we mix them up. Sometimes a colorful little swatch will inspire the palette for an entire room.
Favorite color combo:
Cobalt blue and rust. Camel and mustard yellow.
Favorite furniture makers:
Edward Wormley, Charlotte Perriand, Egg Collective.
Favorite room in your house:
Our bedroom! It has an open plan with a beautiful floating tub overlooking a mountain ridge and valley of trees. It’s the ultimate escape.
Favorite piece of art you own:
Our home is filled with works of art created by talented friends and family. Each work has a story attached to it, which makes it more meaningful. That said, we also have a crazy neon Wayne Gretzky portrait by Warhol that makes me smile.
Most unusual piece you’ve ever sourced for a project?
A hot-pink swirling slide, which was installed between two children’s floors in a townhouse.
Tell us more about your experience with DECASO!
The website is very clean and well designed. The beauty of the product shines through, which makes searching for furniture so much easier. It’s really a pleasure to dig in and discover new things.
What elements about the platform you especially love?
I especially look forward to The Curators’ Cut and discovering new galleries stateside and abroad. I find that working with DECASO has simplified the process of sourcing and procuring vintage and contemporary furniture, but in a beautiful way. The transaction is very transparent, which I appreciate.
Have you scored anything particularly special as of late, or discovered a dealer who’s inventory you’re particularly smitten with?
Yes! We just bought the coziest Fritz Neth Egg chairs from Galerie Andre Hayat, in Paris. I can’t wait for them to arrive.
Any special projects you’re working on that you’re browsing DECASO for?
We have a wide range of projects on the boards right now. Our studio is sourcing contemporary furnishings for a loft renovation in Tribeca, vintage pieces for a pool barn project upstate, and a mix of both for a classic Park Avenue apartment.
Favorite travel destination:
The mountains hold a special place in our heart, so we try to go out west every year to clear our heads. I also love Paris and traveling throughout Italy.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
A backcountry ski trip or Proenza Schouler
Favorite entertaining essential:
A well-stocked bar and a lot of candles.
Favorite thing to collect:
I collect Studio Pottery. I’m always curious about the history of the piece and the artist’s story. Damian has played hockey since he was a child and has one of the best collections of vintage hockey jerseys and masks in North America, though he’s very shy talking about it.
YOUR CITY: NEW YORK CITY
Tiny’s, the coziest of cozy.
Favorite hotel to recommend to visiting friends:
We love Troutbeck – beautifully designed by Alexandra Champalimaud – which is right down the road from our home in Dutchess County. In the city, The Beekman Hotel and The Standard High Line are favorites.
Favorite local flea market/vintage hunting ground:
When I first moved to NYC, I would wake up early on Saturday and scour the flea markets in the West 20’s. Now all of those empty lots filled with treasures have become condos. Sadly, it’s the end of an era. Now we search little shops in Brooklyn or in Millerton, NY for vintage finds.
Feature photo by Matthew Williams