Design Q&A with Chad DeWitt

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From the episodes of This Old House that he watched with his dad as a kid, to his appearances on HGTV's Designer Finals, television has had a significant impact on interior designer Chad DeWitt's career. Catch a glimpse of his work during the American Craft Council Show which begins August 8 in San Francisco. Here's a look at his room and how it evolved from the piece that he chose as his inspiration:

So, what made you choose the pieces that you selected for this year’s American Craft Council event?

The clean lines and the emphasis on texture rather than color is what really spoke to me.

Nested bowls by Lilith Rockett
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So tell us a little bit about how the pieces you chose inspired your design.

As a designer with an architecture firm, we design spaces for people to live and entertain in. I’m designing a kitchen space, because in the Bay Area, we’re such a food-centric culture. I like the synergy between the handcrafted, reductive form of the pottery I chose, and the idea that the best ingredients, prepared simply, create the best meals. My intent was to craft our kitchen in the same spirit.

Given the spirit of the show, can you share with us a story about DIY or craft that you’ve created?

I gold leafed a light fixture for a client. It was an absolute disaster, with gold leaf sticking to my fingers, the table and even the dog! In the end, the light fixture looked like wadded up gold-colored tinfoil, and we scrapped the whole idea.

Ha! That makes the DIY Don'ts among us feel much better! Okay, so, excluding fresh flowers in abundance or candles, what is your favorite styling trick to create a party atmosphere in your home?

I like playing a really visually rich avant-garde movie, with the sound turned off. My favorite is Danger: Diabolik which is a 1960’s Italian version of a James Bond movie. The main character lives in a modernist cave, while wearing matching head-to-toe lycra outfits with his obligatory female partner-in-crime. Together, they race in a sexy Jaguar XKE along Italian highways that remind me of our Highway 1. Other favorite movies to play are Andy Warhol movies, but you need to be careful. One time a concerned guest rushed over and said “They just threw a baby off the roof in that movie!" Uh, thanks Andy.

The completed room
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Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you serve?

A sect of monks who have taken a vow of silence. That way, they can’t complain about my cooking!

Ha! Okay, sometimes even the clients with the biggest budgets fall in love with an affordable item from a popular catalog or online store - what is one of your best affordable finds?

I’m really in love with the Design By Conran line that JC Penney created. The furniture is really well designed by Terrance Conran's team in the UK, really well-crafted and really well-priced. I’m generally turned off by the idea that I have the same Parsons desk that everyone else has, so I strive to use things that are more unique, so an additional part of the appeal of the Design By Conran line is that its very much under the radar.

Thanks, Chad!

For more about Chad, click here. To find out about the American Craft Council event, click here.

(Image credits: Chad DeWitt; Lilith Rocket; HwangDeWitt)

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