Daun Curry likes working with clients. She keeps a cadre of artisans busy on designs for fixtures, furnishings and finishes. She won’t hesitate to contact an artist whose work, displayed on Instagram, might lend a whimsical look to a bedroom. She’s wide-open to new ideas, and it shows in her work.
The interior designer, a 2004 graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York, started out by collaborating with anyone needing her skills and talents “When I first graduated I couldn’t get anything I wanted in the design industry,” she says. “I was hungry, doing fashion styling and working for a photographer – anything to do with art and design.”
It took a few years before bigger projects started coming her way. One was an apartment in Manhattan for Lori Gleeman, an executive recruiter, along with her hedge-fund-manager husband and their three-year-old twin sons.
The two women hit it off. “I am absolutely not a design person, but I think I built that muscle over time, working with Daun,” Gleeman says. “She knows what I like and don’t like, and what my functional needs are – there’s a collaboration in the design that Daun initiated.”
When the couple bought their second home in the Hamptons a few years back, calling in Curry was a no-brainer. After looking at a number of properties there, they’d settled on a 1980s, four-bedroom house with a pool, five minutes from the beach. It required a total gut renovation.
They wanted to create a retreat from the city – one that was relaxed, Bohemian and beachy. They’d spent a lot of time in St. Barth’s and liked the loungy feel of the island. “They wanted the house to be colorful, bright and light,” Curry says. “They wanted a place to entertain friends and family, and for it to be functional for them too.”
There were architectural decisions involved, like moving walls, adding closets and inserting picture windows for views of the landscape on the one-acre site. And there was Curry’s innovative approach to the home’s front door. “Daun designed a brand-new entry so it’s filled out – now there’s a beautiful foyer with a mud room and bath off of it,” Gleeman says.
Curry’s design took advantage of the home’s assets, but added modern touches. An existing sunken living room now has an inviting feel with an updated sofa, fireplace, television and pink glass chandelier. “We were charmed by it and wanted to maintain it, but to bring in its own style and function that’s better for this family.” says Courtney Bowe, an interior designer who worked as part of the Curry team on the renovation. “We wanted to keep its integrity, and give a nod to the original home.”
For other decorative gestures, Curry turned to her hand-picked team of artisans, eschewing trips to showrooms and stores except for sofas and chairs. “There are some really special things with custom furniture, and unique tiles and materials and elements that are bold and very intentional,” Bowe says. “One gentleman from upstate New York did some wood pieces –tables, a floating bench and a brass and walnut table in the entry.”
Carved leather panels at the entry were fabricated in London by artist Helen Amy Murray, after Curry worked in collaboration with her on the final design and layout.”They look like feathers falling down,” Bowe says.
The epitome of Curry’s touch is a window treatment in a guest bedroom, inspired by the work of an artist in Ireland, posted on Instagram. Its fabric is printed in a modern tie-dye pattern. “We worked with a textile student,” Curry says. “I asked her for watercolor on some drapes, and she said: ‘Yeah!’”
The home’s color palette is neutral – like the glassed-over white dining table – with pastel accents. “There’s some pink, some violet, some green, and some beachy colors,” Gleeman says. “Then there are a lot of natural accents like white oak, and a marble colored island in the kitchen. Every square inch of that kitchen was thought out.”
The overall effect is a mix of forward-looking lines combined with natural materials. “The home feels modern, but at same time it’s extremely comfortable and inviting and cozy,” Gleeman says. “It’s balanced with furniture and accessories that are warm.”
Around the pool behind the house, Curry designed a two-tiered deck and a patio paved with bluestone. “She did all the hardscape,” Gleeman says. “We worked collaboratively, but she sparked the ideas.”
The couple wanted an outdoor living space – an exterior room that’s both comfortable and beautiful, and surrounded by evergreens for privacy. “We redid the entire back and added a fire pit and spa to the pool area,” Curry says.
The home’s a success because Curry’s careful to understand her clients – and they trust her because of it. “Her inspiration comes from knowing what the client’s aesthetic is,” Bowe says.
It’s an intuitive approach that’s paid off in spades: Curry was tapped recently for the Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year 2019 Award, an honor London’s Sunday Times calls “The Oscars of the Interior Design World.”
It’s richly deserved recognition for a gifted designer, now on a roll.