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

Save The Date: Harvard University Black In Design Conference

From the very beginning, AphroChic has always been a site dedicated to fostering a diverse, culturally-focused dialogue in the world of interior design. When we launched the site eight years ago, there were very few places where you could see the home of a person of color online; very few interviews about our work as designers; and editorials and video shoots showcasing people of color in design were few and far between. It was our mission, from the very first post, to create a space online that was inclusive and representative of the incredible diversity that exists in the world of interior design. Since that first post in 2007, we have gone on to do some incredible things adding to the cultural dialogue, from writing the first interior design book from an African-American perspective in over a decade, to being the first African-American designers to design a concept home on the west coast. And now, we are honored to participate in a truly exciting event, Harvard University’s Black in Design Conference in October.

Back in 2007, Bryan and I could never have imagined that our little blog and our desire to celebrate our culture and the contributions of people of color in the world of interior design could take us to speak at one of the country’s top schools. Hosted by Harvard University’s African American Student Union and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, this conference will provide an in-depth examination of the connections between ethnicity, social politics and design. Looking at these intersections on many levels, from the individual room, to the building, to the city, this conference will offer a number of panel discussions examining the role of design in either enforcing or restructuring social hierarchies as well as introducing new concepts on what it means to be not only a designer, but a teacher or even a student of design.

We hope to see many of you at this truly important conference that will be held October 9-10 in Boston. Over two days, you will be part of conversations on race and design, and hear the important contributions of members of the African Diaspora in interior design, architecture, urban planning, and more. If you have not already, be sure to register for this groundbreaking event. We can’t wait to see you there!


The AFROPUNK FEST has arrived. Come see Ms. Lauryn Hill, Grace Jones and us this Saturday, August 22nd! We’ll be signing copies of REMIX: Decorating with Culture, Objects and Soul at the Greenlight Bookstore’s Rock and Read tent from 4pm-5pm. Looking forward to rocking with you!

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.

New Sponsor: Buttercup Press

Buttercup Press

We are so excited to announce a new sponsor on the AphroChic blog – Buttercup Press!  Buttercup Press was started by artist and illustrator Kim Johnson.  We love Kim and you might remember her textiles and prints that have been featured on the blog before.  Just in time for Spring, Buttercup Press has the cutest collection of prints in bright hues.  And soon they’ll be adding pillows to the collection.  If you’re looking for a fun way to bring art and color into your interior, look no further than these prints reproduced from Kim’s original watercolors and illustrations.

Buttercup Press
Pastel Geometric Abstract Art Print

Buttercup Press
Pastel Gem Art Print

Buttercup Press
Pastel Argyle Art Print

See more beautiful work from our latest sponsor at Buttercup Press.  And please be sure to visit the other amazing sponsors on the AphroChic blog.  Their work will knock your socks off!

The Week In Review: 3.22.13

The folks at Nectresse sent me a wonderful gift package filled with items to inspire healthy living.  They sent a sampling of Argo teas that I’ve been drinking every morning, a beautiful Anthropologie mug to enjoy my morning tea in, a container of Nectresse that’s made of natural monk fruit, and beauty expert Lisa Drayer’s new book, The Beauty Diet.  I thought I’d make a little Vine of the package to inspire a healthy and beautiful weekend for all of us!

For Your Weekend:

Check out DwellStudio’s upholstery sale.  You can design a custom piece for 20% off.

My friends at Joy & Revelry are hosting a Pin It To Win It contest.  Enter to win your favorite finds!

A reminder of Paris, these notecards are a must-have.

If you are a music-lover, then you have to check out my girl Maiysha’s performance next week in NYC.  You don’t want to miss this.

Have an amazing weekend!