A Design State of Mind is officially closed. Check out my new blog, Gray Living at http://www.grayliving.net
A Design State of Mind is officially closed. Check out my new blog, Gray Living at http://www.grayliving.net
Hello Design Minds,
It’s been a few months since my last post. But have no fear, new posts are coming soon. On December 1st, A Design State of Mind will be relaunched under a new name. The website will also have a whole new look. Thanks for continuing to stop by and posting your comments. Be on the look out for the new name, new website, and new discussion topics.
Today’s blog is dedicated to my favorite Prince song of all time, Purple Rain. Normally I would post the lyrics, but there’s no need to do that because I’m sure you all know the words to Prince’s classic 80′s hit. *belts out “Purple Rain” in my Prince voice* BTW, did anyone catch Purple Rain on television last nite?
Purple is considered the most exotic color on the color wheel. It represents royalty, spirituality, transformation, wisdom, arrogance, mystery and enlightenment. Purple has become a very trendy color in interior design. The combination of red and blue create a variety of hues making the design possibilities for homes and commercial spaces endless. Purple can be used to create a warm, vibrant atmosphere or a calm, relaxing room. Purple can dress up a living room, add a pop of color to walls, and add depth to any space. Have fun with purple’s versatility and don’t forget its cousins…plum, lavender, and violet.
The back of this chair makes me blush like a school girl. It’s feminine, stylish and sexy. *double swoons*
This month’s Hue of the Month is Interior Designer and Blogger, Erika Ward. She is a married mother of 3 kids who thinks of herself as the quintessential Renaissance woman. Erika has an insatiable passion for all things design (and Mexican cuisine). Her designs are inspired by the latest trends in fashion and she urges clients to look at their wardrobe for inspiration in styling their homes. Her blog, BluLabel Bungalow, is filled with sophisticated fashion inspired tips and do-it-yourself design projects and ideas.
Current City: Atlanta, Georgia
School Name/Degree: University of Georgia / BBA Finance
Design Specialty: Affordable Design / Fashion-Inspired Interior Design
Tell me a little bit about your design background. How did you get started in the industry?
My design background was cultivated as a young child surrounded by artists and entrepreneurs. An accomplished architect, my grandfather was probably my first design professor. It was my greatest desire to follow in his footsteps, but was advised to study Finance with plans to manage the finances of the family business. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I still longed for formal design training. I then enrolled and completed coursework in Interior Design at American InterContinental University. During this time, I also worked for a large Design/Build firm then for a full service real estate development company managing multi-million dollar construction budgets. Finally in 2005, I established Erika Ward Interiors and set out to answer my heart’s true calling.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in interior design?
Simply put, I gain joy from creating an atmosphere. Fabrics, textures, colors, lighting, and materials have a way of affecting our moods without our awareness or permission. The psychology of interior design is intriguing because it engages all of our five senses, yes even our sense of taste. Studies show that vivid colors such as red and yellow stimulate the appetite, while blue or green plates suppress the appetite. Who knew changing your tableware could help you drop a few pounds!
Describe your first interior design project.
My first interior design project was a small space design in Midtown Atlanta. Without a doubt, I put both my formal and informal training to the test and fortunately passed with flying colors. The space belonged to a young, professional woman who had a very limited budget, but very big ideas! Think champagne taste…you know the rest. Eager and downright giddy about my first design job, I self performed the painting (in exchange for dinner) and even put a few hidden carpentry skills to use. The result was beyond what either of us expected, but I had to pretend like I knew all along how great it was going to be. I still laugh about that to this day!
How do you define your personal style?
My personal style is sophisticated, tailored, and comfortable. I tend to be very conservative in both my home and in how I dress, but occasionally I get a wild hair and surprise everyone. I favor upholstered furniture with straight lines and adore curved legs on case goods. Similarly, I love clothes tailored to fit my body’s proportions which result in a wardrobe that compliments my curves.
What inspires you?
In design, the homeowner’s lifestyle and personal beliefs are my inspiration. In my personal life, my favorite sources of inspiration come from the success stories of others. I make it my goal to find inspiration everywhere. If we look to a particular avenue to be inspired and for some reason it ceases to exist what happens to our creativity?
What is your dream interior design project? If you had the money, resources and a ready and willing client what would you create and why?
My dream project is actually more of a movement. I wish I could afford to design spaces for everyone at no cost to them. I want to spread the word that it’s really not about having expensive things; it’s about being surrounding by the things you love. I recently read an article written by Jonathan Legate (http://jonathanlegate.tumblr.com/post/875094905/living-with-what-you-love)
that explains it beautifully.
Who is your favorite interior designer? What are some of your favorite design vendors, stores, books/magazines, and websites?
Favorite Interior Designer: Amanda Nisbet
Stores: Horizon Home, Bungalow Classic, and bit of Ikea
Vendors: Brownstone Furniture, Magenta, and BlissLivingHome
Magazines: Canadian House and Home, HouseBeautiful
Websites: http://www.colourmehappy.blogspot.com , http://www.eddieross.com, http://www.decordemon.com, http://www.allthebestblog.com
What do you find most rewarding about your job as an interior designer? What do you find least rewarding?
Being a designer stretches my creativity in regards to finding alternative uses for common items (i.e. using a dresser in an entryway). It also challenges me to see how far I can stretch a dollar (a great skill to have today). The least rewarding thing about being a designer is when I encounter an unreliable contractor. Problems with tradesman are a real drain of time and energy. I detest unprofessionalism and believe that sometimes you have to have enough business acumen for everyone to recover when a job goes wrong.
As an African-American interior designer, do you feel that African-Americans are under-represented in the design industry? What do you think should be done to encourage more African-Americans to become interior designers?
Yes. I think the disparity comes from youth not having much exposure to the field. Due to tight state budgets, art programs in our school systems have been either drastically cut or eliminated. Once of my favorite vocational education classes was industrial arts. My high school also offered drafting for a short time, but was eliminated before I had a chance to sign up. It may be time for the design community to rally together to volunteer their time and money to offer relevant art programs to our youth.
What advice do you have for other African-American interior designers reading this interview?
My advice would be the same to all artists. Get out there are interact with ALL artists, not just a particular group of people. We are all united by a common thread, our God given artistic talents. EVERYONE has a place in the design community. Success is not reserved for a chosen few. Believe that.
“I believe that God made us all creators and I enjoy helping others to value the work of their hands“.
What is something you would like the world to know about you or your ideas?
I want to inspire someone to discover their passion and discover ways to win while doing a job they love. I also want to encourage others in self discovery. Just the other day I realized that I am further from the norm than I originally thought…and I’m okay with that.
Where do you see yourself as a designer 10 years from now?
In 10 years, I will be enjoying a successful career in television, a reputation as a phenomenal motivational speaker, and be the founder of a design related non-profit organization.
“She don’t believe in shootin’ stars/but she believe in shoes & cars/Wood floors in the new apartment/couture from the store’s department” ~ Flashing Lights by Kanye West
Today Design Minds we are all about BLUE!!! Yup, blue. The color of the sky and ocean that is also synonymous with the word “BOY”. Blue is peaceful, its tranquil and has a calming effect, making it popular in bedrooms. I must admit I’m not really a blue kinda girl. It’s one of those colors on the color wheel that just doesn’t speak to me. I try to avoid it when possible. Well, blue jeans are probably the only exception to this rule. Oh, I can’t forget about Tiffany blue. I digress. Anywhoo, when I first saw this picture my mouth literally dropped wide open. Blue, which is known as a cool color, is very dominate in this design yet there is still an essence of warmth in the room. I’m impressed. *claps* If Tiffany had a living room this is probably what it would look like.
The painting below is the work of Australian artist Campbell Laird, entitled, Modu Series #6. Laird is an award-winning artist who creates limited edition modern prints. His work can be found across the globe in Trump Tower in NYC to homes in the Hollywood Hills, London, Madrid and Tokyo.
Design Minds, can we please take a moment to acknowledge the beauty of these Kartell jewel-toned stools? A-MA-ZING!!! I know today’s theme is blue but I had to throw in a freebie. These stools are a great way to add a touch of glamour to any space. They come in a variety of colors and can be used as a side table. Plus, ladies love things that sparkle. *wink*
Here’s a unique desk lamp by Perch! called Frida. It’s fun and whimsical. A perfect lamp for a blogger’s desk. I don’t know about you but it makes me wanna grab my laptop and check out my favorite design bloggers while sipping on a cup of green tea on a cold rainy day. Ah, I’m feeling blue.
“If I ruled the world/Imagine that/I’d free all my sons, I love em love em baby/Black diamonds and pearls/Could it be, if you could
be mine, we’d both shine/If I ruled the world/Still livin for today, in these last days and times” ~ If I Ruled The World by Nas
It was a hot Sunday afternoon in Atlanta when Bestie and I decided to take a stroll down Peachtree St. to the Fox Theatre. When we got there, I was fascinated by the architecture and decor and immediately started taking pictures. There was something about it that drew me in but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Fast forward a few weeks later, the nerd in me (I was a history major in college) decided to Google the Fox Theatre Atlanta and I discovered that the interior and exterior is a mixture of ancient Egyptian and Islamic architecture. I was amazed at how these cultures influenced the design of the Fox Theatre which is also a historic landmark in Atlanta and listed on the National Historic Register.
The Fox Theatre was built in 1929 by French architect Olivier J. Vinour. Vinour designed the building using Middle Eastern motifs. The Egyptian Ballroom is designed after a temple for Ramses II. The ladies lounge features a replica of the throne chair of King Tut and makeup tables feature tiny Sphinxes while the men’s lounge includes hieroglyphic adornments.
Trompe-l’œil, an art technique that makes images appear 3-dimensional, can be found on the ceilings throughout the building.
I am in love with the windows above the doors.
Here’s a glimpse of the Fox Theatre’s exterior. The architecture looks like an Islamic mosque.
The side of the building reminds me of ancient Egyptian pyramids.
Next week I will do a post on the Fox Theatre Detroit or St. Louis. A design comparison would be fun and educational. Design Minds can pick the best design. Stay tuned.
“Successful people have a strong sense of their own selfworth, and that sense of self-esteem is the foundation on which they reach out and move forward.” ~ Harvey Gantt
Harvey Gantt was born in Charleston, SC in 1943 and has been described by his peers as a Trailblazer. He is a well-respected Architect, Politician, Philanthropist and Community Leader. He first gained national attention during the 1960′s when he became the first African-American to be admitted to Clemson University. He went on to graduate with honors with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and holds a master’s degree in urban planning from MIT. In 1983, he was elected as the first African-American mayor of the City of Charlotte. Today, Gantt manages Gantt Huberman Associates, an architecture, urban planning, and interior design firm based in Charlotte, NC. In 2009, the City of Charlotte opened it’s doors to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts and Culture. The Center celebrates contributions made by Africans and African-Americans in art, music, dance, theatre, film and community outreach.
Harvey Gantt is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the National, Organization of Minority Architects. In 1987, the American Institute of Architects paid due recognition to Gantt by making him a Fellow in the Institute. He serves on the North Carolina Board of Architecture and the AIA National Minority Services Committee. He’s been a member of accreditation committees at Howard University and Southern University School of Architecture and lecturered at several colleges and universities nationwide, including Hampton, Yale, Cornell, UNC-Chapel Hill, Michigan, MIT, Mississippi State, Tuskegee, A&T, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech. Havey Gantt has distinguished himself as a designer of structures and a builder of communities. In 2006, Gantt Huberman Associates was awarded “North Carolina Firm of The Year” by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Gantt Huberman Associates Projects