Historical Inspiration

I know I have been MIA for the past few months but I have returned ready to get back in the thrust of things on the blog.  I couldn’t let Black History Month pass without pointing out two of my favorite African American designers.  You don’t find too many black folks in the design field and you especially don’t see many rise to national exposure so these two are quite admirable.

Sheila Bridges

Sheila Bridges is an ivy-league educated designer that has managed her own firm since 1994 and has been named “America’s Best Interior Designer” by CNN and Time Magazine.  Not only has she designed spaces for the rich and famous, but she has also hosted her own TV show and her work can be found in every major magazine.  Her refined designs stand boldly as does her signature hairstyle, or lack thereof.  She lost her curly locks to alopecia in 2004 but didn’t let that get her down.  The experience led her to aptly title her 2013 book, “The Bald Mermaid: A Memoir”.

At home in Harlem, NY Social Diary

Darryl Carter

Darryl Carter is a prominent Washington, DC based designer that started out as a lawyer until his stylish abode landed on the cover of Metropolitan Home Magazine and he was inundated with calls for commissions.  He took that moment as a sign that design was his true calling.  His classic Americana style has been revered as The New Traditional which is also the title of his 2008 book.  Since his transition into design in the late 1990s, he has done many high-profile spaces, been lauded in many publications, created his own line of paint colors for Benjamin Moore and opened his eponymous store in DC’s Shaw neighborhood just last year.  Neutrals, rustic textures and antiques are his thing but they are always brought together in a new and comfy way.

Carter’s kitchen, Elle Decor


Mixed Up

Something really mixed up caught my attention in the August issue of Elle Decor.  In the All Things Considered article, an 18th-Century Parisian apartment packed with colonial-era artwork was highlighted for its dedication to more grandly styled centuries past.

There was a intricately molded office with a collection of peering eyes portraits by Thomas Frye.

An antique map of Cuba that is believed to be one of the oldest around; previously owned by Sir Thomas Phillips, the greatest book collector of all time… also sometimes called a vellomaniac.

There also were antique botanical prints in the dining room which may be appetizing to some… not me but still fitting to the design.

Disclaimer: I do have an appreciation for old American colonial and European regency artwork depicting great wars, kings and queens, pilgrims and little chubby white babies.  They add intriguing contrast to more modern spaces; however, this Left Bank apartment was a little overboard on the oldies for my liking.  I tend to veer away from too many portraits of dead white folks that may have owned my ancestors.

But what really caught my attention was a collection of Mexican casta paintings depicting mixed-race families.  Casta was a Spanish/Portuguese term used to describe interracial Spanish persons, post-conquest.  I had never heard of such but I found them most fascinating.  In a quick Wiki search I learned that there were more than 100 categories of castas which were used to classify individuals both economically and socially.

Castas: Elle Decor

I had to share this because even today I hear some red, white and blue-blooded citizens whispering their disgust of interracial couples and families as they peacefully walk past.  This is and has been the norm for much longer than many would like to imagine.  Hince, the term castas has been around since the 17th and 18th centuries.

Race in Colonial Mexico

Kimora Lee Simmons & Djimon Hounsou: This is 50

When the most nostalgic American morning treat, Cheerios, places a biraccial family in its advertising campaign….. it is time for everyone to get their hearts and heads on board.  Welcome to the New World.

Blue Hues: Lite

While flipping through several interiors periodicals last Sunday morning, I noticed a recurring element.  Every so many sips of coffee my eyes witnessed shades of light blue on walls, pillows and chairs.  Usually I am not drawn to pastels but blue is my favorite color and it is only befitting of a Carolina Tarheel Alum.  Every blue moon, blue reappears on the color wheel scene before warmer tones recollect their spotlight.  It is good to see these refreshing color this summer in both muted and vibrant tones.  By George! If it’s good enough for the royal family, it is good enough for me.

Baby Prince George: US Magazine

Bar cart: Zinc Decor

Matchbook: Pinterest

matchbook blue

Anna Matthews: Matchbook

Kathryn Ireland: Rue