“The moment someone opens the door to their home for the first time and get to see and experience their vision materialized that I was able to create for them, that moment of complete awe, that’s why I do what I do and what motivates me to get up every morning.”

Anel De Castro

Anel De Castro has been designing homes since her diaper days. Three-year-old Anel could be seen pushing furniture around her parent’s home, now adult Anel can be found at the DCOTA as the new Director of Design Services.

As Director of Design Services, Anel will act as the liaison for DCOTA and the design community, creating a well-rounded luxury experience for trade clients and end users. With an avid passion for interiors and client experience, Anel is certainly a great fit for this new challenge.

GDG chatted with the new team member about her goals for her new role, personal interior style and a few fun facts (Teaser: She loves French Bulldogs!) in this rapid-fire Q&A:

Holly Speck, Editor: What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done? 

Anel De Castro: I joined the U.S. Navy in 2004. I got injured shortly after, but it was an experience I will never forget and still can’t believe I had the guts to do.


HS: What’s your personal mantra?  

ADC: Every detail matters!

HS: Why have you pursued a career in design? Is this something you have always been passionate about?

ADC: I’ve been told I’ve been moving furniture around my parent’s home since I was three years old, so a career in Interior Design definitely seemed natural to me. I have a fervent passion for well-designed furniture, objects and interiors. Creating the personal oasis for clients is an honor and a privilege.

These are the spaces our clients live in every day, they raise their children and families here, they create memories here, and we get to design the where these incredibly important moments happen. The moment someone opens the door to their home for the first time and get to see and experience their vision materialized that I was able to create for them, that moment of complete awe, that’s why I do what I do and what motivates me to get up every morning.


HS: Favorite design project you’ve assisted with and why?

ADC: One of my favorite projects was working on a 10,000 sq. ft. private residence in Pine Crest, FL a few years ago. I built a great relationship with the clients and was able to finish two additional homes and another for the husband’s business partner in a different country. When you create great relationships with your clients they keep coming back. I was delighted they trusted me with additional projects and referred me to their friends.

HS: What is the most challenging aspect of Floridian design?

ADC: Open concept spaces are a blessing and a challenge here in Florida, especially when they are on either side of the spectrum as far as size (very small or very large). To develop the schematics of three to five or more separate-but-together spaces that function differently, yet have to be cohesive in the feel of the design, is always a fun challenge.


HS: What are the goals you plan to accomplish as Director of Design Services?

ADC: As Director of Design Services my goal is to be a liaison for DCOTA and the design community, as well as related industries. My aim is to bring a well-rounded luxury experience to everyone who enters our building, whether they are a trade client or an end user.

By creatively bringing together different aspects of our industry, interesting people and unique events that would normally be considered “outside the box” to DCOTA, we will create a new and fresh approach to introducing our Design Center to a broader audience and therefore increase our foot traffic and sales. The DCOTA Design Services program will be reviewed and revised to make sure we are accommodating our design partners and end users with helpful and relevant services, and continue to bring exceptional value to those relationships.


HS: I see that you are in pursuit of your Master’s Degree in Interior Architecture. What is the ultimate goal of this endeavor?

ADC: Accomplishing my Masters of Interior Architecture is a personal goal of mine that I have had for a long time. My ultimate goal in everything I do is to master all aspects of it to be able to be the fully developed resource my clients seek. Accomplishing my Masters of Interior Architecture at F.I.U. has been an incredible journey, one I hope to share as I work with clients and colleagues, merging my 13 years of expertise in the field combined with the latest design theories and technologies available.

HS: What’s your personal design aesthetic?

ADC: I would call it Transitional with a Twist. I like warmer, cozier interiors that feel fresh and energized with bold punches of color and unconventional art, but at the same time feel livable. A well-designed space needs to be beautiful AND comfortable.


HS: What are some fun facts about yourself?

ADC: I am originally from the Dominican Republic, so I love to dance. I’m also a big foodie and wine enthusiast, and I love dogs, especially French Bulldogs!


HS: What 2018 interiors prediction are you most excited to see?

ADC: I’m loving the Pantone Color of the Year, Ultra Violet! This is an exciting punch of color sure to be seen everywhere, especially in fabrics and wallpapers. I can also see this shade working its way into kitchen and bath in accent cabinetry and in specialty tiles, so I simply cannot wait to splash it all over the place in the coming months. If this shade is a bit too bright for your existing décor, my suggestion on using it is introducing it in accessories, art, and rugs.

HS: What are you happy to leave behind in 2017?

ADC: Very excited about all white rooms making a much-needed exit. This has been a trend used ad-nauseam for years in South Florida. Clients are ready to embrace different textures and (much needed) punchier color palettes and natural textures. Bring on the color!

GDG is most excited to see Anel join the Cohen Design Center family this 2018! To meet Anel, explore the event-filled “Tech and Technique,” DCOTA’s Winter Market this Thursday, February 15.