J: I am a social media junkie. I spend hours perusing Instagram, Pinterest, and some of my favorite interiors’ sites, constantly looking for inspiration. Online is where I come across new products, materials and ideas to design with or create new products. I am also a big believer in offline inspiration and taking “field trips” as an adult. Trips to a favorite museum, a visit to Prospect Park
, people watching in the Bronx, riding the subway daily – every trip and moment outside is wonderful for sourcing inspiration and ideas. The world is my playground and I’m constantly inspired by it.
B: For me, it’s all about history. I write an occasional series called Design Geek. It’s where I examine the history and development of a specific design style, e.g., mud cloth. When you look at history, you can study something that’s on-trend today, such as chevron, and it has a history to it that is thousands of years old. I want to understand that and bring it into our projects. I also want to share that history with our clients. It’s so important that we are inspired, but that we also inspire them, and inform them of a historical narrative behind a piece.
What attracts you to certain colors and materials?
J: We love color! We always let our clients know that we are a design brand that embraces color, and will many times guide our clients to explore color as well. For us, color is all about depth. Hues should have a feeling to them, and they should not lay flat but instead go deep. I am personally attracted to colors that have a gray or black undertone to them. The smokier and more moody the shade, the better. That’s exactly what can be seen in our new Brooklyn In Color Paint Collection
that we’ve partnered with Colorhouse
on – deep soulful hues.
B: I like color that enhances an interior. When we started looking at color for our paint collection, we had to narrow it down to 20 hues. We thought a lot about shades that enhance architectural elements at home. Hues that are great for a mantel, accentuating crown moulding, or highlighting high ceilings – many of the things we see in Brooklyn interiors where our company is headquartered. What attracts me to color is how it helps shape the space, and every color in our collection, from Basquiat Blue
to Coney Island Pink
, does just that.
Basquiat Blue, Photo courtesy of AphroChic
Coney Island Pink, Photo courtesy of AphroChic
Who are some of the local Brooklyn vendors you enjoy working with?
J: In Brooklyn, we enjoy working with and collaborating with brands. We are the kind of design company that won’t just select pieces from local companies. We’ll also create and customize products for our clients. We love working with Flavor Paper
. They are wallpaper rockstars and foster innovative techniques that allow your creativity as a designer to run wild. We also work with local companies that are headquartered in Brooklyn, like Etsy
, that has a trove of local lighting and industrial designers who are making waves in the borough.
B: We are firm believers that no home is complete without art, and in Brooklyn, we source a lot of art for our projects. We are big fans of Tim Okamura
, Delphine Diallo
, Jerome Lagarrigue
, Fabiola Jean-Louis
and the list goes on. Around every corner in Brooklyn you can find an incredible artist who is creating groundbreaking work, and it’s great to be in a borough where we can visit their studios and work with them directly to commission pieces for projects.
How does designing make you feel?
J: Design has always been my passion. I love the process of bringing an idea to life and giving someone a space in which they can create. It makes me feel fulfilled – that process of bringing a vision to life.
B: It makes me feel surprised. No two AphroChic spaces are ever the same. Each one is a direct reflection of the client we’re working with. I enjoy that surprise of creating something new each time. And it’s wonderful when the client feels that they have been completely represented in the design of the space.
What’s your business mantra?
J: Modern. Soulful. Style.
B: Everything at AphroChic is about the blend of modern design and cultural style.
Tell us about the launch of HGTV’s Sneak Peek With AphroChic…
J: The show has been an amazing journey. Sneak Peek is the first program that we’ve produced with HGTV. The concept is a marriage between television and social media. It’s the first program where viewers can see a house tour live through a social media channel and react in real time. We’ve always been an online brand, so this idea of blending social and television in the online realm really intrigued us.
B: The 10-episode series has been a joy to create. From identifying diverse and beautiful homes to feature, to being able to talk with families and homeowners about what inspired their style. We are storytellers in all that we do in design, and Sneak Peek allows to bring a story to a live audience. We are also very proud to bring about a show that cuts the chord of you will. Our viewers don’t need a cable subscription to watch our show. Anyone can access it at any time on the Facebook House Hunters
How do you incorporate your digital content and shop into your overall interior designer business?
B: AphroChic has always been a digital brand. We started online as a site that was bringing a diverse discussion to the design industry. We wanted to highlight culture in the world of interiors, and did through our content and products. Over ten years, we also grew into a full-scale interior design brand, working mainly on commercial projects. And that online DNA we’ve always had is still with us. Our content and products are part of an eco-system that supports our larger work – creating spaces with that blend of modern, soulful style. We can bring items like our paint into a project. We can develop custom colors that meet a client’s needs. And through our site and social channels we can also tell the story of that project, bringing them behind-the-scenes on Instagram, giving them links to what we used to bring it to life on the website, and sharing with them the news of any features of it on Facebook. The digital supports the design process.
As a husband-wife team, how do you delegate tasks between the two of you?
J: Bryan and I have been together for 21 years and how we live both in our life and in our work is a partnership. There’s not as much delegation, or specific roles. We create together, brainstorming ideas for a project, developing original content, and coming up with ideas for the shop
. When people are around us then can usually sense that we’ve been together a long time, and have truly grown up together. We like to think together, create together, and everything really is a fusion of the both of us.