Delphine Krakoff grew up in Paris, where she attended business school. Though her education was in business, it was her own interest in design that landed her jobs at the luxury houses of Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior in Paris, and later Coach and Ralph Lauren in New York. Her venture into the world of interior design came by chance when a friend offered her the opportunity to decorate his classic Hamptons beach house. Her innate sense of style and natural French flair made the transition into the trade seamless, and led to the creation of her own interior design company in 2000 – Pamplemousse Design.
A passionate collector herself for many years, with her talented husband Reed, she has access to the best dealers, galleries and auction houses around the world, and can act as a curator to build a comprehensive collection of decorative arts and design. Since 2000, her projects have included apartments and townhouses in New York City and Europe; country estates in the Hamptons, upstate New York, New Jersey and Connecticut; beach homes in Florida and ski lodges out West.
CovetED Magazine: Tell us about the beginning of your journey in the design world. How did the love for design emerge?
Delphine Krakoff: I was lucky to be born in a family of collectors where art and design were ever-present, but I went to business school and started my career in fashion – Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren.
CovetED Magazine: You transitioned from being an accessories designer to an interior decorator, creating your own design firm in 2000. What motivated you to make this change, and what were the main reasons?
Delphine Krakoff: After I moved from Paris to New York City as a twenty-something-year-old, I realized that the myth of the American Dream is actually real – you truly can become whatever you choose to be, as long as you work hard and you have talent. While in Europe it is traditionally more difficult to switch careers, I felt that New York was giving me the chance to reorient my career towards something that I had always loved – Interior Design.
CovetED Magazine: How would you describe your design signature?
Delphine Krakoff: I don’t have a furniture deal or fabric line, so I don’t owe any allegiance to any specific brands: I truly have the freedom to create for each client exactly what is right for them, for their family, for their way of life. In that way, each interior I create is different from the next. This said, you could probably say that my style is always a rich juxtaposition of contemporary and neoclassical forms. It is always evolving as a result of new projects, collaborations, and experiences.
CovetED Magazine: How does everything start when you have a new project in your hands?
Delphine Krakoff: I care very much about the interior architecture, the details, how the spaces flow into one another, so I get involved as early as possible so that I have a chance to influence these decisions. A successful interior takes far more than just good furniture – the space has to feel right, down to the crown molding and door handles.
CovetED Magazine: If you had to describe a design by Delphine Krakoff in three words, how would you describe it and why?
Delphine Krakoff: Luxurious, bold, personal.
“I care very much about the interior architecture, the details, how the spaces flow into one another, so I get involved as early as possible so that I have a chance to influence these decisions.”
CovetED Magazine: If you had to name the project of your career and your life, which one would it be and why?
Delphine Krakoff: The first Townhouse that I did in New York City. The excitement mixed with a healthy dose of trepidation was something one only experiences at the beginning of a new adventure. It set me off on a path that I love to this day.
CovetED Magazine: What is the main message that you want to pass to the design world with your beautiful projects?
Delphine Krakoff: Beauty and functionality are not mutually exclusive. Important art and design are meant to be lived with. Above all, a home needs to reflect the client’s way of living, not the designer’s.
CovetED Magazine: In your opinion what is the big change that the pandemic brought to the design world?
Delphine Krakoff: The positive change is that people care much more about their homes and their interiors, as they had to spend so much time locked in. As a designer, I have had to think creatively about how to make each room work double-duty, as many clients now need more than one office, gyms, playrooms… The obvious negative impact has to do with the supply chain issues and price increases that affect every single element of a home renovation, down to the 2x4s.
CovetED Magazine: What are your next steps?
Delphine Krakoff: I try not to look too far into the future. I love what I do, and feel so fortunate to be in the world of design. I’ve found that if you trust your instincts, they usually lead you in the right direction.
CovetED Magazine: You have turned heads with stunning reinventions of historic homes around the globe, so you’ve been an inspiration for many young professionals. Which piece of advice can you give to our enthusiastic followers?
Delphine Krakoff: Spend time studying the history of design, and focus on those names that you are drawn to. Then try to put all of these inspirations behind you, and remember what brought you to the world of interiors in the first place. As you embrace your own, unique voice, your own style will emerge.