Most of my family is from the South (Louisiana). Growing up we had no money so my clothes were hand-me-downs or handmade and sewn by my mom. My mom sewed all of our clothing and was a very talented sewing machine operator. While living in East Oakland, she used to work at a belt factory operating the Juki Serging and Bernina sewing machines. That’s where I learned to sew and have developed a love for sewing, creating art, and combining art with useful home decor. My artistic expression is seen in my home decor because the values I had instilled in me were that it doesn’t matter where you live, make it your home and truly live in it. A lot of people feel like, oh I won’t be living at this place for a long time, so why bother decorating it but the truth is, you are still present in that space and life is happening to you now, so its best to start living in a place that is an expression of who you are and what you love. So I am always repainting a bookcase, adding unique knobs, or adjusting the sofa legs and questioning “does this item have another life in it?” I prefer living in smaller spaces like studios or a one-bedroom apartment, and I really dislike dead space. I’m also not afraid to let a room dictate what furniture should be placed there, so for example, my dining room had better lighting and access, so I decided to make it my bedroom while my bedroom has become my art studio, and I’ve combined the living and dining components together.
I was a BART train operator with the Bay Area rapid transit for 4.5 years, and I did merchandising and visual work for Banana Republic and Gap, Inc. because of my background in pattern making and design from trade school. My dream home is somewhere in Europe, preferably UK so that I can speak English, but have access to all the neighboring countries that are only a train ride away. I sometimes feel I was born in the wrong country because I just visited Paris and I absolutely loved it….it’s an artist’s dream location. There is art and inspiration everywhere.
My home decor is very soothing with calm colors, which is very important to me because outside, I get all of the bright colors in the world everyday, so I come home to relax and recharge.
My design process always begins with the kitchen because it is the heart of every space and every party. I make sure the kitchen is always done. Then I start with how I actually want to live. What happens when I first walk in the door? How will the landing strip look? Where do my shoes go? Where do I put my bags? I don’t want to do too much when I arrive at home, so I always have multiple resting spots to place items and stay organized without effort. Next are nooks, which is creating smaller spaces within a space. In each nook, you have your “own” area with everything you need like a place to put your drink, pillows, chargers, some kind of entertainment etc. And you use the same idea for each nook you create. Then I continue to design other rooms that best fit my own idea of where things should be placed and what to add in each room. Overall my space needs to be cozy and beautiful, and no one should worry about destroying anything by sitting or using the space.
Three unique items in my space would be my living area lamp from HomeGoods that has a clear cylinder base in which I placed cotton inside. It’s special to me because the cotton reminds me of my grandma who used to pick cotton during slavery, so each time I look at the lamp I think of her and her sacrifices. Another unique item is my mole skin notebook from the local Blick Art Materials that helps me stay organized. And lastly, I really cherish my Nike Sky High Dunks Paris Edition (which cost $250) because I’m a sneaker fanatic, andI love wearing and collecting sneakers.
For me, the biggest challenge of the design process is electricity and power outlets, so I have to get creative with having access to it from all various parts of the home.
Places that I love to shop are Urban Ore, local flea markets like the one on San Pablo in Oakland which is run by my Aunt’s brother, and any small second-hand shops. The smaller and the more remote the second-hand shop, the better. For example, I love the Goodwill store in Bennington, Vermont which has amazing things.
To me good home design means that your place needs to look like you. It doesn’t matter where you live, but your personal space is how you are living. It’s another extension of who you are in a different form. It’s who you are as you move through the world.