dale cohen feature

Elegant Modernism – A Q&A with Interior Designer Dale B. Cohen

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Dale Cohen is an award-winning interior designer and has been recognized as the winner in Bath Design and a finalist in Interiors and Kitchen Design for Hamptons Cottages & Gardens Innovation in Design Awards. Dale was also a finalist in Small Spaces for New York City Cottages & Gardens Innovation in Design Awards.

Dale’s recent body of work has her poised to emerge as an established voice in the New York City design scene.  Dale’s use of dynamic and painterly colors paired with an acute sense of architectural “rightness” establishes her creative voice behind a distinctive body of interior design work that is architecturally elegant and unique in decorative composition.

Dale received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan and her Master’s in Architecture from Yale University. After graduation, she taught design at UCLA and Woodbury University in Los Angeles. She returned to the East Coast as a senior designer at Ingrao and at Drake Design Associates amongst their many projects. Dale was the lead designer for the renovation and restoration of Gracie Mansion, under the Bloomberg administration.

Dale founded her interiors consulting firm “dale cohen designstudio” and her work has been featured in previous Hamptons Designer Showhouse and Holiday House Hamptons editions. Dale was a speaker at the Architectural Digest Home Show’s New York Times Designer Seminars and appeared on LXTV’s OpenHouse NY with bachelor client Constantine Maroulis.

Dale’s design and lifestyle blog, BACHELOR by dale, was an affable commentary about her specialty in designing residences for men. Dale is currently writing her first book about her practice and her point of view as an interior designer specializing in working with men, “A MODERN GENTLEMEN’S FIELD GUIDE to Aesthetic and Practical Considerations” due out in 2019. This book will help illuminate, for designers, how to ask men the right questions when designing their home.

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2 Dale Cohen Headshot 2 (Photo Credit – Andrew Schwartz) COPYRIGHT CLEAREDPortrait of Dale Cohen; Photograph by Andrew Schwartz

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1. How and when did you first realize you wanted to work in your current industry?

I was 13/14 years old when I decided to study architecture. I was reading a lot of European history in school and marveled at the buildings.

I started drawing thoughtfully at around eight or ten years old, shooting photos and printing film at ten with my mom’s Pentax K100, then something approximating painting around elevent. I enrolled in the Atlanta College of Art for Saturday life drawing classes in high school and began working for a graphic design firm in the summer when I was 14.  I honestly thought I had no subject and while I loved painting, I wanted to do something more mentally challenging and architecture seemed like it would challenge me to use all my gifts and skills. And besides, I had lobbied my high school to take the woodworking course as opposed to home economics, since I already knew how to cook.

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2. What is your biggest career highlight to date?

I moved to Los Angeles just after grad school to teach, which I did for six years. I absolutely loved teaching.

When I returned to New York City, I was hired by Tony Ingrao to work on the home of Steve Cohen of SAC Capital in Greenwich. It was my first experience with a truly high-end residential design and interior architecture. Even though the style was not my own, I learned every minute of the day.

I was hired by Jamie Drake to be the lead architect on renovation and restoration of Gracie Mansion under the Bloomberg administration. It was an intensely aggressive project schedule, but we completed the design and construction and installation work for the 12,000 square foot mansion in less than six months. It was crazy exhilarating.

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3. Any celebrity clients or memorable stories related to your business that you want to share?

One of my most prominent clients is Dottie Herman, CEO of Elliman Real Estate.

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4. How would you describe your personal style?

Elegant modernism, i.e., the lines are clean and beautiful, the mood is calm, and you will be comfortable when you sit down.

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5. What is a typical day in your life like?

Upon waking, I drink tea or water and then frame my day; either I will do a quick note to myself with my goals for the day and what I am grateful for, or maybe I do a little watercolor sketch to clear my head.

During the winter, I ice skate one or two mornings a week and practice yoga one or two mornings a week.

Then I answer emails and get into the swing of the day, whatever that holds.

Around 5:00 p.m., I look at my calendar and figure out if I need to change for whatever event I will be attending – which might be an art opening, an architecture lecture, or an alumni event — and then head out the door around 5:30 or 6:00 p.m. for the evening.

Hopefully, I am home in time to watch or listen to Rachel Maddow at 9:00 p.m., then I do some more work before I head to bed at midnight, hopefully.

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6. What are three never-miss events on your calendar?

AIPAD (The Association of International Photography Art Dealers) The Photography Show. It is my favorite art fair of the year.

The Decoration & Design Building’s biannual Market Week.

TEFAF NY Spring Fair is magical and old world-inspired with a modern touch. It is an ethereal and inspiring art and design fair.

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4 Park Ave Living Room (Photo Credit – ©dale cohen designstudio) COPYRIGHT CLEAREDPark Avenue Living Room; Photo Courtesy of dale cohen designstudio

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7. What are your three favorite locations in the city you reside in?

The Met Museum – About once a month I head there at around 6:00 p.m. on a Saturday evening. The museum is lit beautifully, especially the renovated Greek and Roman galleries.

The esplanade at Carl Schurz Park, which is one block from my apartment along the East River. I breathe easier once I get to the water’s edge.

Wollman Ice Skating Rink in Central Park – I love being at the Park during the winter. The air is crisp, it is quiet, and I am not allergic to anything. I prefer to do sports outdoors, even in the winter. I began skating about six years ago, by accident, when I learned about their Adult Skate Academy.

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8. What are your three favorite restaurants?

I do not eat gluten or dairy and I try to stay away from sugar, so it can be complicated.

Perry Street Restaurant for a long lunch on Saturdays. The food and service are impeccable.

Crave Fishbar has fantastic oysters (east coast and west coast) which I enjoy with charred Brussels sprouts.

SUGARFISH by Sushi Nozowa (I go early to avoid the lines) – While it may not be the crème de la crème of sushi, the food is good, the menu is uncomplicated, decision making easy and that works for me – I only wish they would serve ponzu sauce.

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9. What about your three favorite bars?

  • The Modern at MoMA;
  • The Lobby Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental New York (with its view of Columbus Circle); and
  • The King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel

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10. What has been your best New York moment? What about the worst?

My worst moment was during the super storm Hurricane Sandy in 2012. I lost all my storage items, which had most of my drawings from graduate school and many of my architecture and design books.

My best moment was when I bought my apartment on the Upper East Side, demolished it and then rebuilt it, making it into a loft.

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11. Name your go-to: 

Outfit – Black cropped wide leg trousers and cotton black turtleneck or silk top from Vince;

Fragrance – the original Coco by Chanel;

Movie – far too many to choose one, this season I was blown away by the new A Star is Born;

Book – Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, Virginia Wolf’s The Waves, and Caleb Carr’s The Alienist; and

TV show – for right now – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime and the remake of Poldark on BBC One.

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12. Name your favorite vacation spot, and the hotel you stay at while there. What makes these spots special?

London at the Principal Hotel – it is fancy, but not over the top. It is old world on the ground floor with big beautiful, gnarly spaces, and the rooms are perfectly appointed. I love the location, right off the quiet and perfectly nestled British Russell Square, and in the middle of town so I can head to Kensington or Shoreditch with ease.

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3 Park Ave Dining Room (Photo Credit – ©dale cohen designstudio) COPYRIGHT CLEAREDPark Avenue Dining Room; Photo Courtesy of dale cohen designstudio

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13. What are your three most played songs?

I prefer to listen to entire albums rather than song by song, but here is a selection of songs from albums I listen to. With that being said, these past two years I mostly listen to NPR and political podcasts: Trump Inc., Bag Man, Why is This Happening and Stay Tuned with Preet.

Adele – 25– Sweetest Devotion;

Lady Gaga – soundtrack A Star is Born– Shallow; and

Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials– No Light, No Light.

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14. What are three items you couldn’t live without?

  • Cuisinart Professional food processor;
  • Apple laptop; and
  • Ultra-fine black felt tip Sharpie pens.

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15. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg – she’s an extraordinary human being who has done more than any person in U.S. history to forward the cause of women.

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16. What is something people might not know about you?

I laugh at myself when I cook, and I often dance around the kitchen.

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17. When did you feel like you had “made it” professionally?

It is a constant process for me. One rarely feels like you’ve made it because humility is critical. Just when you think you have it all handled, something ends up biting you in the toosh. With that said, I know that I am a much better designer today than I was ten years ago.

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18. Do you have any advice for those aspiring to work in your industry?

Dedication, dedication, dedication!

You must continue to have faith in yourself and work in the face of no results.

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19. What changes do you think your industry will undergo in the next five to ten years?

I am not in the habit of prognosticating. I do the work in front of me and work hard to be of service to my clients, making beautiful homes that reflect who they are and who the aspire to be.  I think of what I do as ballet for the physical world of interior. We work assiduously to make it look easy, however effortlessness requires years and years of dedication to one’s craft.

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20. Is there anything else you’d like to share, discuss or promote?

I specialize in designing for men. Seeking to understand the difference in brain patterning in decision making between men and women as it relates to the design process. I am working on a book on this topic, A MODERN GENTLEMEN’S FIELD GUIDE. The proposal is complete, and I am looking for a publisher. Fingers crossed it will be published in 2019.

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Lead-In Image (“Southampton Show House”) Courtesy of dale cohen designstudio.

5 Southampton Show House (Photo Credit – ©dale cohen designstudio) COPYRIGHT CLEARED