Friday Five With Britt Zunino of Studio DB

Photo by Matthew Williams

After starting a career in fashion, Britt Zunino pivoted to interiors. These days she’s a Principal of Studio DB, the Manhattan-based architecture and interiors firm founded by her and her husband Damian 13 years ago. Studio DB specializes in hands-on solutions to design and construction limits, working with skilled craftspeople to create thoughtful, livable spaces. Known for their custom homes portfolio and high-end interiors work, Britt and Damian’s latest is a large-scale boutique condominium project in Brooklyn – The Symon. The Symon boasts 59 one-to-four-bedroom contemporary homes and a collection of amenity spaces. Britt clearly has a lot on her plate, but today she’s stopped to join us for Friday Five.

Photo by Jeff Barnett Winsby

1. Family
When I tell people I have four children, I often feel as surprised as they do. I didn’t come from a large family and never made it a goal to have one, but I found a true partner in life and business who shares my love of a challenge! We started our company when my son was a baby, so the company has evolved around our family needs, not the opposite. They put everything in perspective, reminding me daily that I have to let certain things go and just embrace the moment. Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had, but seeing the world through their wide-open eyes is the most wonderful thing in the world. I couldn’t imagine navigating life any other way.

Photo by Jeremie Drainville

2. Mountains
The mountains have made a deep imprint on my heart. The rugged, wild landscape is a constant reminder of Mother Nature’s beauty and power. I spent my childhood in Northern Michigan, bundled up on the slopes six months of the year. My love for the mountains and adventure led me to Colorado, where I snowboarded competitively and gained a healthy respect for my surroundings and the confidence to push the limits of my comfort zone, which is still a relevant lesson today. Despite living in NYC, every year Damian and I try to spend time in the backcountry, where you must have complete focus and clarity, and absolutely no distractions. It’s the ultimate reset for me.

Painting by Charlotte Hallberg \\\ Photo by Jenny Gorman, courtesy of Hesse Flatow

3. Color
I am irresistibly drawn to color. Saturated colors, subtle colors, I love most shades and the more unusual the combination the better. Chic and neutral can be so beautiful, but I’m happiest disrupting the balance with a pop of the unexpected. Inspiration can come from anywhere: art, fashion, or the farmer’s market. My current mood board is filled with colorful moments from Valentino Haute Couture, Chinese Art Deco rugs, Anni Albers textiles, Casa Barrigan, and Reinaldo Sanguino ceramics.

Photo courtesy of

4. All Things Proenza
According to my mom, I climbed trees and skateboarded in a dress, and not much has changed since. I live in dresses and Proenza Schouler is my go-to. Our mornings are wild getting kids ready and off to school on time, so anything that is easy and makes me feel put together is a win. The fabrics they develop are beautiful. Jack and Lazaro’s attention to detail and feminine tailoring balanced with a bit of downtown edge resonates with me. I can go from a construction site to a boardroom presentation, or a client meeting on Park Avenue to a Brooklyn studio visit all in one day, feeling confident and 100% me.

Palazzo Venier dei Leoni \\\ Photo by Matteo de Fina, courtesy Christies, copyright Peggy Guggenheim Collection

5. Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Home of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy
Venice is one of my favorite places in the world. It has a magical quality, where I imagine secret passages and places hidden around every bend, slowly revealing themselves to those paying attention to the details. The Peggy Guggenheim Museum is one of those storied places, rich with history far beyond the famous art collecting heiress who called it home. The building itself is a low-slung, single story structure which feels almost modern in design. It was actually intended to be one of the grandest Palazzos in Venice when it was conceived in the 1700’s. No one knows exactly why it remained unfinished, but during the 20th century three wildly eccentric women breathed new life into its rooms and gardens. It’s hard to wander the modern art filled halls and not daydream of the fabulous gatherings of creatives and Venetian society. If those walls could talk!

Kelly Beall is senior editor at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based graphic designer and writer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, and enjoys sharing her finds with others. When undistracted by great art and design, she can be found making a mess in the kitchen, consuming as much information as possible, or on the couch with her three pets. Find her @designcrush on social.