"interior design"

African American Top 20 List... a 3rd Time!

Happy and humbled again to be included on Pink Eggshell's African American Top 20 List of Interior Designers for the 3rd year in a row.  We are beyond appreciative to Kimberly and her team at Pink Eggshell for continuing to value the work we do at Ishka Designs, to bestow us with this honor and to include us among the many giants in this relatively small community of interior designers of color.  As the importance of the list grows within the broad landscape of the interior design industry it is only right that the celebration that accompanies this event grows in tandem.  This year's celebration will be in Atlanta and will be a 3-day event starting with the celebration party on Thursday May 8th at the newly opened Negril restaurant.  See the line up on Pink Eggshell's blog

here

, and for the full list of the other amazingly talented designers, read

here

.  If you are in the Atlanta area, we would love for you to join the celebration, say hello and meet the other designers.  Looking forward!

Some of the members of the Top 20 at the 2012 celebration in NYC.  Source: African American Interior Designers Facebook page

One,

Team IDI

Latest Project: A Kitchen Refreshed!

All photos by Niya Bascom Photography

Might be a bit too late to say happy new year, but we are at least happy to share our latest completed project - a kitchen and mudroom refresher.  Pardon our lack of humility but we LOVE how this one turned out.  People often ask "what is IDI's style?".  I would say that this look comes very close to it - minimal, clean simplicity that showcases an eclectic mix of pieces and LOTS of vintage finds.  Niya would probably say it needs more color, but we both agree that all the textures gives this kitchen and mudroom great personality.
We had these vintage metal chairs for awhile and so decided to pair them with this reclaimed West Elm table.  The fabric was a recent find.  The light fixture is also an antique.
The pair of Eames chairs (background) keeps the space light while balancing color and contrast.
A pop of red and a ton of art makes this muddy mud-room a treat to walk through, The glass door was added to further winterize the house while the antique handle was refinished to add some character.
The brick chimney with it's multiple paint layers brings some color into the space while the old church pew completes the seating arrangement.
More images can be found here.  Let us know if you like it as much as we do!

One,
idi

Paris Project Progress!

Salut!  For those who may not know, we've been travelling to France over the past 6 months to work on a residential project in the heart of Paris.  Steps from the Eiffel tower, we really could not have chosen a more beautiful city to add a bit of our own touch of style.
Copyright Niya Bascom Photography.
Reposted from www.niyabascom.blogspot.com
Our first visit to the project site was an eye opener.  It took us a minute to "see" the beauty of what lay before us.  Once we started looking, however, all that was visible were the awesome pieces of art, an amazingly eclectic furniture selection and volumes upon volumes of books.  The interesting history of this duplex apartment will be shared in a future post but I will at least mention the beautiful moldings, two-story windows, curvy iron staircase and the double height living area.  Here is a teaser of the progress thus far:
Photo credit: Ishka Designs Inc.
Don't know what your thoughts are, but we are absolutely in love with this project!  Language barriers, serious jetlag issues, sprained ankles and the flu has not hindered its progress much, if any at all.  And now, the rich history of the clients and their love for the arts shines through all the rooms and we cannot wait to share the home with you once its completed.

a bientôt,
idi  

Introducing Elberta Part 2

We completely redesigned and installed a new façade for the restaurant.  The header of the new skinny metal "barely-there" frame (built by Lennox Ironworks) provides a strong contrast to the new name and logo finished in stainless steel.  It also conceals the security gate which was a major eyesore before.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The façade BEFORE.  The old wooden structure was taken off-site and upcycled by Eddie's Ft. Greene salvage company located at Greene and Grand Ave's. 
Although only a few days have passed since our first post on Elberta Restaurant, this project took about 4 months to complete counting from the day we signed the contract up until the last construction day.  For the clients, a bit longer on the back- and front-end.  Construction itself took 3 months, delayed by crazy spring weather (impacting façade and sidewalk installation), site issues, product delays, etc.  But nothing before it's time eh?  Seriously.  Elberta's very first up and running event (friends and family) was held on the owners' anniversary, which is very symbolic as their wedding reception was held in this very same space under the previous banner a few years ago.  How's that for timing?
The lighting design plays a very important role in setting the mood of Elberta particularly for the dinner crowd.  We aim to capture the essence of that beautiful time of day just leading into dusk by using a sprinkling of warm edison bulbs throughout.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
BEFORE.  The afternoon light was decent in the old café but there was a ridiculous glare at a certain hour that we mitigated by tinting the exterior glass on the new façade. 
So here we are.  A few days into the opening of Elberta Restaurant.  She has finally exposed her multi-layered personality.  From the strong-willed temperament that is reflected in the newly designed steely exterior to the soft feminine wiles that is the more intimate back section of the restaurant.  Since we laid the ground work on how we got here in PART 1 of this post, let's take a look at the embodiment of Elberta's physical persona:
Clockwise from Top Left: 1. Material palette; 2. Bathroom walls painted black (a very specific black to match the floor tile) and covered in various vintage frames; 3. Wallpaper being hung by our favourite hanger Chris; 4. We painted white the exposed brick, beams, etc in the dining area to match both wallpapers; 5. A tone on tone textured wallpaper goes up by the bar and 6. Up-close of installed bar top.
Design - Ishka Designs
The material selection came together beautifully once the main element was determined: the bar top.  Fated to be built out of a gorgeous green material made from sorghum stalks, this resilient and beautiful plant by-product became the starting point of the entire palette.  With a focus on the 1920's prohibition period, we felt it only right to bring in metals and brass metallics to complement the bar top and to reflect her tough exterior.  To speak to Elberta's sensuality we married these elements with black and white in various textural forms, from wallpaper to hard laminates to the now beautifully painted brick walls in the dining area and bathroom.  In addition, darkly stained bamboo floors were installed.  Once we peeled back the tough layers, her softer feminine side is reflected in the vibrant floral wallpaper as well as in the beautiful frame details in the more intimate areas of the restaurant.  Overall, we believe we've successfully created a sophisticated environment, from the completely open storefront re-design right through to the black bathroom in the back.  Whether from the images, or your own intimate experience with Elberta, we hope you share our sentiments too.

And here she is, BEFORE & AFTER.  Interior and façade designed by Ishka Designs, captured by our Niya Bascom with styling assistance by Sana Keefer...
BEFORE.  Despite the yellow walls, the old café bar and cash-wrap felt heavy with the dark stained wood and wainscotting.  We kept the TV for the new bar patrons but neatly tucked it away so as to minimize the disturbance to dining patrons.
AFTER.  The brass faced cabinets help to create that early evening glow.  An aside: the bar-front material never turned up so we had to go with plan B, which worked out pretty well to say the least.  The white back wall here is the white textured wallpaper above.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The daylighting in the restaurant is amazing thanks to the new façade.  To help reflect the light further, we used a subtly antiqued mirror for the bar back.  All told, we employed quite a bit of subtlety throughout this design.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
Thin metal shelves with cove lighting were installed in the bar area below the antique brass faced cabinets.  Subtle lighting under the bar picks up the glass details nicely.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The kitchen walls when examined up close have a linear textured finish running in alternating directions.  When you visit her, be sure to check it out.  Btw, some of the black squares are actually cupboards.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
BEFORE.  While we have an eclectic sensibility, the mix and match furniture in the old café just didn't work. Not to mention the unflattering light fixtures.
AFTER. Elberta now feels open and bright.  The kitchen, partially exposed, has excellent ventilation.  You are not overwhelmed with cooking smells, though that couldn't hurt :)
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
Though singularly subtle, we stocked up on these multiple light fixtures to create a romantic feel.  The tables were custom built using marine grade plywood topped with a black laminate surface.  Just love how the lines on the plywood play off the bar top.  Details can be seen on our website.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
As you can tell, we really love the light fixtures.  Could not be more happy with this made in the USA product. The brass and black housing with brass coloured cords were the right touches for the space.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
BEFORE.  The café was a haven for those who would rather work in a quiet environment away from home.  Fortunately for these folks a really cool looking café has opened up a few blocks down the road.
AFTER. It is the expectation that the restaurant's new found cohesiveness, once viewed from the street, will attract a wider audience for dinner and brunch.  This long view emphasizes the exposed beams and brick walls leading to the pretty focal wall at back.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The detailing on the kitchen wall/storage unit is pretty cool.  Antique brass nailheads and laminates, black textures and the bar top material give it a nice depth.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
We can now see upclose the softer side of Elberta towards the back...
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
One of our favourite perspectives in the space.  Very happy with how the textures, patterns and palette came together.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
Yes, there is a chimney and pseudo fireplace.  Very typical of Brooklyn brownstones.  And for those of you who were originally asking, you finally get to see what we did with those vintage frames.
Design - Ishka Designs; Copyright of Niya Bascom Photography; Styling Assistance - Sana Keefer
The remaining images can be found HERE on our website.  Feel free to leave comments below if you have any :)  And yes, Elberta is open to the public...go eat Southern cuisine and support this amazing couple!  Elberta restaurant is located at 335 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn between Prosect Place and Park Place.

One,
idi

Top 20 African American Interior Designers

The night's brochure and poster with Ishka Design's work on it (bottom right)!
This past weekend was a bit surreal for us.  Actually, the past two weeks really.  Since receiving the call with the amazing news that Ishka Designs was put on a list of Top 20 African-American Interior Designers, we've been walking around in a state of mixed emotions.  Last year's list read like a who's who of leading and up-and-coming stars, so to think that we are a part of this year's list was amazing and worthy of a let's hold my breath til they actually announce the list out loud and on paper.  And that they did.  This past Sunday, interior designer Kimberley Ward of the Pinkegshell blog unveiled her 2012 African-American Top 20 list of Interior Designers and yes, she said the list out loud and published it on paper. Yay!

13 of the 20 Interior Designers on the 2012 list that were in attendance.  
Ishka Designs made it unto a list with such amazing designers as Sheila Bridges, Joy Moyler, Daryl Carter and Roderick Shade, to name just a few.  The wealth of experience and accomplishments on the list has Niya and I truly humbled and honoured.  With just shy of 5 years of real world experience in interior design, this recognition gives us more motivation, commitment and excitement to fuel the passion.

Do what you love.

(See full list here: Pinkegshell and images from the event here: Images)

one,
idi