After a successful career in corporate America, Jocelyn Chiappone decided to switch gears and go to school for design. A decade ago, she founded Digs Design Co and started on her mission of creating classic, sophisticated interiors for clients around the world. Since then, the Newport-based designer has continued the tradition of the legendary homes nearby, developing spaces that are of their moment and undeniably elegant.

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Digs Design Co
Jocelyn Chiappone. Photo: Jennifer Manville.

What made you passionate about interior design? How’d you get your start in the industry?

I started Digs Design Co later in my life after first having a successful corporate career at Eastman Kodak in sales. From there, I moved to Rhode Island and took time off to raise my children, but when my third child was a baby, I felt ready to work again. I had been getting a lot of feedback from friends and family on my design skills and loved doing that, so I went back to school at RISD. From there, my interior design jobs grew organically and I was able to start Digs Design Co just over a decade ago. Every year, we grow as a firm and we are now in our fourth location, a gorgeous 1787 building in Newport’s historic district. 

What do you find most compelling about Chairish?

I love the ease of use on Chairish, where we have access to so many different shops and vendors at the click of a mouse. I also like the weekly updates on new available items. We may not necessarily be on the search for something for a current project but I like to collect special pieces that speak to me that I may use for future projects.

Digs Design Co
Photo: Greg Premru

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

Having sentimental or cherished pieces is essential to making a house a home. I love to reupholster or repurpose a client’s pieces in a new way. If something has good bones or an emotional attachment, we always bring it into the design mix. A vintage piece that has a unique story or history makes a wonderful contribution to the design of a space. The story of a beloved accessory or design element makes for a great talking point or conversation starter.

What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?

I love this Murano glass Sputnik chandelier; this pair of Egyptian revival table lamps with faux malachite paint; and this 1970’s bamboo console with ottomans.

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

Mixing styles, periods, and finishes makes a dramatic statement that feels unique and fresh. For example, pairing a burlwood dresser with mid-century Murano lamps is fun and a bit unexpected. I love to layer in different elements and tie it all together with a strong color scheme for that signature Digs mix!

Digs Design Co
Photo: Greg Premru

Do you have any go-to color palettes and color combos? 

We tend to do a lot of blue, as our clients love that aesthetic, especially for coastal homes. To make it more interesting, I like to pair the blue with a green and add in a more dramatic color in accessories, like raspberry or yellow, for that “pop” that breathes life into a space.  

What advice do you have for first-time clients about making their spaces truly personal?

I am always encouraging my clients to buy art and collectibles that they love. This doesn’t have to be done all at once and it’s helpful to think about accumulating special pieces over time. Traveling is the perfect time to explore galleries and buy art that speaks to you. I also love it when my clients have special collections. As a designer, it’s inspiring to work with a client’s oyster plates, McCoy pottery, or whatever personal collection they have created over time. 

Lead image: photo by Greg Premru


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November 13, 2023

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