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InsIde storIes / YACHT insTAllATion
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Distinguished interior designer Dee Robinson shares stories from her colorful career
and how she recently came to be nominated for the illustrious World Superyacht Award.
By Alisa Kirby
Prior to undertaking a profession in interior his talented friend to a wide variety of people
design, Dee Robinson was completing her within the industry. “He was a fine man and
premedical coursework at the University of directly responsible for the encouragement I
Maryland. After serving in the Navy Medical needed in the early years to stay the course in
Corps as an autopsy tech during the Vietnam this field.”
War, she had second thoughts about her Fast forward nearly 30 years and over 200
career choice. In her senior year, Robinson yacht constructions and refit projects, DTM
decided to register for interior design courses caught up with the award-winning designer.
and relocated to Florida. She transported her She was recently nominated for the presti-
Harley down to South Florida and lived with gious Boat International Magazine World Su-
her grandparents while finalizing her education peryacht Award for her work on the 161-foot
at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Her
161’ Lady Michelle, World Superyacht Finalist 2008.
Lady Michelle. “We have received Yacht of the
proficiency in math and science dovetailed Year awards twice before, but the World’s will
nicely with the design industry’s structural, yacht, Evel Eye. “As an avid Harley David- be a first. Just getting the nomination is an
engineering and architectural demands. son owner even back then, this was to be an honor in this case.”
Preparing to embark on a career in resi- incredible experience – or so I thought. He Named after the owner’s daughter, Lady Mi-
dential interior design in the late ‘70s, Rob- asked me what I did for a living, and rather chelle is a magnificent four-deck motor yacht
inson attended a cocktail party hosted by Evel than admit I was still in school, I proudly told built by Trinity Yachts on the Gulf Coast. With
Knievel. The motorcycle aficionado invited him I was an interior designer.” She was hired a cruising range of 4,200 nautical miles at 10
her to join him and several friends aboard his on the spot to refit his yacht. knots, Lady Michelle carries a crew of nine and
Queen of all European vessels, the Evel Eye comfortably accommodates 12 passengers in
was a 120-foot Feadship, and the first yacht the finest seafaring style
Robinson ever stepped foot on. The refitting imaginable. Robinson
project was successfully completed, but not comments, “Megayachts
without its share of difficulties. She fondly are not just floating villas,
recalls how entertained the captain was as she they are impressive ma-
tried to figure out how to get an oversized chines that create a self-
mattress down a very narrow staircase. “It contained safe and serene
wasn’t long after we had completely remod- environment, as well as a
eled the interior that I found out that Evel was personal statement.”
only chartering the yacht, with no intention Her clients requested
of buying it!” that the decor be more
Not long after returning to school the bud- transitional with con-
ding designer was contacted by the Feadship’s temporary furnishings,
owner. “I never had any aspirations of becom- instead of the very tradi-
ing a yacht interior designer. It just happened,” tional, opulent interiors
she explains. Robinson was hired to undo the that many current yachts
Knievel installation and return the decor to are showing. The artist
its original state. By this time, she had already was excited to take on a
formed what would become a lifelong friend- fresh new approach, even
ship with the yacht’s captain, Mike Anderson. if it bucked the system. “I
Over the years, Anderson would introduce knew the European de-
Top: Robinson’s signature staircase is a three-story column featuring marble landings, recessed custom wool carpet in sweeping wood surrounds,
handmade block walls by Raleo, sculptural stainless steel hand rails and LED lighting; Right: The white sofas in the salon were designed by Robinson and
custom-made by Perfect Touch. Photography provided by Jim Raycroft, Photography Worldwide, www.jimraycroft.com.

50n Design Trade Magazine
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