Designers to Watch

An Upbeat Sense of Adventure Infuses Danielle Fennoy’s Bright, Colorful Spaces

The living room of a Greenwich, Connecticut, house with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design

Whether she’s installing a lap pool in a West Village townhouse or curating an art collection for a 7,000-square-foot New Jersey home, interior designer Danielle Fennoy cultivates environments with fearlessness, wit and a sense of joy that can be both refined and exuberant.

Fennoy is celebrating 13 years at the helm of her own firm, the Brooklyn-based REVAMP INTERIOR DESIGN. Fond of adrenaline-filled moments, like a graffiti-covered dining room wall, and whimsical touches, like a comic-book-inspired powder room, she is expert at interpreting her clients’ tastes in unexpected ways. Her philosophy, that a little discomfort can be a great thing, embraces styles ranging from antiques to ’70s design and is writ large on the spaces she creates.

Danielle Fennoy, founder of Revamp Interior Design
Danielle Fennoy, founder of Revamp Interior Design, is a fan of lively and sometimes unexpected pops of color. Top: For the living room of a Greenwich, Connecticut, house previously owned by Helena Rubinstein, Fennoy reupholstered a curved sofa purchased from 1stDibs in a lush pastel-purple velvet. All photos courtesy of Revamp Interior Design

Raised in Washington, D.C., and California, Fennoy attended Denison University, in Ohio, where, she says, she always “pimped out” her dorm rooms, borrowing couches from the school’s facilities manager, building her own bookcases and delineating separate areas for study, seating and sleeping. After graduating, she attended New York’s Pratt Institute, earning a master’s degree in interior design. That experience, she says, really taught her how harnessing the “power of design” can completely change the feel of a room. “The energy of a space can transform someone’s experience in it,” she explains. “It can be very healing, very supportive, very reflective.”   

Introspective sat down with Fennoy for a little Q & A about the roles inspiration, aspiration and innovation play in her work.  

The family room of a Greenwich, Connecticut house with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
A custom Moroccan rug was the jumping-off point for the family room in the Greenwich house. “It just had all my client’s favorite colors and set the tone for the room,” says Fennoy.

How did you get started?

As I like to say, I grew up in a family of fixer-uppers. I thought everyone bought houses and went to Home Depot every weekend and picked out paint colors and tiles. I wasn’t really aware that it could be a profession. I just thought this is what you did in your free time.

The living room of a Greenwich, Connecticut house with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
Back in the living room, Fennoy paired the purple sofa with a bronze-finished coffee table from Arteriors and the client’s own art and artifacts from her time in Cape Verde. The colors in the border of the custom silk rug tie the room together.

What inspires you?

Sometimes it could be color, like the color of a flower in the springtime — maybe a multicolored tulip with curly petals. Mother Nature is grand and amazing! I might pivot off that shape or the subtle texture of the color pattern. 

The dining room of a Greenwich, Connecticut house with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
The home’s custom dining table is from Holly Hunt. “We loved it for its Mediterranean-style iron base,” Fennoy says. The wooden buffet is from Lawson-Fenning.

Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?

I’m a big fan of Patricia Urquiola. She’s been a legend in my book for a long time. Her lines are just so organic and innovative and bold but also comfortable. She puts all the things that I think are important for my design work into a chair.

What are your favorite periods or styles?

I was born in nineteen eighty, but my vibe is very much seventies modern. When I see those pieces now, I don’t think, “Oh, that’s seventies design.” It looks timeless. I’m attracted to stuff I won’t tire of, that I don’t think other people will tire of.  

I learned about Finn Juhl while studying abroad in Copenhagen, and I’m a big fan of his as well. I also love Arne Jacobsen. I like very classic Danish modern furniture because it’s timeless.

The cellar lap pool of a Manhattan townhouse with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
The project that put Fennoy on the map was a townhouse in Manhattan’s West Village. Not only does the cellar lap pool have a striking wall of windows, but it also boasts a skylight that lets the sunshine in. Both elements keep the space from feeling dank.

What is the project that got you recognized?

A West Village townhouse — there’s a lap pool in it. Someone else did all the detail work, but I came up with the idea, jokingly saying to my client, “What if we did a fishbowl?”  

We used a long, skinny space in the cellar, under the garden area, with an acrylic wall you can see through — you can see the water, you can see the swimmer. To put in a regular wall there would have made the space cavernous and cave-like. Light that comes through a skylight is part of the visual experience of the space. 

The living room of a house in Oyster Bay, on Long Island, with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
For the living room of another house, in the Long Island town of Oyster Bay, Fennoy chose a Living Divani sofa “for its flexible, low-maintenance vibe.” The custom wool-and-silk Eskayel Balboa rug brings together the clients’ love of blue and pink.

What are some of your current projects?

I have a seven-thousand-square-foot home in Rumson, New Jersey, that I’m working on for previous clients. I’ve gotten to know them through their taste in art, and I think that’s actually a really big thing. When you start to see someone’s taste in art, you can kind of tell who they are.

They like bold art, so I plan for the boldness: Where are the sight lines? Where are you going to do that double take? The art plays into the decision making. 

The bar area of an Oyster Bay house with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
The custom bar that Fennoy created for the family room of the Oyster Bay residence “really was the inspiration for the whole project,” she says. The design for the bar itself “began with getting the layout right, providing ample storage both above and below,” she recounts. “Then, it was developing the color scheme, which started with Eskayel’s Felidae Flint wallpaper.” For the rest of the room, she brought in “a neutral, family-friendly sectional — the Tufty-Two from B&B Italia — and a pair of Moroso Phoenix coffee tables.”

What sets you apart? What do you do differently or better than anyone else?

The joke in the office used to be that I was the space-planning queen. That’s where I start. Once I have the space laid out, the rest just falls into place. I come up with the rhythm for the space. How is it going to flow? How’s it going to function? Then, it tells you where you want the hierarchy, where you want the focal point, where you want the eye to go.

The dining room of an Oyster Bay house with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
In the dining room, colorful Moroso Mathilda chairs surround a Wüd Furniture Design Lolita table.

What is your ultimate career goal?

I love dilapidated buildings. If I had buckets of cash, I’d buy them all, and I’d renovate them and have them support various communities in different ways — everything from affordable housing to opportunities for businesses like community workspaces or coffee shops. I don’t want to run them. I just want to plant the seed and help create a blank canvas for businesses. 

The breakfast nook of an Oyster Bay house with interiors by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
A cowhide rug defines the breakfast nook while keeping it casual. LIGNE ROSET Ruché armchairs around the MOOOI Container table add to the relaxed vibe.

What, in your opinion, is the most overused design trope?

Subway tile. Honestly, I’m sick of it. Of the eleven renovations I have going on right now, probably eight have subway tile. Mostly, they’re in New York, and it makes sense. I have it in my own home! Instead, I’d use large-format stone tile. It’s timeless and easily maintained. I also love concrete tile, which is comparable with subway-tile pricing. 

The deck of an Oyster Bay house with decor by Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design
Fennoy can’t resist a good rug, even in an outdoor space. “For me it always starts with the rug,” she says.

What is the most underappreciated design move?

I think you should intentionally throw something in there that will make people uncomfortable. It could be a piece of furniture, it could be a specific color, it could be an unexpected light fixture. If the space is modern, throw in an antique bench. If everything is sleek, throw in some roughness for contrast. If there’s a lot of blue in the space, throw in some hot pink or citron. I think it takes a really confident designer, it takes a really trusting client, but that’s the stuff that lets you know you’re working with an artist.

Danielle Fennoy’s Quick Picks

Moroccan Berber wool rug with abstract design, 2000, offered by Art Oriental GmbH
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Moroccan Berber wool rug with abstract design, 2000, offered by Art Oriental GmbH

“I’m obsessed with Moroccan rugs. Not the expected neutral ones, but the bright, bold ones with unique colors and textures. The coloring on this one is even different for me, being more on the pastel spectrum, but I love that it’s both bright and calming. The pastels feel almost Swedish.”  

Moroccan Middle Atlas tribal rug, 2020, offered by Mehraban Rugs
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Moroccan Middle Atlas tribal rug, 2020, offered by Mehraban Rugs

“I wasn’t kidding when I said I’m obsessed with Moroccan rugs! The tribal pattern is divine, as is the color. I need to find the perfect project for this rug.” 

Pair of Mario Bellini Le Bambole modular elements, ca. 1972, offered by Nilufar Gallery
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Pair of Mario Bellini Le Bambole modular elements, ca. 1972, offered by Nilufar Gallery

“My favorite color on one of my favorite sofas. I wanna cozy up in this right now!”

Pair of Hans Wegner Flag Halyard chairs, ca. 1950, offered by CONVERSO
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Pair of Hans Wegner Flag Halyard chairs, ca. 1950, offered by CONVERSO

“I’ve seen these chairs for years and never sat in one until recently. I thought they would be awkwardly low and uncomfortable. Boy, was I wrong! This is literally one of the most comfortable chairs ever and so beautiful in any setting. If you’ve got space and cash, DO IT.” 

Mazzega purple Murano glass flush-mount chandelier, 1970s, offered by D'Lightus
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Mazzega purple Murano glass flush-mount chandelier, 1970s, offered by D'Lightus

“I absolutely love the shape of each Murano glass piece, and combining many to make this flush-mount is masterful. And in lavender? Oh yeah! Color in unexpected places is the most exciting thing.”  

Georges Mohasseb Distortion layered-wood coffee table, 2017, offered by Studio Manda
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Georges Mohasseb Distortion layered-wood coffee table, 2017, offered by Studio Manda

“This table is a great mix of woods that’s not going to disappear in a room! I think certain clients would look at me like I was crazy if I proposed this. But it’s stunning and a true statement.”

<i>Filtration</i>, 1978/1980, by Julian Stanczak, offered by Thomas French Fine Art
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Filtration, 1978/1980, by Julian Stanczak, offered by Thomas French Fine Art

“It’s super fun and super mod! I love a bold infusion of color.”

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