Reset: A Fall Refresh With Sony Life Space UX

In the AphroChic studio, which  is part living space, part work space, we continue to look for ways to seamlessly blend technology into our decor in a way that’s comfortable and that fits with our aesthetic.

A Fashion-Inspired Oasis In The Bronx

AphroChic partners with LOWE’S to design a stunning outdoor dining space and oasis for fashion designer and boutique owner, Jerome LaMaar.

Rock The Bells


Someday At Christmas, the voices of Stevie Wonder and Andra Day, singing one of our favorite holiday songs. The glow of candlelight on the mantel. The warm white lights on the tree. Gingerbread cookies and cider set out for our guests. Every year we host a party to ring in the holiday season, and this year our annual celebration was made that much more special with help from our friends at LOWE’S. The home improvement store’s vast holiday decorating collection became our go-to to transform our home into a shimmering winter wonderland for the holidays.

It’s the little things that make celebrating the holidays special. All of the small decorative touches that take us back to moments from the year before, where the smell of the tree and tinkling of ornaments has us ready for Santa Claus’ magical trip down the chimney. This year we’ve been inspired by those feelings of nostalgia, reliving Christmas celebrations past with the addition of reindeer and glowing miniature trees to our decor.

As children, reds and greens comprised the traditional color palette of the season. This year, we tried something different, embracing a modern update of the traditional holiday color scheme. Our focus was to complement our existing decor with classic holiday pieces. The color palette is a direct reflection of pieces in our living room, from our purple drapes – in a shade that is reflected in the ornaments on the tree – to the hot pink juju hat, that was the inspiration for the vibrant pink ribbons hanging from the chandelier. For a little bit of glam, a mix of metallics in silver, gold, and copper added to the holiday glow.

We left no stone unturned in creating this year’s holiday decor. We had fun covering every inch of the living room in garland and glittering ornaments. The mantel is always a special spot for making a statement for the holidays. The part of the home where Santa Claus traditionally makes his grand entrance, it was imperative that the mantle decor this year was worthy of the jolly one himself. We completed the look with a mix of modern pieces. From some very cool black nutcrackers and deer to shimmering chevron and typographic votives, the mantel was the ultimate centerpiece in the living room decked out for holiday fun.

Who says holiday decor has to be match? We scoured LOWE’S for some out-of-the-box decor to help us create this layered look, and boy did we find some goodies. We brought home pieces with a mix of pattern and texture.The fur and felt trees on the mantel were used to add a tactile element to the decor. For a mix of pattern, ornaments featuring stripes and polka dots added a whimsical feel.

The mix of gray and white stockings looked lovely hanging off the garland over the fireplace. For a little more of an adult feel, we chose stockings that featured a mix of rich embroidery. An embellished snowflake absolutely shimmers. And stockings wishing all of our friends and family a “Merry Christmas” featuring a herringbone pattern, offer some on-trend style.

Of course, we couldn’t forget our smallest guests. Each stocking was stuffed to the brim with trinkets, including the cutest foxes for the little ladies in attendance at the party. The hard part, getting each girl to agree to take one apiece instead of trying for all three of these adorable stocking stuffers.

When we first moved into this apartment we had visions of putting our Christmas tree in the bay window, and this year that vision became a reality. The seven-and-a-half-foot aspen fir tree, stands so tall and beautiful it almost looks real. While a faux tree, it doesn’t take away from the holiday feel, as warm white lights are already included, making it truly glow at night.

Baubles and ornaments for the tree are always fun. Every year we choose a new ornament for our holiday decor, and this year, we got to choose a ton from LOWE’S vast selection. The patterns on these ornaments are to die for. We got everything, from delicate glass chevron balls to geometric ornaments that look as if they’re handmade pieces of origami. LOWE’S also surprised us with a diverse selection of African American ornaments. Our Black santa is a welcome addition to the tree this year.

We also styled the tree with some unexpected elements. A celebration of winter weather yet to come, we included a mix of owls and foxes in the tree’s decor. The foxes are an unexpected way to continue the chevron theme. And the owls look perfect, perched within the boughs of our super sized Christmas tree.

While new ornaments were procured, we also included some family heirlooms for an authentic feel. The mix of old and new is a holiday tradition. It’s nice to see pieces like our new mercury glass balls, beside our our handmade AphroChic ornament.

For our adult guests, we styled the bar in a mix of gold, black and white ornaments and decor. Among our favorite elements, our nutcracker chalkboard wishing everyone happy holidays as they picked up their sparkling refreshments.

When it comes to choosing ornaments, we learned this year that bigger is definitely better. Large shatterproof balls glittering in gold and silver were the perfect pieces to accent the bar. And we even found a few more striped pieces to add to our modern holiday theme.

A new idea for this holiday season – a gift table. While gifts under the tree are lovely, on top of the table, they truly became part of our decor. We wrapped presents in a mix of shimmering gold and black allen + roth wrapping paper. Black and white gift bags brought the classic color palette home.

The perfect gift needs the perfect tags, and each was topped with a shimmering tag wishing our guests joy and good cheer this holiday season.

This year, we were able to celebrate the greatest gift of all – fellowship with family and friends – in style. We hope our modern holiday decor is the perfect inspiration for you and yours. Explore all of the items we shopped at LOWE’S in the images above. We hope you’ll find something that truly makes your holiday season shine.

Emily Howard Kudva
Suren Kudva
Roxanne Kudva
Angela Belt
Brooklyn Belt
Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson
Matthew Anderson
August Anderson
Tanika Goudeau Hochhauser
Brian Hochhauser

This post is sponsored by LOWE’S
Product was provided by LOWE’S and we have been financially compensated for this post. Design and all opinions are our own.
Photography by Chinasa Cooper
Styling Assistant, Tanika Goudeau Hochhauser

A Family Home Transformed In Bedford-Stuyvesant

Step inside a stylish home makeover of a brownstone for a family of seven in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.

Brooklyn’s Sustainable Bedroom Makeover {Part I}

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”” align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This year we have the honor of being IKEA Brand Ambassadörs, collaborating with one of the world’s largest home decor brands, to highlight their philosophy of Democratic Design, the belief that every IKEA product should be made with five important factors in mind – function, form, quality, price and sustainability. Faced with the question of how you truly define life at home, we began to think about the design needs of everyone in a home. We realized that one of the most challenging spaces in which to create captivating style while meeting the functional requirements of the space is a child’s room. That thought brought us immediately to Brooklyn. Not the borough, but our precocious three-year-old niece. With a mother and an aunt who are both interior designers, Brooklyn has decor in her DNA. So it’s no wonder that she’s completely infatuated with designing her very own space, or her “big girl room” as she puts it. So, what happens when you engage a three-year-old in the interior design process? Democratic Design at it’s finest. And best of all, we caught it all on camera. We’re thrilled to be able to bring you along on the journey with us, and the first stop is Brooklyn’s first visit to the IKEA showroom to pick out furniture for her big girl room.

Of course, it’s never that simple with a three-year-old. So, while furniture was the agenda, Brooklyn was initially more captivated by toys than she was concerned with furniture and accessories. That’s why mommy and auntie were on the case, keeping everyone focused on finding pieces with stylish forms that could carry out multiple functions needed for an active child’s room. My sister and I are no strangers to IKEA, but we were impressed all over again on this trip by the number of furniture and storage solutions that the store offers that will keep a three-year-old’s room organized, livable, and healthy, with a look that can be as kidsy or sophisticated as you’d like. From multi-purpose items like beds with storage hidden beneath, to streamlined dressers with enough space to contain her growing wardrobe, we looked for – and found – the pieces that will form the foundation of a space that she can grow into over years to come.

On this first trip, our shopping list also included a lot of sustainable items. Sustainability is a big focus for families these days and we found it to be another area in which IKEA excels. The more sustainable a product, the more environmentally friendly it is for everyone – and that especially goes for little people. So to transform Brooklyn’s space, we set our sights on items created from natural materials and that are made by hand, like the seagrass baskets that are perfect for storing odds and ends in a child’s room.

Brooklyn had the time of her life finding new stuffed toys to make friends with and being a designer with mommie and auntie. And for us, while we are truly delighted to be working with IKEA this year, we are even happier to be able to relate that we learned a lot on this trip about one of our favorite brands, and realized that it was even more amazing than we’d previously thought. All worn out and exhausted, Brooklyn did what any tired three-year-old would, she found a comfy spot to take a nap. It didn’t last long though. After all, the frozen yogurt stand was our next stop.

Brooklyn's Sustainable Bedroom Makeover

  1. MALM High Bed Frame with Storage Boxes / 2. STUVA Storage Bench / 3. MASKROS Pendant Lamp / 4. VALJE Shelf Unit* / 5. MAGGA Basket / 6. MALM 3-Drawer Chest*

*Furniture must be permanently secured to the wall. Secure it! Learn how to prevent furniture tip-over accidents.

This post is sponsored by IKEA
Video Produced by AphroChic
Starring Brooklyn Belt, Angela Belt, Jeanine Hays
Video by Leon Shipp Belt

Dream In Color

It’s 2015, and white walls are so last year. The most beautiful homes are awash in color. Walls decked out in dreamy hues of bright blue, deep pink, and soulful black are all set to become the new rage. It’s time to move beyond the stark-walled interiors that have been so popular for the past few years, and design deeply colorful and evocative interiors, using color to create personalized spaces that feel how we want to feel.

We love the idea of a luxury paint collection, something inspired by nature, that can turn a home into a work of art. But we also want something healthy for the home, with low odor and no VOCs to harm the environment. It sounds like we’re asking a lot, but it turns out that the people at Colorhouse were already a few steps ahead of us. A premium brand dedicated to the idea of creating high-quality shades, Colorhouse specializes in producing 100% acrylic paints with low VOCs, no reproductive toxins, no chemical solvents, and absolutely no toxic fumes. On top of all that, they offer a selection of such rich, inspiring tones that finding a shade to love is less of a problem than deciding which one to bring home.

Looking through their catalog of paints, we chose five stunning shades – Wood.04, Dream.05, Sprout.06, Nourish.06, Petal.04 – that will help you transform your interior in 2015. From Colors of the Year, to new neutrals, click through the slideshow to see how you can bring dreamy, eco-friendly shades home this year. You’re sure to like what you see. And for all of our friends in Chicago and New York, we’re giving an extra $5 off any gallon of paint. If you’re a Brooklynite, like us, you’ll want to check out the collection at your local Home Depot.

And as we’re still in the process of designing our new place in Brooklyn, we’ll be adding interest to our walls with Colorhouse. We can’t wait to give you a tour, so stay tuned!

The Colorhouse collection has 128 colors to choose from.

The Colorhouse collection has 128 colors to choose from.

colorhouse paint logo
This post is sponsored by Colorhouse. Colorhouse paints are now available in select Home Depot stores in Chicago and New York. Find a store near you.

Sources: House & Garden, Chic Tip, SFgirlbybay, Ultra Linx, AphroChic

10 Stylish Tips For A Guest Bathroom Upgrade

It’s 2015! And a new year means a new look and new life for your home. Now we know that every year a lot of these home makeover projects begin with taking stock of our rooms, making a list of what needs to be done – and then deciding it’s all too much and putting it off until next year. This year, ease into the process by taking on some smaller and easier rooms. The best place to start – your second bathroom. You know, the one that only gets used when guests come over? The one we all secretly use as storage when no one’s around? That one. Because it’s a small space, it won’t take much to pack in a lot of style. Better yet, turning this small, neglected space into a style oasis will give you all the motivation you need to push on to the real work. And who knows? Your guests might even thank you too. A quick tip: small rooms can fill up fast, especially when they’re already stuffed with functional items like sinks and tubs. So look to create interesting moments through stylish vignettes. And since you’re probably not looking to spend extra time painting or wallpapering your second bathroom, work within the color palette (likely white tile) and go with something clean and modern. It’ll be easier for you in the long run and your color choices will really pop!

Get The Look
Threshold Floral Bath Towel Blue
Murchison-Hume Signature Candle
Threshold Performance Solid Washcloth
Target Home Shower Hooks in Brushed Nickel
Floral Bath Rug in Black and White
Threshold Waffle Weave Shower Curtain
Threshold Bath Towel Gray Floral
Threshold Step Can in Chrome
Threshold Brushed Stainless Steel Toothbrush Holder
Hansgrohe Raindance Select E 120
Illume Anenome Bar Soap

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

Photographs by Patrick Cline.

Keeping Up Appearances

Keeping Up Appearances (sponsored Tide post)

In my line of work it pays to stand out. As a blogger, I spend much of my time at editorial events and parties, writing about inspiring design. Wherever I go, I love to wear bright and colorful statement pieces.

 Keeping Up Appearances (sponsored Tide post)

Whether it’s attending a Pinterest event at the White House or checking out the latest fashion at New York Fashion Week, I have to keep my clothes looking their best. Here are some of my favorite tips for keeping clothes, bright, fresh and always in style:

  Keeping Up Appearances (sponsored Tide post)

For vibrant pieces, the delicate cycle is my best friend. I recommend washing colorful items in cold water to keep them from fading. And if you have bright jeans wash them separately so that the colors don’t run together.

Keeping Up Appearances (sponsored Tide post)

I am a huge fan of pretreating stains the moment that they occur. Dab a stain with cold water when you’re at an event, and once you get home pour your favorite detergent over the stain, letting it sit for a few minutes. Then stick it straight in the wash. I promise, many of your favorite pieces will be saved that way.

 Keeping Up Appearances (sponsored Tide post)

To dry or not to dry? For me that is always the question. When it’s a favorite piece, like a cute cocktail dress, or a vintage tee I prefer hanging my clothing outside. There is nothing better than air drying for a fresh scent, and it keeps clothing from going through wear and tear in the dryer.

  Keeping Up Appearances (sponsored Tide post)

My final tip, hang your clothes immediately when they’re dry. When the dryer buzzes, that’s my signal to get the clothes out immediately and hang them in the closet so that they won’t wrinkle. I hang my pieces by color so that I can easily mix and match my favorite shades.

Doing laundry may be a chore, but remember these tips and you will be sure to put your best foot forward at your next event.

This is a collaboration between Tide Original Liquid HE and the AOL Lifestyle Curator Network. Compensation was provided by Tide Original Liquid HE via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Tide Original Liquid HE.