Dara Caponigro has worn many hats in her career (all of them incredibly stylish, of course). As a magazine editor, she worked as style director of domino (a publication she helped launch), and as editor-in-chief of Veranda. Today, she’s the creative director of iconic design house Schumacher, where she’s helped guide the brand into the digital age and also launched its uber-popular print publication Frederic (which you should certainly subscribe to—we’re loyal readers). Dara’s gift for storytelling and embracing diverse styles of design has brought the house to new heights and into totally new and exciting arenas.

We spoke with the editorial impresario about how her personal aesthetic has evolved, how Frederic developed into its current form, and which trends she’s loving now—along with the ones she’s not. See what she had to say — along with an inside view of her chic home in Riverdale, New York — and be sure to shop her curation of Chairish favorites while you’re at it.

Shop Dara Caponigro’s Chairish Faves >>>

Dara Caponigro
Dara Caponigro. Photo: Melanie Acevedo.

How has your personal aesthetic changed since you joined Schumacher — or has it? Do you find yourself embracing different patterns or materials than you might have before?

Although my aesthetic at home has (mostly) always skewed more quiet, I pride myself on being able to appreciate all good design, whether it’s wildly colorful or quietly serene, maximalist or minimalist. That comes from my experience as a magazine editor — you hone your eye and learn to appreciate things that are not necessarily your personal taste, but that are creative, imaginative, well-executed, and have authenticity regardless of the style. 

When I was younger and I’d do a magazine shoot of a great house by Bunny Williams or Charlotte Moss or Vicente Wolf or another masterful decorator,  I’d come back and say “I want my house to be just like that.” Then, a week later, I’d do another shoot and say the same thing. Eventually, I learned to appreciate so many styles that weren’t necessarily my own. It was an eye opener and great fun, albeit sometimes confusing when it came to pulling together my own spaces. At Schumacher, I get to do the same thing when working on new collections, channeling so many different aesthetics and ideas. Now that I’m older, though, there is none of the confusion that goes with it. I’m more comfortable in my personal choices and feel incredibly lucky to be able to work on so many diverse collections in much the same way I was able to work on different kinds of magazine features. 

One of the reasons I love working at Schumacher is that there are so many stories we tell. We bring out collections because we are passionate about the ideas behind them — and we have lots of ideas! Our range is really broad, but everything shares a common ground: a discerning eye, a passion for what’s next, an appreciation for what’s come before, and a drive to make things with great care and attention to detail.

Schumacher’s much-loved print magazine The Bulletin was renamed Frederic in early 2021. What brought on that change, and how has it evolved since launching?

The Bulletin was one of those things that evolved and evolved and evolved again. The very first issue was called The Schumacher Bulletin and was really a clever way to market Miles Redd’s first collection with Schumacher. People loved it so we wound up doing it again but with a broader lens. Eventually we dropped the “Schumacher” and it became just The Bulletin as we started to report on design in the world at large. 

Frederic launched at the beginning of this year and was an instantaneous hit. It’s really the magazine that I always wanted to create and I suppose it’s the culmination of all the best parts of the magazines I’ve been a part of — House Beautiful, Elle Decor, domino and Veranda. And the big surprise is that Schumacher doesn’t have the leading role in Frederic. It’s evolved to be a magazine devoted to all good design.

The cover of Frederic. Courtesy of Schumacher.

As an editor and creative director, you’ve watched the evolution of a lot of careers. Who are some of your favorite designers working today? Or if you can’t pick a favorite, who are some up-and-comers you’re loving these days?

I definitely can’t pick a favorite but in terms of designers who are coming into their own, I have a close eye on Virginia Tupker, who has an artist’s approach to her interiors.

What’s a favorite design trend you’re seeing right now? And what’s a trend you’d be happy to see disappear?

You’d never believe it from looking at my own house, but I am loving the Granny chic thing that’s happening right now — romantic florals mixed with checks and stripes, slipcovers, a ruffle here and there. 

In terms of what I’d like to see disappear, I’d say an obsession with color. I adore color, but the fact is that not everyone loves to live with a lot of color (myself included) and there can be a disdain around that inclination. Some of it comes from Instagram — I mean, let’s face it, things with a lot of color pop more and tend to perform better on Instagram. But decorating is very personal. A house is the greatest reflection of oneself and you shouldn’t be shamed into living with a lot of color if it isn’t your thing.  

Schumacher is obviously an iconic brand that everyone in the design world knows, but what’s something that people might not know about it?

That we’re as passionate about how things work as we are about how they look. We are constantly innovating and making things better and that involves everything from our website to customer service.

Dara Caponigro
Photo: Max Kim-Bee

On Chairish & Vintage Shopping

How does sustainability factor into your design choices and love of vintage?

I’ve been an environmentalist since I was 10 years old and am very proud to have overseen the two green issues at domino. It’s something that’s so important to me and it’s one of the reasons I’m such a big proponent of vintage and antiques. And, of course, there’s nothing like a vintage piece to add depth and interest to a room. 

Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have? What’s a dream piece for you?  

I’ve always wanted the Frank Gehry Hat Trick chair — he redefined the chair with that design — and it is surprisingly comfortable… but, alas, I have no place for it.

Why do you find Chairish compelling?

I find Chairish compelling because one can still find deals, you never know what you are going to find, and I love how the personality of the sellers comes through.

What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?

I love this ​​1950s wrought and painted iron mirror, this set of vintage Nason Moretti honeycomb barware, and these vintage Danny Alessandro fireplace tools in polished chrome and Lucite.

Dara Caponigro
Photo: Max Kim-Bee

Some Design Favorites…

Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room: 

Anything with great scale.

Favorite decorating “cheap thrill:” 

A tableskirt (it might not be cheap but it’s often less expensive than a piece of furniture) 

Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:  

The Poul Kjaerholm dining table and chairs that my parents bought in the 60s

Favorite paint color:  

Backdrop’s New Moon — it’s a very neutral white — not too cool and not too warm

Favorite piece of decor in your home:  

Probably my octagonal dining table by T. H. Robsjohn Gibbings

Photo: Max Kim-Bee

Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:  

Albert Hadley

Favorite style icon: 

Linda McCartney

Design destination every creative should visit at least once:  

Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx if you are into classical architecture. Or the historic homes in Sintra, Portugal.

Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received: 

 “It’s not brain surgery. You have to have some fun.”

Dara Caponigro
Photo: Max Kim-Bee

Some Lifestyle Favorites…

Favorite vacation destination:  

Naples, Italy

Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling:  

Hotel Sanders in Copenhagan

Favorite restaurant: 

Cafe Sabarsky in New York

Favorite small museum: 

The Tenement Museum, also in New York

Photo: Max Kim-Bee

Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift: 

Opinel garden shears. Good-looking and practical. Useful for both flower arranging and gardening. 

Favorite flower:  

Daffodils — I love how optimistic and unpretentious they are.

Favorite adult beverage: 

Lately, a glass of Chablis

Favorite way to unwind at home:  

I’m not good at unwinding. I’m happiest when I’m accomplishing something.  

Favorite entertaining essential:  


Lead image by Max Kim-Bee


File Under

May 10, 2023

Dennis Sarlo is the executive editor of Chairish and a lover of all things design-related. Prior to joining the team, he served as the executive editor of Dering Hall and was the first site director of Architectural Digest. He was also part of the founding team of travel startup Jetsetter. He lives in New York.