HAPPY NEW YEAR! MY 2015 YEAR IN REVIEW.

Dayka Robinson 2016 New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

2015 was probably my best year. (*except for 1984 when I got the Michael Jackson poster, doll and microphone for my 5th birthday but I digress*). 

Dayka Robinson, Jason, Kim,  Spelman Morehouse Homecomign 2015

DAyka Robinson, HGTV Spring House 2015 BTS

Dayka Robinson Atlanta Home Summer launch party 2015

Dayka Robinson, Spelhouse Homecoming 2015

Dayka Robinson styling, Columus Ohio, Big Lots, 2015

Dayka Iesia 36th birthday 2015

Dayka Robinson Designs 2015

Dayka Robinson Paris 2015-5.JPG

Dayka Robinson, magazine shoot, press, oct 2015

In January I proclaimed that my word for the year would be Intention but if I had to pick a theme, I'd say it was Expansion. My life really exploded last year. Personally & professionally, in ways I welcomed and ways that made me cringe, the entire year GREW me in the best ways possible. Many things (MANY things) didn't go according to plan and yet I feel really good about 2015 anyhow. And I can't articulate how good it feels to be able to say that. I've been in a sweet spot with my business for awhile and this was the year that saw me growing beyond my own comfort zones. Realizing that I want something beyond Interior Design and starting to allow myself to go after it. One of the biggest lessons I learned (and one I preach often) is--Pay Attention to How You Feel. I learned to really tune into how my body is feeling and let those feelings guide my next steps. If thinking about something gave me anxiety, headaches or made me feel uncomfortable, I tried my best to acknowledge te "elephant in the room" and steer clear....even when that meant I didn't know the next step. And I often didn't know the next step. But I started thinking a lot about things like ease and the path of least resistance and as much as possible, I tried to let that guide me when I didn't know what to do.  My 2015 was pressed down, shaken together and running over.  Here's a look back:

Dayka Robinson Stephanie Abrams Al Roker Wake Up With Al 2015

Dayka Robinson Designs Home Tour Southern Lady Southern Home magazine 2015-7

FIRST QUARTER:  In the most intimate & personal post I've ever penned I finally shared the story of my Vitiligo diagnosis with the world and received such kind & supportive feedback from everyone. So funny how I was so nervous about putting everything out there and now I'm like, "Oh, that? Oh yeah....". Growth is a beautiful thing.  Southern Home launched an incredible 8 page spread of my home and it was the first time I've really shared pics of where I lay my head in detail. You never really know if you're gonna love the articles when they come out but I've been really lucky--it was beautiful & working with everyone was a dream. I landed a coveted spot on Al Roker's national morning show, Wake Up With Al, with a live, in-studio interview with the man himself. Listen to me: Me. Live. Interviewed by Al Roker & Stephanie Abrams. National TV. Like, 3 days notice. Had me shaking a bit but I left the studio feeling like I knocked it out of the park. A major milestone checked off of my list. A cool, more personal feature on my journey went live on BlackEnterprise.com. Turned 36.

Dayka Robinson Designs Home  Black & White Office Makeover horizontal black trim

Dayka Robinson Designs Essence magazine-may-2015

SECOND QUARTER: Redesigned my home office & created a space I'm still obsessed with! Started renovating my 1985 bathroom. Ummm....an ESSENCE MAGAZINE feature--an unexpected dream come true! A beautiful & personal Atlanta Home feature. Changed the course of my life when I decided to turn down a work opportunity to travel to abroad on my own--wrote that I was going before I even purchased the ticket. Created & starred in videos for Astrobrights, Office Depot & Office Max.

Dayka Robinson, North River Lobster Company 2015 Dayka Robinson, New York Historical Society Museum 2015

Dayka Robinson Brookside Oak Sink Kohler Brass Butcher Block

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THIRD QUARTER: Got the New York blood running back through my veins when I spent all of July in NYC. Worked on the Traditional Home showhouse in the Hamptons with BPF (see more of that on Instagram). Got a crazy stupid tooth infection on 4th of July. Saw Rob Bell in person! Hired by my first NYC client. Worked my butt off renovation a local clients' ever-expanding bathroom project. Changed the course of my life when I went to Istanbul. Came back to tons of work. Finally got my hands on a copy of my Black Enterprise feature--2 full pages, all Dayka. Hired an intern & learned a lot about being a boss.

Dayka Robinson, Colgate Palmolive, Family Dolla Fabulous Atlanta 2015 Dayka Robinson, Jenni Evora Family Dollar Fabulous Atlanta 2015

Dayka Robinson, Amtrak California Zephyr trip 2015

FOURTH QUARTER: Wrapped up client projects. Hired by Colgate Palmolive as Brand Ambassador for a very cool Family Dollar Fabulous event (Atlanta). Flew to Ohio to style TV commercials for Big Lots holiday spots. Was contacted about a super cool project shooting at my house with a major national magazine (goes live in 2016!). Decided to see America by Amtrak and booked myself on an extended vacation--one that was much more transformative than expected. Diligently working on a new website launch to expand my brand & diversify. TOOK THE TIME OFF THAT I EARNED!

So 2015 was full. And juicy. It gave me the courage to dream bigger & take more risks, which is the only way to create the life I most want. So that's what I'm gonna do. Step by step, bit by bit.

BEFORE & AFTER: MY BRIGHT + BOLD HOME OFFICE REDESIGN

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Experiencing the power of a good makeover always blows my mind...even though I make this kind of magic happen for a living. There's something about seeing an unfinished space, creating a plan in your mind & then watching it come together--bit by bit--that will never get old for me. Never.

So I was glad when the time finally came to wave my magic wand around my home office. The truth? This space has been unpresentable for years (like, since I first moved in). I started off in the smaller of my 2 guest bedrooms then eventually migrated to the larger room. But like much of the rest of my house, it took me awhile to figure out what I really wanted...how I would work in the space, what kind of storage I needed and time to sort through all of the junk that I somehow accumulated & collected over the years. Ugh.

So when I was approached earlier this year to be a spokesperson forAstrobrights'"Colorize Your Business" campaign, the timing lined up perfectly. I'd already crafted my design game plan in anticipation of my office redo and since part of my duties involved filming a few videos for Astrobrights' campaign, my newly designed office made for the perfect backdrop.

Office before
Office before

So the Befores....

It didn't look exactly like this in the beginning--this is actually an in progress shot once I started clearing everything out but as you can see, there's not much to see here. The energy radiates off of this room...and it ain't good. I actually liked the orientation of the room as I originally had it (I had 5 Ikea Vittsjo shelves behind the desk which worked really well to anchor the space) but nothing else was working...as you can gather.

Office before-2
Office before-2
Office before 5
Office before 5
Office before-3
Office before-3

Once I started pulling up the carpet (my new white floor is actually just the original subfloor  painted white with an industrial strength Sherwin Williams paint) it started to look like something I could really work with. And this is the phase of design I love--the scary part where it gets worse before it gets better. You may even recognize the paint on the wall next to the closet door--when I participated in the 2013 Cathedral Antiques Inspiration House, I just couldn't wrap my head around what I'd planned without seeing it in person, so I tested out the design on the walls of my home office. Needless to say, after playing around with the color variation, the design made the cut. And the rest of the Afters:

Dayka Robinson Designs Home Black & White Office Makeover Vertical
Dayka Robinson Designs Home Black & White Office Makeover Vertical
Dayka Robinson Designs Home  Black & White Office Makeover horizontal black trim
Dayka Robinson Designs Home Black & White Office Makeover horizontal black trim
Dayka Robinson Designs Home Office Makeover Inspiration Board
Dayka Robinson Designs Home Office Makeover Inspiration Board
Dayka Robinson Designs Home Office Makeover Door Jamb
Dayka Robinson Designs Home Office Makeover Door Jamb

(painted the door jamb Chartreuse as well as the closets!)

The best thing about my new space? Not only does it feel like me, but I work SO much more efficiently here now that I've decluttered, reorganized and created a proper place for everything I need. It reminds me that there's not just an aesthetic value to interior design but an intrinsic one as well--and that your space is often times a reflection of your life.

I love that I'm in a place where everything on the inside is being reflected in my home--organization, expansion, renovation & completion.Just like me.

OMG...I'M IN ESSENCE MAGAZINE (MAY 2015)!!!

Dayka Robinson Designs Essence magazine-may-2015Dayka Robinson Essence magazine May 2015Ummmmm....I'm in Essence magazine this month, my friends. 

Like, Dayka Robinson in the May 2015 issue of Essence with the likes of some phenomenal, accomplished & trial blazing women on the cover like Issa Rae, Debbie Allen, Mara Brock Akil, Ava DuVernay & Shonda Rimes. 

And I'm gracing the pages on the inside!

I talked about this a little bit with regard to my Black Enterprise article, but it is definitely worth repeating: to see yourself grace the pages of a magazine you grew up reading is a moment that exists in a timeless space. My grandmother read this magazine, my mother read this magazine & I flipped through these pages as a little girl. And 25+ years later, here I am....getting my own shine in the May issue. I was thrilled to be contacted by an editor (and Spelman sister!) and honored to contribute not only my creative ideas, but to style my entryway for the article as well. An added bonus, this article about turning family heirlooms into decor is straight up my alley and I had the perfect piece to contribute--a Xerox of the handprints of my father, my sister and myself, where my father signed each of our names and noted the date: 12/12/1981. The funny thing is, I actually remember the day when we went upstate to his job at IBM and made that photocopy....I can still hear him telling me to put my hand on the copy machine next to my sister's. And 30 years later, that moment has been shared with the world.

 If I say "I'm honored" once, I could say it 1,000 times...I am literally running out of words to convey how incredible--and comfortable--it feels to see so much of my work take off this year...the year that I really started to share more of who I am. To those of you who have texted, messaged & tagged me, thank you for your support!! Xo

(And a big hello to my friends and fellow designing women featured, Tiffany Brooks & Robin Wilson!)

 

DAYKA...AL ROKER...AND MY FIRST LIVE, NATIONAL TV INTERVIEW--EVER!

Deep inside, I've always known that TV was in the cards for me.
As I became more confident in my abilities & established some bigger dreams, it started to become clear that it's the next logical, progressive step along my path. 
I've been offered two opportunities in years past and received emails from a few producers requesting casting videos, but I either didn't make the final cut or it was for something I've always shied away from--a competition-style show. 
Because I've been able to get a good amount of behind-the-scenes production work under my belt, both from my days as a Design Assistant on the show Movie & A Makeover (Turner Broadcasting) and from the last few years through my work with Flynnside Out, I'm clear that my ideal situation is being in front of the camera as an expert. There are so many uncontrollable things that happen behind the scenes that the viewer never sees--budgets disappear, parameters change, etc, but all you end up seeing in the end is an ugly room--no thanks. There's nothing wrong with the competition premise in general, but also I understand my personality enough to know that it probably won't play well in those circumstances--I've been told I have a case of RBF (Resting Bitch Face), I'm often a little heavy on the sarcasm & I absolutely enjoy a raunchy comment (or two!) every now & then. In TV land, this is either a recipe for disaster or the makings of great drama...depending on who's doing the interpreting! 
So it shouldn't come as a surprise to you when I say that getting booked as a guest expert on the Wake Up With Al morning show (The Weather Channel) was right up my alley--the exact thing kind of thing I've been wanting to do. It may be a surprise to you, however, to learn that 3 minutes after the opportunity was extended to to me...I got scared, y'all!! I immediately said yes but my mind was all, "What have you done???", once I started thinking about the parameters of live tv & how there's no editing. Then all of the dreaded "what-ifs" started popping up:
What if I trip over my feet, grab the table for balance & pull it down with me??
What if I get all tongue tied as I'm speaking, can't get my words out & just go into blank zone???
   Or better yet, What if I drop my beloved F-bomb in an off-the-cuff moment??
YIKES. All very scary scenarios.
But as much as fearful dayka was saying no (little d), I had this other voice in my heart that was all, "Go girl...you know you got this!" (said in my Mom's tone), so of course there was no turning back. 
Not only because I believe we have to run towards the things we're afraid of, but also because it was true--I am/was equipped for this!!
And in the end, this first-timer couldn't have asked for a better outcome.
The thing about live TV is this--the only way for you to get better at doing live TV is to actually DO live TV....I don't think there's any other way to simulate this kind of experience. After my fantastic producer Michael discussed the parameters of the segment with me, I pitched 10 ideas and he narrowed it down to the ones he liked the best/thought were the best fit for their content (weather-related upcycle & recycle projects). I actually prepared 6 projects, we narrowed it down to 5 when I arrived Wednesday morning, and then during my segment, Al actually skipped over the recycled umbrella bag (which was fantastic, btw), so I only ended up presenting 4 of my projects which worked perfect for my 2.5 minutes. I had a bit of anxiety Monday & Tuesday morning but by the time I settled in Tuesday evening and carved out some quiet space, I was feeling confident and great...which lasted right up until we were about 15 seconds out and my stomach went all haywire. I was telling myself, "Don't you even do this shit, Dayka. Not now." and that was all I needed to pull it together--ha! All in all, my 2.5 minutes went off without a hitch (of course there are a few things I could nitpick, but I won't) and I'm pretty proud of this segment! Sam Champion--formerly of GMA and now host of his own show, AMHQ--and I were in makeup together so we had a chance to chat for a bit  which was very cool--such a great guy to be around (with a body to match!).
Totally just as warm & pleasant as you would expect. And Stephanie Abrams, his cohost, is hilarious--I can see why they make a great team. 
 I was able to stay in the studio for a bit around my segment and watching Al work is incredible...and so mind blowing to find myself in the same studio with an icon that I grew up with every morning, not only watching him do his thing in person but being interviewed by him as well!! 
I seriously wanted to pinch myself.
I can only imagine the grind of getting up at 3am daily (and having to go to bed very early, I imagine), but they both made it look effortless.
 I'm believing my skills will be much the same one day, too (and soon)!

So if you have a moment, take 2 minutes to watch my first, live national tv guest spot ever with none other than Al Roker himself. I wrote a blog post a few days ago where I mentioned just saying yes and thinking of your fear like a lion, only to get right up to it and see that it's just a tabby cat. 
This was one of those times, for sure, and it's funny to see how I wrote that just days before, not knowing that this opportunity was just around the corner.
Essentially I was talking to myself.
I was nervous, I won't lie, but when the cameras went live, your girl was ready to go.
 And now that I've got this one under my belt, I'm really excited about doing this again--I loved every minute.
http://www.weather.com/tv/shows/wake-up-with-al/video/recycling-repurposing-demo

AN 8 PAGE SPREAD IN SOUTHERN HOME...FEATURING YOURS TRULY!!

On the list of cool things that have happened to & for me since I started my business 4 years ago, this ranks up there at the very top--definitely a milestone. 
My first bit of press is out for 2015 and it's a huge deal for me--AN 8 PAGE FEATURE IN A NATIONAL MAGAZINE!!!! And I don't mean me and someone else on the same page, I mean page after page of yours truly in a story on my home here in Atlanta.

When an editor of Fresh Style magazine and its sister publication, Southern Lady, reached out back in November 2014 to profile me for this piece, my first thought was "no" because like most designers, my house isn't exactly how I want it to be. Still, I knew I'd be crazy to pass up the opportunity and got busy prepping my place for the team's arrival from Alabama. I'm used to working with my own photographers (or ones I know well) so it's rare that I don't see images before something gets published. In this case I didn't see anything with exception of the headshot pics they took of me, so I had zero idea of what to expect when it hit newsstands. When I finally found the magazine in the grocery store, I was in awe of how beautiful the photos were....and blown away by the size of the feature!

(pages aren't in order)

Seriously overjoyed!!

My house, as you can see, is done in a palette mainly consisting of black, white, brown & gold with a few pops of color, texture and pattern throughout. I really do LOVE color, but when I finally started getting around to addressing my home I found myself getting color confused (too many choices as a designer!) or the things I really obsessed over were a bit beyond what I wanted to spend, so I went with the palette of all of the things I most love to wear (which is a great place to start your design, btw!). This strategy also worked well for me because I tend to like spaces that feel warm & enveloping, so I'm a huge fan of darker colors and cozy rooms--and when I pull those blackout drapes closed in the living room, I feel like I'm in a cocoon on a planet far away.
Mission accomplished. 

Most of what you see here is vintage. The sofa & dining table are the only things that I purchased brand new almost 10 years ago...and both of them are hopefully on their way out soon! A few years back I mentioned in a blog post that I wanted the majority of the pieces in my home to be secondhand and fast forward a few years later and it's safe to say I'm around the 95% mark! The only other piece of furniture that I purchased brand new was my mattress--every other piece in my house is either from a thrift store, estate sale, yard sale or something similar, and it's all been refinished and reupholstered within an inch of its life! But I wouldn't change a thing about my choice to go that route. I pretty much love (almost) everything in here and when I DO tire of something, I have no qualms about letting it go on to its next life because my investment hasn't been outrageous. And more importantly, I know how good it feels to live with things you love. I'm grateful I can say that.

So if this is feature any indication of what 2015 will be for me, I am expecting to constantly have my mind blown this year, both personally and professionally.
And am I'm very much looking forward to every.single.bit of it.
And so it is.

NEW PRESS!! DAYKA ROBINSON NAMED "NEWCOMER TO WATCH" IN THE ATLANTAN, MARCH 2014

Great Press for Dayka Robinson Designs!!
Click here to scroll the pages of The Atlantan and read about the other designers (and friends!) who made "The Hot List" in the March 2014 issue. So honored to be mentioned as The Newcomer "emerging as a serious talent on the contemporary interiors scene" and recognized for my work in last year's Cathedral Antiques Inspiration Show House (remember this?).
Now that's something to shout about! 

BTW, this pic was taken at the home of one of my favorite clients and happens to be one of my favorite projects of last year. Be on the lookout for before & after pics next week! 

BEFORE & AFTER: A HIS & HERS MASTER BEDROOM

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Pictures are truly the best tools we Interior Designers have to document the power of good design! 
Take, for instance, my last bedroom project...

Before--View from doorway to new bed wall. 
My former client was becoming a "his & her" team and combining residences with her sweetie...her "new" bedroom was devoid of furniture minus a bed, tv, & tv stand. No nightstands, bedside lighting, or seating areas--lots of work to be done!

Before--View from bathroom towards old bed orientation.
You can see their concept & color palette here. And now the pretty part...the Afters...
The showpiece of this install was this custom, King-sized wingback tufted headboard that I designed for their room. 
Gorgeous, right??
"His" request was that the bed stay at (at least) its current height (32+ inches) so to compensate for the higher-than-standard measurement, I designed the headboard to stand at 87" tall with a 7" wrap-around for a cozy feel (hence the "wingback" designation). Placing the bed on the wall opposite the door allowed it to be framed by two large windows on either side of the bed and though the bed partially blocks the windows, the ample natural light that floods the room means that they don't have to worry about the room feeling like a dungeon--their light exposure is what designers dream of!
Two (bedrooms) becoming one often makes for a shortage on storage space, so a pair of dressers were sourced to increase their clothing storage. With a cherry tone finish, clean lines & modern hardware, this pair is Modern Traditional design at its finest! 
A reading nook for the free corner.
The "she" in this duo is an avid reader and wanted a cozy chair deep enough to snuggle up in and read a book. Since there weren't many ready-made options on the market to fit her specifications, I suggested the Ikea Strandmon chair which I had my upholsterer (love that guy!) reupholster in a Kravet linen. If you read my blog, you know that I LOVE finding ways to use existing furniture pieces and rework them so they meet my client's needs. It's not always cheaper than using ready-made, but if you're going to pay retail prices, I always recommend you find the piece you need (with great bones--so important!!) and make it fit for your project--this little shortcut means you can have the luxury of custom at the same price as retail! Now THAT'S what I call a deal. 
The bedding is a mix of custom (Duralee) and retail, which tends to work best when strict budgets are involved. The labor alone on a custom duvet can easily run $300+ which doesn't even include your fabric, so a good compromise is to fabricate custom bed pillows and then source a retail option for your duvet and coverlet. In this case, the duvet came from Nate Berkus' line for Target and was a perfect match for our selected palette. Since I couldn't find a vintage bench wide enough to anchor a King bed (I wish I still had this old one!), I found one we all loved on Overstock.com and had my trusty upholsterer reupholster the seat in the Duralee print my clients previously selected. 
The secret to great design?
Style assessment + space planning + high/low mix--it's a formula that works every time.
So now I have to ask...
What's your favorite part??

SPICING UP MY ENTRYWAY WITH A PERSIAN RUG

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My entryway has been the stepchild of my house. 
You wouldn't think that to be the case, seeing as it's the first room you enter upon walking into my home, but it's really the truth. I've neglected it in deference to the other shinier spaces and recently made a personal commitment to show it some special love by the beginning of the new year.  So my makeover is starting from the bottom up, beginning with this little area rug number:

What you're looking at is a Persian, hand-woven, wool area rug from Medallion Rug. Even though I've been in my home for close to 7 years, I'm still figuring out how I want to live in each space and one thing I know about my entryway is that I wanted a statement piece underfoot, something to catch the eyes of my guests upon entry.

Houston, I think we've found it. 

I LOVE the rich colors in this area rug and it's sooo soft underfoot. There were so many options to choose from (seriously--like, thousands) that it literally took me days to decide what I wanted, but I think I made the right choice.
Part Elle Decor, part ethnic chic, 100% Dayka. 
Now that I have a starting point, those walls are up next. My thoughts are grasscloth or a really cool, geometric stencil (which I, unfortunately, do not have the patience for) but I'm open ! So I'm asking you guys...what do YOU think I should do to the walls??