Vanessa Deleon was the International Furnishings and Design Association’s 2007 Rising Star of Interior Design. The designer spoke with us about glamour, minimalism, and inspirational Christmas gifts.
After years of creating interiors for customers of her family’s furniture company, Vanessa Deleon went to Berkeley College for Interior Design and started her own firm. Since 2000 Vanessa Deleon Associates has designed both residential and commercial spaces, as you may have seen on HGTV or "Restaurant Impossible." Next up: a documentary about the demands of her day, and a weekly makeover segment during WPIX 11’s 5pm news in New York.
ID: How many hours are there in a day that includes meeting with clients and builders, running two offices, writing, consulting, and TV appearances?
Hours?! I hardly sleep! I truly work 24-7, even in my sleep, believe me. I'm blessed to have an amazing staff that can help me with all my madness.
ID: Speaking of madness, how does "Restaurant Impossible" compare to a regular day of work?
"Restaurant Impossible" is almost impossible. Creating a concept that would work and then implementing it in 2 days is not the way I develop a plan for my clients. I meet with them, get a feel for what they want and like, and it takes me some time to put something together to show them on paper. Then it’s another few weeks to actually get it done because orders take time, especially if they are coming from overseas. With "Restaurant Impossible" I find whatever I can to make things work.
ID: You describe your style as "glamilistic." Does that attract a particular kind of client?
A bit! I love glamour and minimal combination. The mix of both can attract a modern clientele or a classic type of client. We are seeing more of our clients open to more of an eclectic mix.
ID: What is the project you're most proud of?
A residential beach home project in Point Pleasant, New Jersey that I did from the ground up. I was able to develop many structural elements, such as placement of bathrooms, and all of the finish materials for the exterior of the house; everything from the color of the home to the slip for their boat. It took about two years to complete.
ID: Who has most influenced your work?
ID: What emerging design trends have you noticed recently?
We will see a lot of rustic raw wood with classic crystal touch combinations, and lots of Ikat fabrics.
ID: Where do you go for inspiration?
Everywhere and anywhere: new restaurants, new boutique hotels around the world, mom-and-pop coffee shops, SoHo, flea markets, museums, trade shows, fashion shows, and the streets of New York.
ID: What do you do to relax?
I go to the Mandarin Oriental Spa in New York and Water Club Spa in Atlantic City, and eat at great restaurants.
ID: When did you realize your career would be in design?
When Santa gave me my Barbie Dream House. I was obsessed with decorating it. I was 8 years old.
ID: What advice do you have for designers-to-be?
My triple-D motto: Drive, Discipline, Dedication. It’s a great recipe to follow in this business.