#AATOP20

More Exciting Updates, My Recap of the Week + Design Book Giveaway

John Pomp Lighting / Johnpomp.com

John Pomp Lighting / Johnpomp.com

I'm excited to be headed to Chicago for the weekend. This is the first trip in a long time that is not for business or with kids.  I'm looking forward to catching up with design friends, chilling out on a few rooftops and wondering up and down Michigan Avenue.  

Before my departure, I'd like to share some really great news I received this week and why I'm especially in need of a breather.  The video that was taken during the African American Interior Designers Conference has been packaged for TV and will air on Comcast On Demand in only a few weeks.  I'll keep you posted and get you show times and dates when they become available. Trust me, you'll want to catch it especially if you weren't able to attend this year's event.

My week started really crazy, I have been in negotiations with a developer for months and we managed to finalize the deal. Woohooo!  But then that really great news was followed by an unlikely surprise. Thank God Bishop T.D. Jakes was there to help me through it. I've learned that the vision I have for growing and expanding my design business may not align with the vision of others and I've learnes that that is OK. 

Side note: Bishop has a new show airing October 6 on BET. If you can't wait that long because things are happening in your life right now, catch past sermons here while you anticipate the show. 

Speaking of happening right now. As I write this, I am preparing for a photoshoot with Danny K Photography. I'll have some more exciting news for you next week, but for now, I need a new head shot. It's a perfect time for me to try out some of my new make up finds. The girl in the store was really excited about this Mascara.  We'll see. This $7.99 mascara is the reigning champ having knocked my Dior Show off it's pedestal.  

Considering everything, I'm settling into my new role rather nicely.  I feel amazing and am excited to be able to do design on this level.  As the design projects keep rolling in,  I'm getting the opportunity to explore the catalogues and websites of some really cool brands.  I'm in love with this guy, can't say who just yet but hope to use some of his hand blown glass in my commercial project next spring.

I promised you the opportunity to win a design book today and thank you for reading all of the above to get to it.  So here's the thing: In true "Oprah Favorite Things" fashion, over the next year we will be giving aways a few things that I feel are great keepsakes.  They will mainly be design books so get ready to build your library. You can also expect to get the chance to win other things like pillows, vases and magazine subscriptions.  You won't have to do cartwheels or spin around three times, just follow us on Instagram and like us on Facebook.  Once you're done simply leave your contact information and we'll enter you for the chance to win.  We will be giving away one coffee table design book every month for the next 12 months.  I mean what good is one book when you can have 12 right? 

THE GIVEAWAY!!!

Windsor Smith Book HomeFront

We're giving away Windsor Smith's  Book Homefront Design for Modern Living I received it  as a surprise a few weeks ago and I love it!  It's so beautiful.  The images are breath taking and the design advice easy to follow.  This is the year for you to start your own decorating projects and Homefront is the perfect place to start. 

You have until September4th  at 11pm EST to register.  Winners will be announced  here on the blog. Good Luck!

Please read the Pinkeggshell Policy under the about Pinkeggshell tab at the bottom of this screen.

The 2015 African American Top 20 Interior Designers

African American Top 20 Interior Designers Official Logo

The AATOP20 acknowledges those, who over the course of his or her interior design career, have established a body of superior work demonstrating creativity, skill and innovation.  This group of professionals is recognized for their individual achievements and social consciousness in the interior design field.

The African American Top 20 Interior Designers List would be nothing without the efforts put forth by those that help to comprise it.  Each of these designers-with their distinctive styles and relentless work ethic- are nothing short of commendable.  They take on projects in some of the most luxurious places and are bringing personalities to life with every sketch and concept.  But a job well done is a job done with gratitude, humility and appreciation.  It is the generous referrals and support from colleagues and clients that contributed to the nominations for the Top 20 List since its beginning.

We aim to continue to provide this list a community resource that can be accessed by others who aim to carve out their own space in the design community.  These designers stand ready and proud to represent our mission and be exemplars in their own right.  The designers are at the forefront, in support of each other and the movement.

From million dollar projects to servicing an international and A-list clientele, these Black designers are setting global trends for excellence in interior design.

2015 African American Top 20 Interior Designers

 

Linda Allen * Linda Allen Designs * LindaAllenDesigns.com * Los Angeles

Michel Boyd * Smith Boyd Interiors *  SmithBoydInteriors.com * Atlanta, GA

Rayman Boozer * Apartment 48* Apartment48.com * New York

Tiffany Brooks *Tiffany Brooks Interiors * TiffanyBrooksInteriors.com *Chicago

Anishka Clarke *Ishka Designs* Ishkadesigns.com * New York

Tonya Comer * Tonya Comer Interiors* TonyaComer.com * Philadelphia, PA

Joan Goodwin * Verandah Interiors  * Vcustomdesigns.com  * Columbia, SC

Lorna Gross- Bryant *Savant Interior Design  * SavantID.com *Bethesda, MD

Byron James- Rodrigues *House of Oasis * HouseofOasis.com * New York

Corey Damen Jenkins * CoreyDamenJenkins.com * Detroit, MI

Alecia Johnson * Pearl Design * PearlDesign4U.com * Houston, TX

Nile Johnson * Nile Johnson Design *NileJohnson.com * Philadelphia, PA

Alicia Lamar *Alicia Lamar Home *AliciaLamarHome.com  * Los Angeles

Joy Moyler  * Joy Moyler Interiors  * Joymoylerinteriors.com * New York

Janice Palmer * Palmer Design Group * PalmerDesignLLC.com * Atlanta, GA

Rae Revelle * Ray Norris Design *  RayNorrisDesign.com  * Arlington, VA

Robin Wilson * Robin Wilson Home * RobinWilsonhome.com  *New York 

Ron Woodson * Woodson and Rummerfield *  WandRdesign.com  * Los Angeles

Erin Shakoor * Shakoor Interiors  * Shakoorinc.com  * Chicago, IL

Lisa Turner * Interior Obsessions  * Interiorobsession.com  * Los Angeles

The AATOP20 Celebration Was Epic... Here's Why

We had some amazing sponsors who believed in me and this project, and who took a chance on the dynamic group of designers who make up the African American Top 20  

Thank you!
ADAC Atlanta, Hansgrohe, Zinc Door, Baker Furniture, Robert Allen, Kravet, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Robin Wison Home, The voice That is, Nest 301, The Tile Bar, Bjork Studio, Abbey Carpet & Floor, Hines Furniture, Lights Online, Faux Decor, Peacock Alley, Catania Silks, Verde Home,  W Hotel Downtown, Uptown Magazine and KBG Multimedia.

We were at the "whatever, whenever" W Atlanta Downtown.  It was the perfect place for the Welcome to Atlanta Mixer,  to get a late night drink,  talk design and walk to great restaurants with new friends.  Loved the W team who went above and beyond to make our stay flawless.

African American Top 20 Interior Designers Presented By Kimberly Ward of Pink Eggshell

African American Top 20 Interior Designers Presented By Kimberly Ward of Pink Eggshell

There were so many design students, bloggers and young designers who were elated to be in the presence of so many talented designers as well as design legends Sheila Bridges, Ron Woodson, and Roderick Shade.   They took pictures with HGTV Design Star winners, Danielle Colding (Season 7 winner) and Tiffany Brooks (Season 8 winner) and got a first hand glimpse at what's possible for their design careers.



Our panel discussion was fun and insightful.  The designers really opened up about their design careers, their high profile clients and the business behind what they do as a designer.  I was inspired by the candid nature of the panelist and appreciate their openness about the wins and loses that come with this industry.

Bake Furniture went above and beyond with the lunch reception for the panel.  The showroom was beautiful and the food delicious!  Hope Deer at Baker, made the experience even more personal by included a DJ playing hip music that keep everyone moving and grooving. It was the perfect place for the lunch and I hope they sign on for next year.
African American Top 20 Interior Designers Presented By Kimberly Ward of Pink Eggshell
Loran Gross-Bryant, Ron Woodson, Lisa Turner and Michel Boyd on the Panel at ADAC
My one on one with Sheila Bridges was an out of body moment for me.  I have followed Sheila's career since 2002.  I had to contain my enthusiasm and ask the questions that the audience wanted to hear, but all I really wanted to do was hold her hand and talk design like we were old friend.  Sheila was a gem! Even though the friendship only exist in my head, the conversation was everything I expected.   She was very transparent and just an over all amazing spirit.  It was refreshing to hear about her life  and her journey from her perspective. The crowd loved her as well and gave her a standing ovation at the conclusion of the talk.  We sold out of her book "The Bald Mermaid, soon after arriving at the Robert Allen showroom. It seemed everyone wanted to take a piece of Sheila home with them.

There are times when the stars align and everything is just perfect.  The Blogger Loft Party at Atlanta Designer Michel Boyd's home was one of those times.  First of all the decor was AMAZING.  Michel is such a force when it comes to Style and his home is no exception.  I was in awe of the space from the moment I walked in the door.  Everything was perfect!  As the night progressed and the guest arrived, we enjoyed drinks and food and laughed into the night. Some naughty guest found their way upstairs to Michel Boyd's closet where an impromptu fashion show and photo shoot broke out.  This is the same closet that was a finalist for the Architectural Digest best closet contest, so you know it was fashion fun to be had.
The party fell on the eve of Michel's birthday and we all raised a glass to him as a spontaneous round of Happy Birthday broke out in the crowd.  Some party goers who were not use to how things go in our community,  didn't know what to do when at the end of the traditional version, we went right into the Stevie wonder version of Happy Birthday.  Pictures were taken and friendships were forged.  Wendy Estes of Zinc Door sponsored the HashTag printing which allowed guest to take home memories from the event and serve as proof that they were indeed at the hottest party in town.

African American Top 20 Interior Designers Presented By Kimberly Ward of Pink Eggshell

After touring the Atlanta Symphony Show house and relaxing in the spaces created by Smith Boyd Interiors and Palmer Design Group, we met up for brunch at Del Frisco's Grill in Buckhead.  Both Janice's and Michel's spaces were the topic of conversation at brunch, prompting the group of designers to toss around the idea of pulling together their resources to do a show house at an upcoming #AATOP20 celebration.

The brunch was the last event planned for the weekend, but no one wanted the party to end.  The socializing and hanging out continued well into the night.  After noticing  that a large amount of people where still in town, Janice opened up her home for Sunday evening Dinner by up and coming Caribbean chef Carlington Brown.

African American Top 20 Interior Designers Presented By Kimberly Ward of Pink Eggshell

The weekend concluded with the launch of our new magazine "Iconic Home" Stay tuned for ways to get your hands on a copy. It has some great articles and features a special profile of the designers on this year's list.
African American Top 20 Interior Designers Presented By Kimberly Ward of Pink Eggshell

I hope you'll want to join us next year as we join together to celebrate the best of African American Interior Design.

All Photos by R Ashford Photography

UPDATED!!!! The Top 20 Revealed And You're Invited!

There are rarely times when I am speechless, but today, I found myself at a loss for words.  I am overjoyed by the outpouring of support for the 2014 African American Top 20 Event.  My team and I have been working around the clock to bring you a first-class event that celebrates black designers and our future in this industry.

Many of you have the same story as I did starting out; you love design, but lack the knowledge on how to enter the industry or, better yet, how to find mentors.  I get your emails and read your Facebook posts.  You are on the hunt and are looking for people in the industry that look like you and who share your worldview.

I get it.  {

See the list here.

}

When I was the president of the Home Economics Club in high school, I wasn't sure what an interior designer did.  Education and access is what kept me from pursuing a degree in design earlier in life.  I, like many of the designers on the list,started designing only after pursuing a different field.

 Now, here I am. Twelve years and more than 80,000 square feet of decorated space later, I've finally found my way. It has taken lots of trial and error and a never-ending dedication for furthering my education.  I've had some lucky breaks, but if others are going to grow and prosper in this industry,  they are going to need a little more than luck.

Hopefully, having the a reference of African American designers will be an important step in maximizing their efforts.  I knew that talented black designers were out there, but the question remained: Where are they?  I realized that I had to take the initiative to create a platform to showcase the African American presence in design.  When I started the African American Top 20 List in 2011, I simply wanted to provide a resource for any one looking to work for or with a designer of color.

 I want to thank you for supporting my efforts to expand opportunities and exposure for Black designers.  I've given my all to bringing you a mix of professionals whose style and approach to design are as diverse as you all are.

 It has been a labor of love. I have truly enjoyed getting to know each of the designers on the list and doing what I can to support and uplift them.

I want to include you in this celebration and so I'm extending a special invitation to you.

Please mark your calendars, and book your flights! This year's events are taking place in Atlanta, May 8 - 10.
Join us as we roll out the red carpet for the best and brightest our community has to offer!

If you attended the event in New York, you know we really had a wonderful time.  Designer and bloggers mixed and mingled with celebrities and media executives who all reveled in the opportunity to talk design all evening long.

This years' events will be a great follow-up to the New York event.  Although we won't have Jay-Z's 40/40 club as a backdrop, we will have the ever stylish W Hotel Downtown as our milieu. Join us there on Thursday evening, as we raise a glass and congratulate the 2014 recipients.  
Then, wake up Friday morning and make your way to the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) for a panel discussion with renowned designer Ron Woodson, Lisa Turner, Michel Boyd and Alicia Lamar.  This group has a stellar client roster and will share behind-the-scene tips and strategies for growing a business in this highly competitive industry.
After the panel discussion, come mingle and take pictures with your favorite designers from the Top 20 list during a reception in the Baker Showroom.Following the reception, Baker Furniture will welcome Sheila Bridges for a fun Q + A and book signing.
Then take a break or nap or both and get ready for an intimate social loft party hosted at the mid town loft of Michel Boyd of Smith Boyd Interiors.  This is going to be a high-energy event with lots of music and fun giveaways.  We have some really cool partners and can't wait to shower you with all kinds of design novelties.
On Saturday morning at 10:30a.m., we will meet in Buckhead for a guided tour of the Atlanta Symphony Show House.  Join Michel Boyd and Janice Palmer as they lead you though the space they have created. Please follow this link to get your tickets.

Space is filling up fast; so please RSVP today! I'll see you in May.

I can hardly wait!

Best In the Business: The Top 20 African American Interior Designers List

This year’s list is the best one yet!  The advancements in technology make it virtually effortless to find designers that continue to raise the bar for what is expected of Black designers.

We're switching things up this year. Instead of waiting to announce the 2014 African-American Top 20 Interior Designers in Atlanta, we're doing it here today!  We've sold out our venues and top designers and design enthusiast from all over the country have booked their flights and will soon be on their way to Atlanta for this year’s event.

It's really a dream come true.  I've always wanted to give you access to role models and heroes that you'd be happy to follow and support. As some of you advance your careers in design and others look to employ skilled black designers, my hope is that this will be your guide.

We're releasing the list online today because we need your help. Many of these designers are new to social media and need your support. As we go on to announce them, be sure to follow them on Twitter and Instagram.  Don't just look at their profiles or scroll through their photos without clicking like or leaving your comments about their work. 

Below the links are their twitter profile addresses. We'll be on twitter from now until the event is over sharing details from each of the designer's careers and giving you a chance to interact with them.  Please ask questions and give them kind words of encouragement.  

The images from their portfolios are available to be shared online. Please tweet and share using hashtag #AATOP20 and follow our twitter account @AATOP20ID.  It's going to be a lot of fun and you don't want to miss out.

Ok, now for what you've all been waiting for, 

here are the TOP 20 African American Interior Designers for 2014

The 2014 African American Top 20 Interior Designer

s

Linda Allen * Linda Allen Designs*

LindaAllenDesigns.com

 LosAngeles

Nile Johnson * 

Nile Johnson Design * 

NileJohnsondesign.com

 * DC

Alicia Lamar *Alicia Lamar Home *

AliciaLamarHome.com

 * Los Angeles

Anishka Clarke *Ishka Designs* 

Ishkadesigns.com

 * New York

Lorna Gross- Bryant *

Savant Interior Design  * 

SavantID.com

 *Bethesda, MD

Tiffany Brooks *You and Your Decor  * 

YouandYourDecor.net

 *Chicago

Robin Wilson * Robin Wilson Home * 

RobinWilsonhome.com

  *New York 

Joan Goodwin * Verandah Interiors  * 

Vcustomdesigns.com

  * Columbia, SC

Rae Revelle * 

Ray Norris Design * 

 RayNorrisDesign.com

  * Arlington, VA

Joy Moyler  * Joy Moyler Interiors  * 

Joymoylerinteriors.com

 * New York

Marian Akinloye * 

MA Design Studio  * 

MAdesignstudio.com

 *  New York

Erin Shakoor * Shakoor Interiors  * 

Shakoorinc.com

  * Chicago

Michel Boyd * Smith Boyd Interiors *  

SmithBoydInteriors.com

 * Atlanta

Elaine Griffin * Elaine Griffin  * 

ElaineGriffin.com

  * New York

Ron Woodson * Woodson and Rummerfield *  

WandRdesign.com

  * Los Angeles

Sheila Bridges * Sheila Bridges * 

SheilaBridges.com

  * New York

Lisa Turner * Interior Obsessions  * 

Interiorobsession.com

  * Los Angeles

Janice Palmer * Palmer Design Group *

PalmerDesignLLC.com

* Atlanta

Roderick Shade  * Roderick N. Shade Interior Design  * 

Roderickshade.com

  * New York

Howard Brown * 

Howard Brown Design *  

HowardBrownDesign.com

 * Atlanta

2014 HALL OF FAME DESIGNERS

Darryl Carter * 

Darryl Carter * 

DarrylCarter.com

 * 

Washington DC

Cecil Hayes * 

Cecil Hayes * 

CecilHayes.com

  * Miami  

Facebook

Twitter

 Google+

Meet Marian Akinloye of MA Design Studio

OK. I have a confession; I knew I would love Marian Akinloye long before we actually met.  I found her accidentally as I am a huge Jamie Drake fan and she was one of his senior designers for many years. There were only a few images of her work online when I started to vet her, so I had to trust my gut about her talent.  I put her on the list with only one image to present to the panel for her consideration.  I pulled for her in part because of what I knew she had learned at Drake Design Associates.  

When I finally got images of her work and a chance to speak with her, all my politicking on her behalf was justified. Her portfolio was colorful and thoughtful - well layered and inviting.  I was happy.

Fast forward and Akinloye has evolved into quite the design talent. Her design perspective is clear and she is branching out and developing her own signature style.  She recently completed a condo project in Aruba that she feels allowed her to use every bit of her design knowledge.

Akinloye designs homes in the priciest zip codes in the country.  From lofts in Tribeca to Upper East Side residents, she just might be the best interior designer you've never heard of. Until Now!


Image via Marian Akinloye of MA Design Studio
Upper East Side Residence Designed By Akinloye

Today's African American Top 20 Interior Designer feature is Marian Akinloye of  MA Design Studio 

PE: I ask this question to everyone.  What does a successful design career look like to you?
MA: For me a successful design career means continued growth.  I want to continue to grow my business and grow professionally as a designer.  I want my body of work to be inspiring to other designers out there.

PE:  Have you ever done a project where you were surprised at how well it turned out?  What made it special?
MA: I'm always on pins and needles until every piece of furniture is in its place.  When I was working on the private lounge in Soho, it was the first commercial space I had worked on and we were on such a tight budget.  I didn't know how I would pull it off, but it turned out so beautiful, I just felt proud.  Seeing the smile on my clients face was everything to me.

PE:  Your family was extremely excited about your selection to the Top 20 list, how did that make you feel?
MA: Well, It made me feel proud,  my husband, my mom and my brothers have always been my biggest supporters.  Through the ups and downs of my career, they've been there for me.  Being on the Top 20 List is an honor.  I feel so blessed that my name is being mentioned with the great African American veterans of interior design.

PE: As I mentioned in the introduction, I have a good feeling about you and your career.  What plans (that you can share) do you have for the future of MA Designs?
MA:  I'm flattered to hear you say that.  Well, right now I'm trying to focus on the projects that I have in front of me, I'm working on a new construction project in the Hamptons, so I'm taking it one day at a time.

PE: Finally, Do you have a signature style when it comes to design?
MA: Not really, I feel like I'm continuing to develop as a designer so I don't have a signature style. I'm still learning with each project that I work on and I think I like it that way.  I don't want to become too predictable.

PE: Complete this sentence.  I make sure every home I decorate...
MA: Makes my client happy.  Every time they walk in to their homes I want them to exhale and smile.

Marian Akinloye
Marian Akinloye and friends at the Top 20 events at the 40/40 Club

Leaders of The New School: Anishka Clarke

One of my favorite things about the African American Top 20 is its ability to introduce you to designers that you might not otherwise be aware of.  I have been following Anishka Clarke of Ishka Designs for several years. It has been fun and exciting to see her style evolve and company grow.  We added Aniska to the Top 20 list in 2012, understanding we were a little late to the party.  Her company was already making a splash in New York area.  This week Lonny Magazine highlighted the Brooklyn-based company adding them to their  "10 Designers to Watch" list.

I wanted to get to know a little more about Anishka so I asked Anishka a few questions about her career, finding inspiration and her plans for the future.

Image Ishka Designs via Lonny.com
PE:  What does a successful design career look like to you?
AC: Years from now, when I look back at Ishka Designs' trajectory, I would like to say that we developed a leading international interior design firm supported by a globally diverse, multi-cultural design team.  Our success would be measured by profitability of course but also quality of life (see answers to question 6, 7 and 8 below).  Our primary focus would be the hospitality and residential design markets.   

PE:  You were one of the favorites from the New York event. I got a lot of positive feedback about your space.  The pattern on the chairs were a knock out, where do you normally start a design project?
AC: Thanks!  Every project starts with the client.  Our in-depth interview process, which is a major part of our research phase, allows us to really dig deep into our clients' personalities, desires and needs.  Once we feel we understand them well, we dig our heels into a concept and apply it to all our decisions, whether space planning or material selection.  Ultimately, we always strive to elevate our clients' taste as well as encourage them to take a lot of risks.

PE: Have you ever done a project where you were surprised at how god it turned out? What made it special?
AC: For most of our projects there is always that moment of "wow, that really came out great didn't it?".  But I would say whenever we get a chance to create a piece of furniture, there is always a significant feeling of accomplishment.  For instance, we designed and built a bar cabinet for one of our projects recently. I spent the day with the fabricator piecing together scrap wood and exotic woods to create the main design element.  May not sound glamorous but I was in my element.  It was like building my own puzzle (I love puzzles) or creating some kind of sculpture. I think what made it special was how organic the experience became and how hands-on I had to be in the fabrication of the piece.  I want to do a ton more furniture pieces that require components of organic design and puzzle-making. 

PE: What role does the press play in establishing yourself as a designer?
AC: For Ishka Designs, press is primarily about building brand awareness for longer-term objectives, as opposed to client conversion today.  Very few publications result in actual client prospects.  I have discussed this with other published interior designers, and they agree on this whole heartily.  Press coverage definitely lends further credibility to a designer but only if that is important to their target market.  It is time consuming if you don't have a PR team promoting your work, or it can be costly if you do.  One has to weigh the benefits of pursuing press opportunities by looking at the cost and time dedicated to doing so.  Interestingly, many designers are successful without ever having been published, typically because it is not important to their clientele.  The lack of press in no way diminishes their talent and success.  

PE:  I understand that there was a recent dinner in NYC where black women designers got together.  How important is that type of networking to your success? 
AC: What I have found as an entrepreneur is that you cannot operate in a vacuum.  Being able to share struggles whether personal or professional definitely helps to alleviate the stress of running a business.  So yes, being in an intimate environment with designers who share similar struggles is hugely important and definitely aids in both our personal and professional successes.  

PE:  Finish this sentence.  I could spend all day....
Daydreaming on the beach.

PE:  How important is downtime between your projects?
Very important.

PE:  What do you like to do during your down time?
AC: My what??? Kidding. There really is no one thing.  When I do have downtime, I like to catch up with the real world...family, friends, new restaurants, travel, beach, shopping. 

PE: Do you have a signature style when it comes to design?
AC: We continue to hone that signature style daily.  Our tendency is for our designs to be modern, eclectic and deceptively simplistic. 

PE: Complete this sentence please.  I make sure ever home I decorate...
is a true reflection of the owner.

Cecil Hayes- Designer Unlimited!

I met Architectural Digest Top 100 Interior Designer Cecil Hayes in 2008. She was at ADAC giving a keynote presentation and sharing the inspiration for her book, "9 Steps to Beautiful Living".  I've always admired Cecil, not just because of what she has accomplished as an African-American interior designer, but also because of what she has accomplished as a woman in the male-dominated furniture manufacturing industry.   During the Atlanta visit, she gave an amazing lecture and later answered questions from the audience that were beneficial to both the novice and pro alike. It was a wonderful glimpse into her life that I still treasure to this day.   So much of the wisdom she shared that morning made its way into my design practice and for that, I am eternally grateful to Cecil.

Cecil Hayes of Cecil Hayes Unlimited 

When asked about choosing a career as an Interior Designer, Cecil shares the following.
"My decorating talent allows me to see a space as an empty canvas waiting to become a composition of shapes, colors and textures. Everything about me enjoys creating memorable living spaces for each client. "

Cecil's newly designed website, illustrates just how accomplished of an interior designer she really is.  With features in top-rate publications like, the Boston Globe, USA Today, and the Robb Report, singing her praises it's no wonder clients from all over the world seek her out to design their homes, businesses and resorts.


There is so much to say about Cecil Hayes, but I'd rather let her work speak for itself.  It's a joy for me to present to you, today's feature, Florida native, and Hall of Fame Interior Designer, Cecil Hayes.

Cecil Hayes African AMerican Top 20 Interior Designer
All Images Cecil Hayes Unlimited
Cecil Hayes African AMerican Top 20 Interior Designer
All Images Cecil Hayes Unlimited
Cecil Hayes African AMerican Top 20 Interior Designer
All Images Cecil Hayes Unlimited

Inside Atlanta's Hot New Home Boutique - Jackson Charles Home

Jackson Charles Home

I was super excited to stop by Atlanta's new design boutique Jackson-Charles Home while in Atlanta a few weeks ago.  I love a good boutique.  Don't you?  When done right, the boutique represents the spirit and persona of its owner to perfection.  This was definitely the case with Jackson Charles Home.  
I was instantly taken in by the vibrant colors and the glamour of the space. 


Jackson Charles Home 14 

With price points starting at $15 dollars and going up to $8,000 there's something for every kind of shopper.  The boutique is the baby of Interior Designer Eddie Ammons.  Eddie is like a cool girlfriend who knows all the things you need before you know you need them.  She's talented, creative, and has stocked her West Midtown store with
some of her favorite decorating staples.

Jackson Charles Home 13

I love that she doesn't mind pushing the envelope with design.  How cool is the gold and cream animal hide draped over this table?  It's exactly this type of inspiration you'll find when visiting the Jackson Charles showroom.  I found lots of great treats, but it was the art that stole my heart.  It was over-sized and absolutely everywhere!  I've been obsessing over the pink abstracts at the front of the store since seeing them.  Keep in mind though, it's not just the art that will blow you away.  It's the  McClendon scented powder for your sheets, the golden saber's tooth, and the
charming hostess gifts sprinkled throughout the store.

It's all so perfect for trendsetting Atlantans and the Atlanta design market.

Jackson Charles Home 2

Love the channel sofa in cognac. It's so Blue Satin Male
Jackson Charles Home 5
Eddie Ammons at her West Midtown Showroom
 All images were taken by yours truly at the Jackson Charles Home showroom.  You can visit the store at
1465 Chattahoochee Ave., NW Suite 150-200 Atlanta, GA 30318
or online at JacksonCharlesHome.com

How Social Media is Changing the High Point Market Experience

I'm sure by now, you've heard all the excitement surrounding the spring installment of Furniture Market at High Point.

I received a tweet today from my friend, Jenner Stoner, exclaiming how excited she is about this particular market.  It's all the tweets of excitement that have me and several other designers from the African-American Top 20 rearranging our schedules so we can  make a stop in North Carolina.  

Looking at the market guide, I've noticed things have changed quite a bit since the last time I was at  market in 2009. Back then we had no way of organizing things and often found ourselves  going from building to building  trying to make appointments.  I would leave worn out.  Thankfully, social media has completely revolutionized how Market is experienced.  I for one, am looking forward to the resources and interactive guides designed to make the whole thing easier to navigate.  I'll be able to keep up with my friends and fellow designers via Twitter and see in real time, what they are finding in the showrooms.   

Every year, I fall in love with a piece only to misplace the order form or forget where I saw it altogether.  Technology and social media will change all that.  Take for example these items from Emerson Et Cie. In the past I would see them at market and pick up a catalogue for later use.  Now, I can look up the company's website on my iPhone, store that information in Evernote, pin the items to my market Pin board, and later show my client how the item can be used in their space via Olioboard.

emersonimages.jpg

Sample tear sheets of  items available at High Point and represented on our

Market Pintrest Board

Sample Olioboard 

Not attending market?  Don't worry.  You'll be able to see all of our great finds via Pintrest here

Joan Goodwin, Michel Boyd and I will be pinning items there starting Saturday, April 20.  And of course I'll be tweeting and posting on Instagram so you won't miss a thing. I plan to attend lectures, events, and take in all that North Carolina has to offer.  I've received many invitations to visit showrooms.  I'm especially excited to visit brands I've only recently been introduced to.  Just check out these images from Caraccole.  Amazing right?  I can't wait to see them all in person!

If you have any suggestions of showrooms to visit or things to do, please leave a comment below.  I'll do my best to check them out.  In the meantime, follow along on your favorite platform and I'll meet you back here after market to share my market finds and event details.

Until then!

Kimberly