Anthony DiGuiseppe’s journey from the naval academy to interior design
On this episode of The Chaise Lounge, one of the top interior design podcasts, Nick chats with Anthony DiGuiseppe in New York. Anthony talks about his path from a military academy to Pratt, an influential colleague, and tips for hospitality design.
Getting to know Anthony
Anthony’s office is currently on the Upper East Side of New York. He prefers a vodka martini straight up with a twist and loves to spend time at his home in upstate New York, a 1740’s Dutch stone house. Anthony recently read The Tipping Point, where he picked up a sense of where things are going and how to identify life-changing events. He is also a James Bond fan and having Daniel Craig live in a neighboring town isn’t too shabby either!
What the Business Looks Like
Anthony’s interior design, architecture, and development firm is and has always been small, with a staff of five. He intentionally keeps it small to stay active in both the design and client interactions. Currently, there is a focus on hospitality and multi-family residences, but before that the group worked on residential projects, offices, etc. Anthony mentioned “cross-dressing,” which he defined as hotels wanting to feel like home, but homeowners wanting to feel like a hotel. In addition, consumers no longer have to always go through a designer to get product, so designers now need put it all together to look good and function.
When Did Anthony Become Interested in Interior Design?
As a freshman in high school, Anthony loved art classes and often won awards, specifically for an octagonal house model. He received an A even before he finished it! He then went on to attend school for naval architecture for 2 years, then moved away from the military. It just wasn’t for him.
Anthony didn’t have a portfolio to apply to other schools with so he put one together in his free time. He was accepted at Pratt, but the Architecture program was full. Anthony decided to check out Architectural Engineering.
Upon graduating and securing a job, Anthony started working on historic preservation for the Copihue Museum. There is a glass canopy on the entrance for which he had to come up with the structure.
Soon, Anthony went back to school in the evenings to become an engineer and took a position as interior assistant for Joe D’Urso, who was the most influential person Anthony has worked with. Joe taught him about the aesthetics of design. At the time, there weren’t many architecture jobs for “newbies,” so Anthony started working on interior architecture projects. He liked having his hands in all of the details you can see, feel, and touch.
Anthony has attended many conferences for hospitality. These are the places to meet people or even be a speaker. As a speaker, people look at you as the expert. He also made efforts to call and follow up with people he met. As a shy kid growing up, this was tough at first, but as he became more seasoned, he started asked people about themselves to break the ice. People were very friendly, and he became more confident and comfortable in giving advice.
Anthony likes to work on the entire project, not just one aspect. He loves working on spas to promote wellness and healthy living. Boutique properties are his favorite kind of project where the design work shines. Boutiques tell a story either per location or even per room.
Anthony has been in business for thirty-one years, and even though the cash flow and paying the bills still keep him up at night, he wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, he would like some additional office space and organization, but his clients like the current set-up!
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