Hi and welcome to the creative mind of Brooklyn-based interior design firm, Ishka Designs.
This blog allows you to peek behind the scenes of our design process; see the images, products, and events that inspire and motivate us. We are happily biased towards interior design topics with a sustainable undertone. Our hook and therefore our uniqueness is our subtle Jamaican influence. We hope you are inspired and sometimes provoked by our postings and we look forward to reading and responding to your comments!

One love, idi


Zen Oasis: A Brooklyn Backyard Transformed in time for Spring!

March 20th just passed and while we did indeed have a truly spring like day this past Saturday, the next few days will be right back to the 30's, cold and devoid of green.  That, however, will not stop us from willing Spring into permanent existence, allowing our lucky clients to enjoy the beautiful backyard we transformed for them awhile back.  From a pile of dirt with no hint of promise, we turned their lifeless backyard into a private escape, a zen oasis in the heart of Brooklyn.  
Spring where are you?  A peek at our client's newly transformed backyard featuring spotlights by Hinkley.  All after photos by: Niya Bascom Photography
The backyard underwent two transformations.  The first occurred when the entire brownstone was renovated by the architect, Robert A. King.  During that initial go around, the architect claimed square footage from the yard to extend the back of the owner occupied portion of the home, adding a deck off the parlor floor and two small bedrooms on the ground floor.  One exciting feature of this renovation was the addition of large sliding doors on the parlor level, which now allows amazing light to flow into the home.  For those of you who know brownstone living, getting daylight in can be wishful thinking.
Before any renovation of any kind, the back of the house looked like this.
Architect, Robert A. King, did major renovations to the brownstone including adding a deck to the back, sliding doors and a stair case to access the back from the parlor floor.
Before any renovation of any kind, the backyard looked like this
While the building saw major change, the yard still looked unwelcoming from the newly added deck.
The second transformation happened once we came on board.  We took an otherwise ordinary and bare backyard and created a lush oasis replete with a metal and wood pergola, outdoor lighting from Hinkley and flexible seating in the form of movable planters.  From a construction stand point, we added another drain to resolve ongoing flooding issues and built a deep cement pit underground to restrict the spread of the bamboo in the back.  We love, love, love this backyard transformation and have visions of sipping cocktails all summer with our clients surrounded by all its lush glory.

The Afters:
That view?  So welcoming now.  
Once we got our hands on the space, we immediately went for warmth, employing cedar for the privacy fence and adding pockets of greenery throughout.  
A key request of the clients was for us to include a private space within the backyard where they could relax together.  Our pergola design with a cement accent wall to break up the monotony does the trick.
Zen backyard design by Ishka Designs.
Do you love how we transformed our client's backyard?  Let us know in the comments below.  Want us to create your own backyard escape?  Call or email us!

Photo credits: Niya Bascom Photography (all after) and clients (the before's).



We are on Lonny Magazine's List of "Next Big Names"

We are popping bottles over here, thanks to the awesome Lonny Magazine for including us in their 2014 list of "Next Big Names" in interior design!  Honoured.  They labeled us "The Curators"...adding that to the bio :)  Happy to be among a great group of designers.  Please check out our feature "here" and show the magazine some love.

A recently completed dining room (photo credit: Niya Bascom).  Us (photo credit; Rayon Richards).


To Come in 2014

Blink.  It's almost the end of January.  Seriously?  Can we get a quick rewind please?  You know the kind that gives us back maybe a week or two.  Unbelievable.  Time is really flying...but I guess that happens when you are busy.  With new projects, ongoing projects, classes, events, meetings etc., its been quite a whirlwind at the officina.  Definitely a good thing!  No complaints.  No sir-eee.  As a matter of fact, the energy is high and positive and we are loving it.

With that in mind, we wanted to do a first and share a couple of looks from our latest projects.  These two projects commenced in the heart of December, when practically everything, except us, grounded to a halt for the holidays.  So while the first 3 weeks of January have been a blur, it's been par for the course since December.  Not a bad start to the new year we think!

A 3-bedroom apt transformation...more details to come.  Rendering and design property of Ishka Designs Inc.  All rights reserved.
An apartment facelift inspired by a Matisse...lots more details to come.  Rendering and design property of Ishka Designs Inc. All rights reserved
Backing up a bit, we completed and photographed one of our best projects to date last year.  Here's but a peek at the final outcome.  More to come.
The serene nursery.  Niya Bascom Photography
In addition to working on projects, we are taking time to work on Ishka Designs too.  We were one of a few firms chosen to be a part of the Tory Burch Foundation/Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program, a 5.5 month entrepreneurial program focused on women-owned businesses.  An excellent but time consuming program that has given nothing but golden nuggets since we commenced classes back in October.  New insights and fresh perspectives are exactly what we need to get re-energized about IDI.

All told, 2013 definitely had its moments, challenges and successes.  Midway we dubbed it the "closed mouths don't get fed year" in addition to having adopted a "balls to the wall" attitude from the jump.  For 2014, we are seeking to add to the mantras...any you'd like to share?  What is your attitude for 2014?  This is the year for serious growth and we say bring it.  Ready for the ride?

One love,

P.S. - apparently there might be a slight undertone to this post, what with the specific title and mantra...purely unintended.


Our Union Street project featured again :)

Photo by Niya Bascom Photography
Our Union Street project has been featured again, this time on our favourite local home builder site, theSweeten!  Thanks so much to their amazing team for the excellent write up...we could not have described the project better ourselves.  See the rest of the article here.

For full project images, see our website.

P.S. - we have been awfully quiet, we know.  But not for lack of interest!  We do miss keeping in touch and will be back on track shortly.

idi team


We Are Getting An Award!

Niya and I are excited and honoured to be one of the awardees for the first ever Business Innovators and Game Changers™ (B.I.G.) Awards, created by WhereItzAt magazine, a New York City leader in Caribbean entertainment and culture.
Source: www.goWhereItzAt.com
"The Business Innovators and Game-Changers™ (B.I.G.) Awards was created to honor the achievements of established women and minority owned small businesses and business leaders and also recognize the accomplishments of young entrepreneurs in the New York Metropolitan Area. Slated to be an annual event, the B.I.G. Awards is also focused on recognizing the pioneers or “Trailblazers” who paved the way for other generations to follow."  We are among a really amazing group of individuals receiving an award, including our favourite rug designer, Malene Barnett of Malene B Carpets.

The awards Gala event will be held next month, June 28 at the Adria Hotel & Conference Center, and all are invited to attend.  It promises to be a night of great fun and entertainment.  For details about WhereItzAt and this amazing Awards event, please visit here.  



Our Client Appreciation Event was a success!

Photo Credits: (L top and bottom) Kimneak Arnold; (Right) Niya Bascom Photography
Well what an evening it was!  We spent this past Tuesday with most of our clients celebrating their amazing support over the past 5.5 years of Ishka Designs.  The intimate group consisted of folks that had the belief in us before Ishka Designs was a reality, those that have entrusted us with their homes and businesses over the years, a few of the most recent additions to our client family and the small niche of friends and colleagues that have been our background supporters over the years.
Good times! Photo Credit: Kimneak Arnold
We owe the event's success to some stand out folks/businesses including:
* Dr. Saka Kazeem of ELK Medical for his incredible generosity, hosting our event at his space.  Though our project is an on-going affair at ELK, the place was sweetly transformed for the evening!  Click here to find out more about ELK.
* Terry Bethel and Kimneak Arnold of Uzuri Naturals, who provided us with their amazing beauty products for our IDI gift box.  Kim is also responsible for the photography for the evening.  To buy any of their amazing products go here.
* Karen Young of Hammocks and High Tea for her beautiful home decor additions to the gift box, as well as her tireless help on the days leading up to the event.  To purchase Karen's awesome textiles go here.
Our gift box sponsored by Uzuri Naturals and Hammocks & High Tea.  Sources: Uzurinaturals.com, hammocksandhightea.com
* Michael Campbell of 65 Fen for the lovely wines of the evening.  Your support was tremendous, the wines were delicious and we definitely need you all to visit his expertly curated selections in his shop in Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn.
Wines and wine tasting sponsored by 65 Fen.  Photo Credit: Kimneak Arnold
* Chef Jeremie Tomczak (pictured below) and Chef Kingsley John for the scrumptious gourmet appetizers and on-site prep.  Looking forward to future collaborations with you both.
Chef Jeremie Tomczak at center; Photo Credit: Kimneak Arnold
Finally, special mention to Wesley Daniels of 33 Woodwork, Stacy Burke and Tatiana Benton! For more images of our event, see our facebook page here!



Happy Sofa For Sale!

Refurbished antique settee for sale. 
We had fun putting this sofa together, hence our new name for it, the "Happy Sofa".  What was once a shell of something beautiful, has been transformed into a striking settee with a great sense of humor.  We used rich chenille Kravet fabrics to make a statement from any angle and the convenient double sided seat cushion gives it a new personality everytime it is flipped over.  The best part is that the sofa is for sale and we can't imagine why you or someone you know would not be happy to make this the statement in their home.  For further information contact us here.
Dimensions: 78"L x 36"D x 34"H