Interior Design and FPB: Thoughts From Designer Denise LaVey

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We’ve worked with many interior designers over the years, but Denise is the first who truly understands what the FPB concept is all about. We think her work for us aboard FPB 78-1 Cochise speaks for itself…
We asked Denise to share her thoughts on creating the right interior for such a unique vessel:

Denise_Ginger_edit_comprsdDenise and her sister Ginger aboard Cochise off the coast of Florida

My two biggest passions are travel and design. As such, my work has taken me all over the globe, and I absorb the experience of different environments and cultures into my designs. Understanding how to implement light and the environment into each home is always a priority for me.

The first time I saw an FPB wasn’t in person. I was looking at, and my initial thought was, “Wow–what a challenge! How do you create an interior that won’t compete with the surrounding environment? It’s all glass!”

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That’s the biggest consideration from my perspective. With most yachts there are so few windows, and the interior is so removed from the exterior, that it’s not really a consideration. And with houses, even though seasons and light change, the environment remains static. But with FPB, you have to assume that the boat is going to go literally everywhere. And the landscape and light in Greenland is going to be very different from Fiji. So you have to have a light touch. You want the finishes to be personalized to the client’s tastes, but still neutral enough to allow for the outside view to remain the focus.

The photos above show Cochise’s great room. Note how the different lighting and external environments shift the look between the great room above and galley shots below. Day, night, high latitudes, tropics — always changing. This is where soft goods like pillows can really play an important role. We keep the upholstery neutral, but add tufting for texture, and allow for a pop of color with the yellow in the pillows. The striping in the pillows also adds visual interest. The blonde faux wood flooring reads both warm and cool, and the grain again adds texture, a good contrast with the smooth surface of the ultra modern white lacquer cabinetry finishes. The native American blanket draped over the Ekornes chair is a nod both to FPB 78-1’s name and Steve and Linda’s fondness for native American design.

The same holds true for the galley. The modern finishes streamline the area, and personal touches like the soapstone cat sculpture draw the eye in. The end result is a modern, clean but welcoming environment, that works well in all different lights and settings.


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One of the greatest tools for opening up space and adding dynamic to an interior is the use and placement of art. The moment you place artwork on walls, the space opens up exponentially, and your eye has different focal points to land on. This is particularly useful down below in the accommodations deck. Take a look at Cochise’s owners’ suite. The first photo below is looking forward from the starboard side of the king-sized bunk. The dimmable recessed lighting acts as a mood setter, and the colors and movement in the artwork add flavor. You don’t want to overdo it with art — choose a few pieces that reflect your taste and serve the space, rather than cluttering it. The overall effect is lofty and open, relaxing and cozy at the same time.


Now forward looking aft, below. With the lights dimmed, the art contrasts beautifully. A restful retreat.

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Now let’s take a quick look at the Matrix deck. The design challenge here is to create a warm living area, without interfering with sightlines or navigation. Similar rules apply as to the great room. Allow the shifting environment to guide your eye. But this must be a comfortable lounge space. Families and friends gather up here; perhaps grandchildren will sleep up here. You need soft fabrics that are nevertheless weather–and wet swimsuit–resistant.

We continued the soft neutral theme from the great room upstairs. The cream-colored sofa and chairs complement the gray of the decking and aluminum. Similar striping on the pillows create depth. The dark nav chairs add a dramatic flair. And a few pieces of art, courtesy of Steve’s photos of their other boats, add both a touch of personal history and bright color accents.

The sofa pulls out into a queen-sized bed for extra visitors. The Navajo rug extends the native American theme, and softens the deck finish.


Perfect for family and friends to gather and enjoy!

I want to take a moment and talk a little bit about another design challenge people don’t often consider: linens. When outfitting an FPB with bedding and towels, you have to take into consideration the fact that you are going to be in many different climates. At the same time, any extras you have on board will compete for storage space with critical systems spares, provisions, etc. With this in mind, I recommended two sets of Bemboka linen sheets for each stateroom. Incredibly soft and high quality, they sleep cool in warm weather and warm in cold weather, and easily go in the washer and dryer. The towels are Abyss: super absorbent cotton — again, beautifully made and high quality but washer/dryer friendly.

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The bottom line with all FPBs is this: the interior is already laid out to maximize space and comfort at sea and at anchor. The challenge, and the fun, lies in enhancing the interior to reflect both the quality of the vessel and the client’s personality. Choosing the right fabrics, wall covering, textiles, furnishings, soft goods and touches all combine to turn the FPB into a true family home.

Denise LaVey is a licensed interior designer, and lives in Los Angeles. Some photos of recent home projects follow. For more information, visit or contact Denise at

coronado1_comprsdCoronado beach house

LaVey_Kitchen_Tapp26_comprsdCoronado beach house

maine1_comprsdMaine farm house

maine3slider2Maine farm house

Royal2-800Fort Lauderdale home

Sunset2-800Miami penthouse

Rock3-800Bahamas boutique hotel

Posted by admin  (March 13, 2017)

6 Responses to “Interior Design and FPB: Thoughts From Designer Denise LaVey”

  1. Gene Says:

    As a designer myself–and married to an interior designer no less–I think she has done an exceptional job and the interior of Chochise is my favorite of all the FPB’s. It is much brighter and breaks away from the stereotypical nautical tropes–think blue and white striped fabrics, so much dark wood that you feel like you’re in a humidor, and beach chatchka–sea horses, starfish, ships wheels etc.. She took the same approach you would for a fine art museum or gallery and doesn’t try to compete with or get in the way of the art hanging on the walls, (or all that glass and the magnificent views). I know Steve is really fond of the windows being canted out but from a visual perspective it adds a lot of chaos as the human brain prefers horizontal and vertical lines–it is why we feel compelled to straighten a picture that is crooked. They are not great for the exterior lines either as they make the boat look a little top heavy. Again just my personal feedback and obviously in the minority based on stellar FPB sales.

  2. Richard Boote Says:

    Now THIS is Beautiful! The Design just fits with all the Colours and Textures. It will be warm in the far North and cooling in the Tropics. Must be hard to bring it all together like this. LOVE IT!!

  3. PJ Says:

    A classic design ‘mistake’ are white window mullions. They fight outside ambience, box you in, and constrain space and perspective (which is fine if that’s what you want). Shaded to match the plank flooring in this decor would make no end of difference….seeing is believing.

  4. Steve Dashew Says:

    Hello PJ:
    The fabric used to wrap the mullions is actually a shade darker than either the headliner or nearby upholstery fabric.

  5. PJ Says:

    I have yet to see a picture of the Great Room with the shades down, are they installed?

  6. Steve Dashew Says:

    Yes PJ, shades are installed. We will do a photo or two next week.