In celebration of Black History Month, we wanted to highlight some of the incredible talent changing the interior design industry today. Here are the names and faces of seven design leaders you should get to know.
COREY DAMEN JENKINS
Corey Damen Jenkins has coined the phrase "New Traditional" is his work as the principal designer of Corey Damen Jenkins & Associates. Jenkins focuses on creating timeless designs using a mix of vibrant colors and layered patterns with his ultimate goal being "to ensure that my clients' homes are always classic, chic and without an expiration date." With two design firms in both his hometown of Detroit and in New York, Jenkins has worked with clients throughout the United States and Canada. He has also expressed his interest and talent in product design creating an exclusive line with Leathercraft and collaborating with Hudson Valley Lighting to create a luxury lighting collection. He was awarded the Traditional Homes "New Trad" Rising Star of Design Award in 2017 and has been included in publications such as Architectural Digest, the Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, Veranda, Domino and HGTV. Jenkins is a part of the 50 acclaimed designers of the Black Artists + Designers Guild and spreads his generosity by supporting several charities including Housing Works: Design on a Dime, Variety the Children's Charity, DIFFA: Dining by Design in New York City and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Follow this designer @coreydamenjenkins
Nile Johnson is the principal designer and founder of Nile Johnson Interior Designs. His artistic and detail driven design work is focused on curating rooms that are both comfortable and elevated, truly reflecting his clients' personality and lifestyle. Johnson's boutique design firm is located out of Philadelphia and has created work for both residential and commercial spaces throughout the United States while also giving back to his local community by supporting underprivileged youth. Johnson is a part of the 50 acclaimed designers of the Black Artists + Designers Guild, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and was included in the list of 2017-18 Top 20 Designers by the Black Interior Designers Network. Johnson's work and design advice has been featured in publications such as Curbed, HGTV, Interior Design, HuffPost, Delaware Today and more.
Follow this designer @nilejohnson
BETH DIANA SMITH
Beth Diana Smith is an interior designer who began her career in a very different world. She originally worked in the corporate finance industry, eventually turning her natural talent of problem solving and her knack of efficiency and organization towards her true passion, interior design. Smith has developed a unique style that combines eclectic accents, bold color palettes and global influence to create detail oriented and modern interiors. Working out of New Jersey, her work and design advice has been featured in well-renowned publications including NBC, HGTV, Vogue, Ebony, Design*Sponge and New York Times. Lonny Magazine included Smith in its list of 15 Black Designers Changing the Industry, and she was listed as one of the 2017 Top 10 Emerging Designer to Watch by Black Interior Designers Network.
Follow this designer @bethdianasmith
Erin Shakoor is the principal designer and founder of Shakoor Inc, a boutique design firm located out of Chicago. Shakoor has a background in fine arts and textile design and carries a strong passion for historic preservation. Her designs are generally centered around globally inspired furnishings mixing vintage furniture and tribal decor and patterns to create interior spaces like appear as though they have been slowly curated over time. Shakoor is an internationally known designer that was included in the list of Top 20 Designers by Pink Eggshell and listed in the Top 20 Designers of 2017-18 by the Black Interior Designers Network. Her work and advice been featured in multiple publications including Chicago Home & Garden, Chicago Magazine and Iconic Home Magazine. She is also a part of the 50 acclaimed designers of the Black Artists + Designers Guild and is dedicated to giving back to her alma mater and non-profits like After School Matters.
Profile Image by: Mary Rafferty
Follow this designer @shakoor_interiors
Sheila Bridges is one of the most iconic names of interior design today. She was named "America's Best Interior Designer" by both CNN & Time Magazine and frequently crosses the pages of publications such as Architectural Digest, New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Interior Design, House & Garden, Domino, Traditional Homes and House Beautiful. She has been listed on Elle Decor's A List since 2011 and has written multiple books including Furnishing Forward and The Bald Mermaid. Based in New York, Bridges has also ventured outside of interior design and into the product development world, starting her home decor company Sheila Bridges Home, Inc. She is known for the design of the Harlem Toile De Jouy pattern and wallpaper that has been included in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s permanent wallpaper collection. Her furniture designs have been added to museum collections all over the world and her design work has graced the interiors of prominent figures including President Bill Clinton and Andre Harrell and renowned locations such as Columbia University and Princeton University. Bridges is continuing to change the interior design industry as a member of the Advisory Board for the Black Artists + Designers Guild.
Follow this designer @harlemtoilegirl
TAVIA FORBES + MONET MASTERS
The amazing duo of Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters are a force to be reckoned with. They are the principal designers of their own firm, Forbes + Masters. Based in Atlanta, these two aren't afraid to bring creativity and custom ideas to their clients. One of their portfolio cases called "The Forward Foreroom" demonstrates a strategic use of rich blues contrasting with a gorgeous brown, all tied together with a pop of red roses in the center. It has an efficient usage of space, making it the perfect room to entertain multiple guests in. Another one of their projects entitled "Marietta Dining Room" boasts hand-painted walls and window treatments. The overlapping geometric shapes have a gradient at it's tail that doubles the illusion of dimension on the flat surface. They've collectively been featured in publications such as Architectural Digest, Ebony, Atlanta Homes Magazine, and several other media outlets (see full press). Ever since they crossed paths when collaborating on the same project, they've been providing a united front of visionary design crafted with love.
Follow these designers @forbesmasters
Nicole White is the president and principal designer of her own award-winning interior design firm, Nicole White Designs Interiors. Hailing from Jamaica, she infuses visual Caribbean elements into her creations. As an example of her keen eye, her portfolio piece Coconut Creek has a refined transitional style that creates unity through use of color families that bring energy to a home. She's knowledgeable about what's trending, as seen through her incorporation of acrylic decor. You go, Nicole! She has been named among ten emerging designers to watch by the Black Interior Designer's Network. Her firm has also been voted among the Top 25 Interior Design Firms by the South Florida Luxury Guide. You can catch her this year at the Design on a Dime Benefit whose proceeds benefit efforts to end the AIDS epidemic.
Follow this designer @livelaughdecorate
To discover and follow more designers changing the industry follow the Black Artist + Designers Guild (@badguild) and the Black Interior Designers Network (@blackinteriordesignersnetwork).