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In Profile: David Anthony Chenault

In Profile: David Anthony Chenault

Shortlisted: for 2 categories

The International Hotel & Property Awards 2024

The International Hotel & Property Awards 2024

Name:David Anthony Chenault

Company: David Anthony Chenault

Position within company: Owner


Tell us a little about your background in design:

I have always had an eye for the irreverent beauty of design since boyhood. With a degree in architecture and an emphasis on interior design, I have been designing for more than 30 years. I am honored to be given a place as one of the Washington DC area’s most elevated and aspirational designers of both public and private spaces.

How would you describe your personal design style?

I would describe my personal design style as a moth- I metamorphosis into different vibes and moods to create for my client. My inspiration always steps one foot in the dark. I am moody, and I am a vibe. I believe in jumping as far as I can outside the box while still keeping one foot planted firmly inside to remember what was inside. I also like my design style to carry an unexpected element, something aesthetically unconventional- ugly even, to spark conversation about the space, starting with the “why?”

Where does your design inspiration come from?

My design inspiration is a gut feeling that comes once I encounter a space. It is almost like seeing a vision of the future as a finished project, after which I work backward to fulfill that vision. I also derive inspiration from old dark and moody European spaces, homes, and architecture from a bygone era.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

The current trend of clean and earthy is one that never left. It has transcended with a more youthful vibe as we strive to get closer to nature. There is also a trend towards vintage charm but with a modern edge. Mixing ultra modern with cottage charm is an unexpected vibe. Lastly, color is trending into mud and clay tones, inspired by decomposition- something we are very much into now.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2023 and beyond.

1. Muddy earth tones 2. Shades of Black 3. Library Core 4. Hand-painted walls 5. Vegetation

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

Texture, color, vegetation, and curation make up a recipe for perfection

What was your favourite project to work on and why?

Every project is special: every project involves passion and challenges.

How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?

These awards are essential in pulling some of the best designs into the forefront, and it is an inspirational way to see how upcoming talent sees and interprets the words today.

What projects are you currently working on?

We are blessed with a table full of projects for the next few years. We are currently working on transforming a historic diner into a more modern, moodier version of its old self. Another big project is a Mediterranean Tulum restaurant at a prime waterfront in Washington, D.C.

What was your favourite project to work on and why?

Like children, it is almost impossible to pick a favorite. But a project from years ago called Devils Pool is one. It is a Western lodge located at Big Cedar in the heart of the United States. As our first restaurant design, it occupies a special place in our hearts. At the start of our design journey, someone recognized our talent and took a chance with us. Magic happened.

What was your most challenging project to work on and why?

Our IHP wins from two years ago- Nara-Ya. While it was a work of art, it was challenging due to the pandemic constraints, timeline, and supply chain issues. Our budget dropped twice within the project timeline- yet we managed and persevered, and the outcome was spectacular.

Which products/services could you not live without when designing?

Creatives: We cannot live without our core team of creatives in custom upholstery and artisan finishers who bring our vision to life.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

Our aims and goals are to keep our minds open to trying new and unusual design approaches as we work on our projects, to create extraordinary designs while staying on budget, and to be more profitable as we do so! A win-win.

Final thoughts: tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations: Your most treasured possession?

My most treasured possession is my music library. It created the mood and set the tone for my days. It is inspirational, governs how I will be dressed and styled for the day and drives my approach to the projects on the design table. Music is my muse!

Your favourite holiday destination?

Our home, of course.

Your favourite hotel, restaurant & bar?

My favorite hotel is the Hoxton in Holborn, U.K. My Favorite restaurant is Trattoria da Mimmo in Venice, Italy.

Your favourite book, film & song?

My favorite book is The Boxcar Children. My favorite film is All of Us Strangers, and my favorite song is When You Walkin’ the Room, by Agnetha Faltskog

Your favourite food and drink?

My favorite food is pasta, and my favorite drink is a tie between hot tea and an Olde Fashion

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?

A favorite way to spend an afternoon is anything that allows me to softly be with myself and my dogs in the warmth of my space and home.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?

A dog rescuer!

Anything else interesting?

Sure, the creativity that lives inside my head, but we are limited to the number of words here, so this will have to speak for itself.

David Anthony Chenault has been shortlisted for 2 categories in The International Hotel & Property Awards 2024.

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