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In Profile:
Newport Yacht Interiors

In Profile

by Newport Yacht Interiors

Shortlisted: Refit

The International Yacht & Aviation Awards 2024

The International Yacht & Aviation Awards
Newport Yacht Interiors

Name: Cheryl Smith DiGennaro

Company: Newport Yacht Interiors

Position within company: Founder/Designer/Owner

Tell us a little about your background in design:
My introduction to interior design began at a very early age. My mother was an interior designer and would bring my sister and I along to her clients’ stately and grand homes on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, while she hung wallpaper and staged their homes. I was intrigued with the process of selecting a variety of materials and combining them like puzzle pieces to make a cohesive overall scheme.

I hold a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Design from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. From Newport to Boston to San Francisco, (and finally back to Newport), I took on interior design projects on a freelance basis for many years. I began my professional career in yacht interior design in 2005, working for a yacht interior manufacturing firm as the designer. During these 8 years, I committed to learning the necessary processes of yacht interior construction, technical needs and functionality demands. I knew one day I would open a Yacht Interior Design studio, allowing me to offer my clientele full-service design and outfitting options. In 2013, I did just that and Newport Yacht Interiors was an instant success.

How would you describe your personal design style?
My personal design style is contemporary with an unexpected twist or unique design element. I lean into clean lines and uncluttered spaces, creating luxurious living environments that invoke a sense of tranquility.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
I find inspiration for my designs from a variety of elements. My first step is to curate a balanced palette that will set the tone for the base of my selections. This allows me the freedom to make a variety of combinations within that palette to differentiate living spaces. Secondly, I am obsessed with textiles and when I find the right one, it can drive the direction of the remaining appointments. The actual spaces I am designing are another main source of inspiration. I read the space and envision how my clients will interact with that space and what I need to provide to
elevate their living experience.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?
In 2024, I see design is incorporating much more technology and multipurpose appointments. Smart technology is
being utilized in new and groundbreaking ways.

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?
When it comes to creating a design scheme, I prioritize balance and proportion. That is not to say that everything needs to create symmetry. Balance and proportion can be designed to purposely create tension between appointments, in an eclectic manner… my point is making sure it is done intentionally.

What was your favourite project to work on and why?
The transforming refit of S/Y Bundalong, my submission for this competition, is a project which began with a simple refresh of soft goods within a 4 month time frame. Once we reviewed the yacht, we realized this project required far more than we expected. Bundalong needed an extensive refit from top to bottom, literally, still within a 4 month window. I suddenly had to pull in 5 of my subcontracting teams to tackle the enormity of this transformation. Timelines, deadlines and material availability were quite challenging in this very short timeframe. The galley cabinetry and countertops were refit with numerous custom storage units, appliances were updated, 3 dining tables were replaced with custom made designs, all seating and lounge areas onboard were redesigned with new cushions and upholstery and new exterior furniture was provided. The spacious salon was reimagined with all new furnishings and décor. The 4 staterooms were stripped down and refabricated floor to ceiling, including new window treatments, numerous bedding and linen sets for both owners and charter guests and custom artwork made specifically for each stateroom.

Newport Yacht Interiors
Newport Yacht Interiors
Newport Yacht Interiors
Newport Yacht Interiors
Newport Yacht Interiors

How important are The International Yacht & Aviation Awards to you?
The IY&AA is an integral part of the yachting and aviation design community. It offers an indispensable opportunity as a global platform for exposure, professional camaraderie and business growth.

What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a Hampton 658, being built in Shanghai, which will be stateside in April. Simultaneously, the Sirena 58 I selected the build finishes while this was being built in Turkey, has arrived in the US and we will begin designing the soft goods, décor and outfitting items shortly. Also on our dock, is a full refit of a 54’ Offshore, a 57’ Hinckley new build, and 48’ Hinckley new build. I typically have 6 projects going at all times.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?
My goals for 2024; to keep up with all the projects I have on my desk.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself and your daily inspirations:
My daily inspiration comes from my drive for success. Success to me is fulfilling my clients’ wishes far beyond what they had expected or envisioned. Born and raised in Newport, RI, I am continually inspired by the ocean; the beauty, the moodiness, the unpredictability, the calming effects all have a way to affect me.

Your favourite holiday destination?
My favorite holiday destination is Italy. I am in love with everything Italy; food, fabrics, landscapes, people and of course the wines!

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?
My favorite way to spend an afternoon is to spend the day outdoors either hiking or sailing then sharing a great meal and bottle of wine watching the sunset with people I love.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?
If I chose a different profession, I would have continued with my earlier career of a fashion designer. My line of clothing sold in a few boutiques on Newbury Street in Boston, then also in San Francisco. I worked in the corporate womenswear field in San Francisco and even taught Fashion Design at The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising for a few years. I had a great time teaching the up-and-coming generation, and I was delighted to receive the highest review score of a new instructor. I am fortunate that I have very interesting career options.

Interior Designer: Newport Yacht Interiors

Photography: Blink Gallery

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