Welcome to our new feature in which we interview local personalities: agents, architects, interior designers, builders, anyone who plays a part in the world of Hamptons real estate. Want to get in on the fun? Drop us a line!
Dee Ann Federico is the principal of Dee Ann Design LLC. A California native, Federico blends traditional design skills with what she calls “spiritual chic”: for example, layouts that inspire positive energy and materials that are ethically sourced. Federico has just become a prayer chaplain as part of her spiritual practice and affiliation with New Thought Spiritual Center of Eastern Long Island in Water Mill. Yesterday she performed her first wedding ceremony!
You’re from California originally. How did you end up in the Hamptons? Do you ever miss California?
I started my career as a textile designer in the garment industry in Los Angeles, traveling to New York for seasonal markets to meet with clients. When I started, printed fabric was hot. Many of my designs could be seen on TV shows like Friends, so it was an exciting time.
I had always loved New York. Although the weather was not so appealing, I loved the energy, the culture and the light. I met my then husband who was on the executive team of the company that I worked for. We got married and moved to New York City. I still travel to California several times a year as my family is there, as well as for design projects. I still feel at home when I am there; I am so blessed to be on both coasts.
Why did you choose a career in design?
When I was six, I started drawing all over my white shirts and the white walls of our house. It drove my mom crazy at the time, but she said she always knew I would be a designer.
We found an apartment for ourselves on Riverside Drive with Hudson River views that needed a gut renovation. At the same time, we bought a fixer-upper in the Hamptons and I renovated that simultaneously with our city apartment. After the projects were complete, I realized that I had assembled a great team and created beautiful homes, so I enrolled in New York School of Interior Design.
While enrolled, I became pregnant with my son Connor, and I landed my first design project right before he was born. I was so lucky. My first client was a world-famous violinist who had a classic prewar apartment four blocks from my home. She was going to be at Tanglewood for three months, and she entrusted me to create a home that was a reflection of her. My son learned to fall asleep to the sound of hammers. When she arrived and saw her new home, she called me crying, and I panicked. She then explained they were tears of joy. That was when I was sure I had chosen the right path.
What would you call your style as a designer?
Unique chic. I have worked in so many styles, from classic traditional to super modern. Each client and project are unique. I always invite and encourage my clients to add pieces that reflect what has meaning for them, from beloved family heirlooms to travel treasures.
What kind of people seek out your design help?
I am blessed to have clients of all kinds, from boomers to millennials, from Hamptons weekenders to families of original settlers on the East End. I have projects and clients on both the East and West Coasts, and welcome new projects anywhere in the world.
You’re active in the arts, music and spiritual communities. How does this affect your design work?
Painting, singing, meditation and prayer inspire the flow of creativity. I can be a channel to design spaces that are beautiful and perfectly functional for each client’s needs and desires.
How does “spiritual chic” translate into design? Are they mostly outdoors or indoors?
Spiritual chic spaces can be one room, or an entire home, inside or outside. As the world is becoming more chaotic, there is a need for spaces that invite harmony.
In studying with feng shui masters and spiritual practitioners, I have expanded my vision as a designer to create environments that follow spiritual principles.
Spiritual chic spaces include layouts that enhance the flow of joy, health and positive energy, furnishings that are sustainably resourced and deliciously comfortable. Colors and materials reflect the beauty of the natural environment, especially our precious coastal environment.
Spiritual chic spaces open our hearts and minds and connect us to love so we can carry that from our homes into the world.