A degree in human biology may not seem like a starting point for a career in interior design, but for Dan Fink, it turned out to be the perfect backdrop. “Human biology is a really interesting multidisciplinary program,” said Fink. “It looks at the human experience from a lot of different angles.”
After graduating from Stanford University, the human biology major was hired as an assistant to a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. “In Silicon Valley at that time, people were looking to hire people who had a lot of energy. More so than their particular qualifications,” Fink explains. Fink’s energy took him on an unexpected journey of helping to choose, stage, and design think-tank retreats around the world.
In his travels, he met many people who had an apartment or had purchased a home for the first time and needed advice with decorating and renovations. It was something that just came naturally to Fink. After five years of working in Silicon Valley, he took on a project to decorate an upscale Manhattan apartment. The apartment owner and friends were so impressed with the finished project that they wanted Fink to decorate their apartments and homes as well.
Into the World Of Interior Design
At the age of 26, Fink started his own interior design company, Dan Fink Studio, in the New York Design Center in New York City and has never looked back. He splits his time between New York and California where he still has clients who love his fresh ideas and timeless style. “I love old things and new things in equal measure,” states Fink. His design style reflects his deep appreciation for antiques as well as modern technology and home furnishings. Many of the antiques he finds for clients come from has favorite shops in New York and California. He also works with furniture manufacturers and skilled craftsmen to design one-of-a-kind pieces. Many of his clients already own fine art and furniture, but lack the time or desire to display and accentuate the pieces in a way that makes a room feel organized and inviting.
Earlier this year, Fink was chosen to participate in the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York. His assigned room consisted of a five-story spiral staircase with an ornate wrought-iron rail, a desk nook, and wallspace to display a mix of artwork and antique items. In an interview with House Tipster, Fink said, “I was so happy when I got this space, because I love the neoclassical stair rail that runs through the whole thing. I love classical ideas and finding ways to reinterpret them and make them modern for today.” Not exactly a typical room, Fink tackled the challenge with ease. His love of antiques seen in a velvet pillow atop a claw-foot chair next to a modern day desk chair at an elegant writing desk, gave everyone who saw the display a taste of his wonderfully unique style.
Although the current economy has been tough on some professions, Fink has no shortage of clients. His firm handles a wide range of residential projects as well as commercial and hospitality. He travels to California regularly where he has a number of repeat clients and new clients as well.
His firm has also done projects in Washington D.C., Maui, and New Zealand. With his ability to combine the best features of both traditional and modern styles, he is able to create the perfect look for any type of room or structure. “Every project has a story,” explains Fink. “We try to define what the story is for the house and how it is a reflection of the person who lives there, or will have an experience there when it comes to commercial and hospitality.”
A Balance of Old and New
Fink’s “energy” as seen by his first employer, is easy to identify in his meticulously designed spaces. “I’m always looking for a way to make classic details modern,” he says.
Balancing modern elements typically found in living spaces with historical ones are what create rooms that exude warmth, sophistication, and personality. Many of his clients are tech entrepreneurs who have to come to trust Fink’s ability to introduce glamor and sophistication into a space where people can feel comfortable gathering, dining, entertaining, or just relaxing.
And in His Spare Time . . .
Like many people who are passionate about their professions, the labor of their love often spills into their hobbies and free time. When not designing beautiful spaces for clients, Fink and his husband, Thomas O’Brien, also an interior designer, haven taken on a project in the town of Bellport in Suffolk County, NY. In 2015, they purchased a prominent old building which has served in the past as a vaudeville theater and grocery store.
“The building sat there for a number of years and nobody really knew what to do with it, “said Fink. “We adopted it, we took it over, and we’ve turned it into a sort of emporium that sells home goods, prepared food, and decorations.” “Copper Beech” is a work in process that will continue to expand as renovations are completed. “It’s been wonderfully received by the community. It has an old fashioned charm that I think people are a little nostalgic for these days.”
When it comes to Fink’s success as an interior designer, he credits the attention and care he gives to every client. “We treat this business as a first rate service business,” Fink says. This first rate attention in addition to Fink’s style have earned him a name in the industry on both the east and west coats. “We put a lot of heart into our projects and create spaces that people find inviting and satisfying to be in.”
If you would like to know more about Dan Fink’s interior design style, House Tipster invites you to tour his exhibit at the 2018 Kips Bay Designer Show House.