I have to admit something. I am addicted to Chinese furnishings. It is my absolute favorite design genre. The foo dogs, golden screens, delicate textiles and papers, and dynasty tables send chills down my spine. I don’t exactly know what draws me to this style but I feel it brings such a warm spirit that contemporary pieces can’t always achieve. The older and slightly distressed the better. As I always say, every room needs a natural or cultural presence with a hint of history. However, an overdose of Asian influence leans heavily on poor sanitation grade Chinese takeout more than it does chic. So just mix this in with your regular style and you will have gotten it just right.
The best places to uncover these finds are not always the shiny storefronts but more often the back alley second-hand palaces. Although more authentic and unique items can fetch values higher than your Sallie Mae student loan, anyone can find their own piece of the orient after a fun search.
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 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”.
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.
Is it just me or does the sight of today’s army of bike riding hipsters transport you to simpler days gone by. Their precisely distressed work boots and cool tees (with sleeves rolled) send visions of hardworking blue collar guys marching off to respectable salaries and long days at the factories of old industrial America. Although the hipster lifestyle isn’t as bargain basement as it appears, the mentality of creative independent thinking combined with Made in America style evokes an awfully cool vibe. With the cold shoulder of self-righteousness aside, I dig their vintage.
You’re only so hard with neck accessories: The Sartorialist
Like the rise of the hipster, old school reproductions and industrial inspired pieces are making a blast from the past. Imagine mid-century modern, Restoration Hardware and your neighborhood consignment had a litter of puppies. Rustic metal and distressed wood are the star employees of the design factory. Whether you currently pay gentrifying rent in the hipster mecca (Williamsburg) or you just desire a little grit in your place…try infusing some vintage finds and looks into your place. Go ahead and even guzzle a few PBRs with your bros to salute this new American retro.
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