16 Black-Led Design Firms You Need to Know

Angela R. James

The Iconic Home is an exciting virtual showhouse that highlighted the creativity of 16 Black-led design firms in its first iteration produced by Architectural Digest and the Black Interior Designers Network this November. Though the doors are technically now closed for this year’s showhouse, the work of the talented designers […]

The Iconic Home is an exciting virtual showhouse that highlighted the creativity of 16 Black-led design firms in its first iteration produced by Architectural Digest and the Black Interior Designers Network this November. Though the doors are technically now closed for this year’s showhouse, the work of the talented designers behind the project lives on online; the Iconic Home website is still available to browse. Inside the showhouse, which features 360-degree photorealistic renderings, you’ll find interior concepts and bold design ideas in an immersive experience all made possible by sponsors Caesarstone, CB2, Crate & Barrel, Gaggenau, Interface®, LG SIGNATURE, Purple, and The Shade Store.

The firms behind the showhouse represent a who’s-who of the Black design community. Located all over North America, with a wide range of project specialties and aesthetic points of view, the designers need to be on your radar. If you’re looking to hire someone to renovate your home, or you merely want to find some inspirational new Instagram accounts to follow, it’s time to learn these names.

Keia McSwain.

Keia McSwain.

Courtesy of Keia McSwain

Keia McSwain

Firm: Kimberly + Cameron Interiors

Location: Denver

Keia McSwain is principal designer of Kimberly + Cameron Interiors. In 2017, she became president of the Black Interior Designer’s Network; in her role, she works with strategic partners to elevate the work of designers of color nationwide. When it comes to her own interiors projects, the self-taught designer creates spaces that are fully functional, unique to the client, and aesthetically pleasing—often incorporating eye-popping color and texture.

Elaine Griffin.

Elaine Griffin.

Courtesy of Elaine Griffin

Elaine Griffin

Firm: Elaine Griffin at Home

Location: Brunswick, Georgia

Designer Elaine Griffin started her own firm in 1999, after working in the office of architect Peter Marino. Her trailblazing design career has included numerous accolades: Griffin was the first African American contributing editor at Elle Decor and was ranked one of House Beautiful’s top 100 American designers, among other recognitions. Her 2009 book, Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator, remains a perennial favorite.

Adair Curtis and Jason Bolden.

Adair Curtis and Jason Bolden.

Norelle Giancana

Jason Bolden and Adair Curtis

Firm: JSN Studio

Location: Los Angeles

Jason Bolden and Adair Curtis, the married duo behind JSN Studio, channeled their shared point of view into a business venture that they launched together in 2014. Their multidisciplinary design firm, which specializes in interiors, staging, styling, and more, plays to their mutual strengths. Bolden is a fashion stylist who serves as the brand’s creative director, while Curtis, a former entertainment guru, oversees interior design and business operations. They have their own Netflix show, Styling Hollywood, which premiered in 2019.

Samantha Josaphat and Luis Medina.

Samantha Josaphat and Luis Medina.

Courtesy of Samantha Josaphat and Luis Medina

Samantha Josaphat and Luis Medina

Firm: Studio 397 Architecture

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Studio 397 Architecture is a Brooklyn-based practice that specializes in residential and commercial projects. Samantha Josaphat, who is the 397th African American female architect to receive licensure in the U.S., founded the firm three years ago. She is a design studio adjunct professor at the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture and president of the New York Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects. Luis Medina joined the firm this year, bringing over a decade of finance and construction management experience.

Ariene C. Bethea.

Ariene C. Bethea.

Courtesy of Ariene C. Bethea

Ariene C. Bethea

Firm: Dressing Rooms Interiors Studio

Location: Charlotte, North Carolina

Dressing Rooms Interiors Studio, Ariene C. Bethea’s retail boutique in Charlotte, North Carolina, has become a destination for vintage furnishings, global accessories, and more. Named “one of the best vintage shops in North Carolina” by Apartment Therapy and included on AD PRO’s list of the best home decor stores in America, the shop has received national recognition. Bethea translates her keen design eye into a select number of interiors projects each year.

Amhad Freeman.

Amhad Freeman.

Nick McGinn

Amhad Freeman

Firm: Amhad Freeman Interiors

Location: Nashville

A Nashville-based interior design firm specializing in residential and commercial development projects, Amhad Freeman Interiors offers complete design services and specializes in seamless project management and customer service. Currently, the firm is at work on a lake house in Kentucky and other single-family homes in the Nashville area. All projects incorporate Freeman’s clean-lined, timeless design aesthetic.

Christopher Charles Evans.

Christopher Charles Evans.

Courtesy of Christopher Charles Evans

Christopher Charles Evans

Firm: ChristopherCharles Interiors/IndigoRED

Location: Houston

Christopher Charles Evans, the owner and principal designer of ChristopherCharles Interiors and IndigoRED, specializes in turnkey, new-build designs, renovations, and remodels at all scales. Utilizing his more than 10 years of experience, Evans prioritizes clients’ needs with an in-depth, bespoke design process. Current projects include a luxury custom build in the historic Houston Heights neighborhood and various design jobs in Dallas.

Carmeon Hamilton.

Carmeon Hamilton.

Courtesy of Carmeon Hamilton

Carmeon Hamilton

Firm: Nubi Interiors

Location: Memphis

Founded in 2013, Nubi Interiors offers residential and commercial design services to clients across the country. Sought after for an attention to detail and foundation in wellness, the firm works with clients to understand and design around the way they live. Founder Carmeon Hamilton was recently featured as one of Architectural Digest’s New American Voices.

Leah Alexander.

Leah Alexander.

Courtesy of Leah Alexander

Leah Alexander

Firm: Beauty Is Abundant

Location: Atlanta

L.A. native Leah Alexander founded her Atlanta-based practice, Beauty Is Abundant, three years ago. Since then, the firm, which offers a full range of interior design services, has participated in two designer showhouses and been featured in Atlanta Magazine’s Home, Curbed Atlanta, Designers Today, and more. Recently, Alexander completed a six-home development in West Midtown Atlanta, and she is also working on a 1930s home renovation, among other projects.

Brenda Danso.

Brenda Danso.

Courtesy of Brenda Danso

Brenda Danso

Firm: BD Interior Design

Location: Toronto

Brenda Danso, a California native turned Toronto resident, brings her educational background in mental health to her interior design practice. The spaces she designs at BD Interior Design are meant to be soothing, functional, and joyful. She prioritizes neutral colors and natural elements in her projects, which span home staging, residential design, and commercial design categories.

Brigette Romanek.

Brigette Romanek.

Jessica Sample

Brigette Romanek

Firm: Romanek Design Studio

Location: Los Angeles

Brigette Romanek formed her Los Angeles design practice in 2018, and in just a few short years she has racked up numerous accolades and high-profile clients. Recognized on Architectural Digest’s AD100 list and Elle Decor’s A-List, Romanek recently completed ballerina Misty Copeland’s New York home, which was featured on the cover of AD in 2020. Other clients include Kelly Rowland and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Eneia White.

Eneia White.

Nick Glimenakis

Eneia White

Firm: Eneia White Interiors

Location: New York

Established in 2018, Eneia White Interiors provides services for both commercial and residential spaces. Named one of Dwell’s “9 Brilliant Black Designers and Architects You Should Know” in 2019 and published in House Beautiful in 2020 for her Dollhouse Beautiful design, White is currently working on a range of projects from New York to Atlanta. Her signature sneaker wall, displaying collected sneakers around an oversize mirror, is one of her most popular designs.

Anthony Dunning.

Anthony Dunning.

Courtesy of Anthony Dunning

Anthony Dunning

Firm: Traders Haven Design

Location: New York

When Traders Haven Design’s founder Anthony Dunning launched his interior design firm in 2017, he aspired to create spaces that were authentic to each client. Dunning developed his aesthetic designing commercial projects and residential interiors and procuring unique pieces of art, furniture, and accessories for his own furniture boutique showrooms. His portfolio ranges from multiple projects for salon brand Fox & Jane to the homes of prominent newsmakers, trendsetters, and tastemakers.

Tiffany Cobb.

Tiffany Cobb.

Courtesy of Tiffany Cobb

Tiffany Cobb

Firm: Tiffany René Interior Design

Location: Detroit and Atlanta

Established in 2014, Tiffany René Interior Design services clients with functionally driven and fashionably tasteful designs. The firm has been published by outlets including Aspire Design and Home Magazine, Homestyle, Business of Home, and most recently the Detroit News, where its design for the 2020 Junior League of Detroit Designers’ Showhouse was listed as one of the “Top 6 Must-See Spaces.” Founder and principal designer Tiffany Cobb splits her time between Atlanta and her hometown of Detroit.

Michel Smith Boyd.

Michel Smith Boyd.

Courtesy of Michel Smith Boyd

Michel Smith Boyd

Firm: SmithBoyd Interiors

Location: Atlanta

SmithBoyd Interiors was established in 2006 by founder and creative director Michel Smith Boyd. It has since evolved from a one-man operation to a boutique firm of eight, specializing in luxury residential and commercial projects nationwide. Featured in Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, and other publications, Boyd has starred in Bravo’s hit design series, Buying It Blind. He has licensed collections with Verde Home and Leftbank Art, and his paintings can be sourced globally at retailers including Z Gallerie and Neiman Marcus.

Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters.

Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters.

Andrew Michael Phillips

Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters

Firm: Forbes Masters

Location: Atlanta

Forbes Masters is a full-service Atlanta-based interior design team that specializes in custom-tailored residential and commercial spaces. Helmed by acclaimed young designers Tavia Forbes and Monet Masters, the firm has an affinity for bold, eclectic designs and imbuing projects with personal touches and custom furnishings. Forbes spearheads budgets and client relationships, among other things, while Masters oversees project logistics, renderings and floor plans, and more.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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