Behind the Scenes with DIV13's Danette Ferretti
Meet Danette Ferretti, DIV13's Vice President of Interior Construction.
1. Tell us about your experience with G|M.
I've been with G|M for nearly 3 years and was hired to take on a new division for interior construction. We are a separate division of G|M, but we work in conjunction with one another. I was hired to help launch the new division and knew it was specific to DIRTT (Doing It Right This Time). I was very familiar with Steve and Lauri Easley and G|M, and had great respect for the organization and their leadership. So considering the transition wasn't difficult from that perspective. I had been practicing interior design for 27 years and was ready for a change. My first year was focusing on developing a team, onboarding with DIRTT, and creating a brand. From there, DIV13 was born.
2. What does DIV13 do, for those who might not know?
DIV13 is a DIRTT partner who provides high-quality, cost-certainty, custom solutions to meet the everchanging physical and technology needs of our clients. DIRTT manufactures custom, prefabricated, modular interior solutions. Everything is a custom design, depending on the client's needs. Anything from walls and doors to millwork, timber structures, and modular power. We are involved from schematic design all the way through to the end of construction. Some of the key benefits of the DIRTT method of construction are future flexibility, cleaner job sites, and reduced construction schedules.
3. It's been three years...how is everything going with DIV13 today?
Wonderfully! It started with just two of us and we have already doubled in size. The team consists of myself, two designers, and two project managers.
4. That is great to hear! What are you enjoying most about your role so far?
I love that I'm challenged every single day. I am continually learning new things. I enjoy the fact that I get to have my hand in the design side of things, which is my background, but I'm also learning so much about the subcontractor side. In my experience as an Interior Designer, I would come up with the design, then pass it off to someone else to build. But DIV13 is a design-build company so we design it then pass the baton back to ourselves. It's different! I also love working with people in any aspect - the clients, my team, everyone. I am a social person so I really enjoy collaborating and being creative.
5. Sounds like a perfect fit. Do you have a favorite project so far?
I do! We worked with an education technology client in Chandler, Arizona and we were able to do a full-solution design for them consisting of DIRTT Timber, millwork, walls, doors, modular power, and more. The architect and client selected a variety of different finishes, and we integrated more than 50 TVs into the walls. Very cool! It was the most comprehensive full-solution build we've done to date.
6. That sounds amazing! Can you tell me a little more about your background?
Of course! I have 27 years of interior design experience. I'm originally from Colorado and attended Colorado State University where I received my Bachelor of Science in Interior Design. From there, I began building my career in interior design, and most recently, I spent 19 years at Carrier Johnson + Culture as a Designer, Design Principal, and Director of Interiors.
7. How would you define good design?
A thoughtful solution. "Good" is an objective word - what one may like, another may not. There is a user and a need for every little thing that is made and design must be functional first. It is treasured, we have choice; that's what is so great about design. Yes, there are pieces that cater to the masses, but good design to me is ensuring I listened to the client and exceeded their expectations.
8. How would you describe your design style?
I would say all of my designs have one theme that ties them all together and that is nature. I tie my clients to nature in some way, shape, or form that will benefit them. I had one large education client where I went around to their campus collecting plants, rocks, dirt, flowers, and other natural elements. The whole palette was born from these fragments of nature I found there. I integrated it in subtle ways that weren't too trendy, so they had a timeless space that could last them for years to come.
9. Do you have a favorite piece of furniture?
The Eames Lounge & Ottoman. It's such a beautiful piece and I'd love to own one someday.
10. What about a favorite color?
Right now, I'm really loving peacock blue. I find myself gravitating towards it. I am also loving Bells of Ireland Green.
11. What are some of your favorite pastimes?
Socializing, being with friends and family, traveling, cooking, being in nature, spending time with my dog, golfing, and wine tasting!
12. What kind of dog do you have?
I have an adorable 6-year old Havanese named Tesoro.
13. You mentioned you love traveling...do you have a favorite travel destination?
Italy. Every city there is so different and unique and has its own little charm. There is so much history and so much to see like museums and churches. The people there are great - their pace, way of life, and zest for life is just incredible. Their love of food and wine and togetherness. Whenever I go, I feel so present as if I'm observing my own life.
14. Gosh now I want to go to Italy! What part of Italy is your favorite?
Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi coast are all amazing - Amalfi might be my top favorite place in the world. It's just so beautiful and scenic there.
15. You've mentioned your love of wine a few times, do you have a favorite?
ALL wine is my favorite. I like both reds and whites, I'm not picky. There is a winemaker in Sonoma called "Stephen & Walker" and their wines are wonderful. I also love Italian wines...I find them to be a bit more earthy and minerally and I enjoy those flavors.
16. Who or what has shaped you most?
My parents. They are very family-first people. They are the hardest working, most honest, loving humans you will ever meet. Real salt of the earth kind of people.
17. How would you describe yourself in one word?
"Loving" is the most-used word other people use to describe me.
18. I wholeheartedly agree with that. You have used the word"love" several times in today's interview. How do you stay so positive and upbeat every day? I admire that quality in you.
I think you wake up with a choice on your attitude every day. I choose to lead with happiness because I like how it makes me feel. I want to end the day feeling proud of what I did and how I behaved. I strive to make the people around me happier - my family first and foremost.