We recently caught up with Ronnie DiCappo, an interior designer with an eye for color and a passion for creating places that calm, heal, and delight. She shared part of her history, her inspirations, and what attracts her to the design profession.
What is your role at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini?
I am a certified healthcare interior designer with a focus on environments that enhance safety, culture, and wellness. I tend to be most interested in how design affects us. It’s a way to promote quality of life – by giving clients something that makes them stop and say, “Oh my gosh, look at this!” And beyond that, I'm very interested in evidence-based design to promote healing. The way people can be affected by a space is what makes design important to me.
What is your background?
I wasn't always an interior designer, but I have always been involved in art and design. I considered studying architecture for a long time, but I didn’t actually go back to school to earn my Master’s degree until later in life. I was working with a lot of architects and interior designers when I was at a premium woodworking shop finishing custom furniture. At one point, I was painting models for a professor of architecture, and it was after talking to him that I really started looking into architecture programs. First, I was just taking a few classes, but then someone told me to get my portfolio together and apply for the master’s program before the two-week deadline. So I did, and I got accepted.
After graduating, I worked for an interior designer for a bit, and then I started working for D/P/S – programming, space planning, writing construction documents, and selecting interior finishes. That was from 2001 to 2005. I learned a lot, and I’m still learning. I returned at the beginning of the year, and it’s great to be back working in this collaborative group and seeing people in the firm rising to limits above what even they thought they could do.
What is your approach to design?
I’m a people pleaser. I don’t mean that as a negative, but I mean I really enjoy working with people, learning about what they want, and helping them achieve functional and beautiful places that address the challenges related to healthcare environments.
What attracts me to this business is the psychology aspect of it. I love color. I love texture. I love finishes. I want the space to look nice. What I like most, though, is how color or lighting can change the way a room feels, or how the right furniture can make a waiting room a little friendlier.
I like getting to know people. I’ve worked on a lot of projects – healthcare, long-term living, schools, offices – and getting to know the people and learning what they want changes my opinion of each place. I like to cater to their preferences and understand what works for them so I can better guide design decisions and find solutions.
Why does design matter?
I love the design, but it’s the overall package and seeing people excited about a place that really jazzes me. When you put in amenities like coffee shops, or lounge spaces, or a private nook, no matter what type of project, people respond to those things, and I get totally excited about that.