Dabito really is one of a kind — and has a dream job, to boot. The creative director behind Old Brand New built a business based on his passions for design and photography, working with everyone from Google to Shinola and Sunbrella. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and more, and he was named one of the best Instagrammers in the game by Nylon. He’s known for his creativity, vivid use of color, and undeniable joie de vivre. Dabito makes things pop.
His homes in LA and New Orleans are no different, marrying his love of vibrancy and pattern with an obsession for vintage. We spoke with him about his decorating style and home renovations, as well as the ways in which his dual hometowns inspire him. See what he had to say, and be sure to shop his unique curation of colorful Chairish favorites.
On Your Work…
You split your time between LA and New Orleans. What do you love about those two cities, and how do they affect you creatively?
I was born in LA so it’s always home for me. It’s familiar. I have a diverse group of creative friends in LA who inspire me. New Orleans is just so fabulous and fun. People give zero fucks there. The architecture and the colors are inspiring. I feel like I’m more bold and fearless when I’m there.
You’re always renovating and updating the places you live. Tell us about some of your latest home projects.
I recently gave my kitchen a facelift and colored the cabinets from grey to green. Grey is my least favorite color and after living with them for two and a half years, it was time to change them. I also recently updated my small dining room by adding a banquette situation. It has changed my life and it’s the room I spend most of my time in. I eat, work, and nap there.
What are some of the vintage pieces you’ve been collecting lately? Are there any hunts you’re on right now?
How did you develop your creative sense when it comes to color? What are some of the colors you most love decorating with?
I remember drawing the bird of paradise on the front cover of my 6th grade journal because I just loved the combination of the orange and green colors. And majoring in printmaking really helped me develop my sense of color. Mixing inks helps you understand how to create color. I also loved playing with colors, even in Photoshop or Illustrator.
You’ve got an impressive roster of companies you’ve worked with through your business Old Brand New, from Google to Grubhub and design companies like Sunbrella and Delta Faucet. How do you engage with different types of firms who do very different work? And who are some dream clients of yours?
All my partnerships are centered on owning your space in your home — and how to create a happy, fun, and safe space for me, my friends, and family. A dream client would be a boutique hotel brand.
You produced the photography for The New Bohemians Handbook series. Tell us about your relationship with Justina Blakeney and how you started working together.
She’s my work wife! We both have such a different and complete opposite upbringing and yet somehow it is crazy how similar our design sensibility is. We just jibe so well together. She’s also a fellow Aries, so there’s that.
On Chairish & Vintage Pieces…
What do you find most compelling about Chairish?
It’s like going to the flea market but in the comfort of your own bed! I also discover so many different styles and designers on Chairish.
Are there any dream vintage/antique “gets” you wish you could have? What’s a dream piece for you?
I wanna wrap my entire home in antique Art Deco Chinese rugs.
What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?
Some Design Favorites…
Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room:
Favorite decorating “cheap thrill”:
Plants and pillows
Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:
The green Mario Bellini Camaleonda sofa, of course
Favorite paint color:
Lately it’s BEHR Royal Orchard
Favorite piece of decor in your home:
My headless ceramic lamp
Favorite designer or artist from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:
Favorite style icon:
Design destination every creative should visit at least once:
Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received:
Stop fucking around and do something about it.
Some Lifestyle Favorites…
Favorite vacation destination (the next time travel becomes an option):
Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan
Favorite hotel that’s inspired your work while traveling:
The Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg. That huge wall of Tonga baskets is so inspiring.
Favorite small museum:
I don’t do podcasts. I listen to music all day.
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow:
Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift:
Candle and champagne
Favorite adult beverage:
Dirty vodka martini with Castelvetrano olives
Favorite way to unwind at home:
Snuggling with my pets and watching TV
Favorite entertaining essential:
Home karaoke machine
All photos by Dabito