Literary Design

Photographer: Jess Isaac 
Interior Design: AphroChic

Design is a matter of layers. There are the beginning considerations of color, shape, lines and materiality. They form the basis of a room. But as you get deeper into the project, new layers like lighting, accessories, and art must be considered as well. They complete the picture, turning a space into a story and a group of rooms into a home. At AphroChic, we love to design spaces that are narrative-driven, spaces that tell a story and where all of these various elements come into play. And one of our favorite storytelling accessories is books.

In the most beautiful homes, a curated library has the power to make a statement; a statement about what one loves, admires, is inspired by and aspires to be. A library is a snapshot of where you are as well as a chronology of where you’ve been, the passions that motivated you and the thoughts that formed you. So when we were asked in 2014 to create a designer show house in L.A. depicting the contemporary, global culture of the city, we knew that a library was a must – and that the statement we wanted to make was a curated collection of books inspired by the African Diaspora. In this project, we curated over 100 titles, including monographs of Kehinde Wiley’s work, New African Fashion and a photographic history of the Black Panthers. Through a selected assortment of books, we were able to turn an empty warehouse into the story of a fictional African American couple whose love for, and knowledge of, the art, design and cultural heritage of Black people is central to who they are.

Just as in a show house, a collection of books, lovingly gathered over time, can help tell your story at home. Books have the power to be so much more than coffee table decor – they represent the things we love, the things we want to know more about, all of the things we design for. Thought-provoking collections like this one invite book lovers to peruse books on art, fashion, photography, new media, entertainment and food, all inspired by the Diaspora. You can even take the time to peruse a few yourself, including all of the books used in this show house by exploring our Pinterest board, Books We Love. It’s a great place to start building a library that reflects you as much as every other part of your decor. After all, you are what you read.