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. With our international backgrounds, we definitely embrace a global perspective and 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



From the Sand o& Snow Collection, niyabas.com photography
I haven't posted in a while and for my grand return, I had an interesting, possibly even controversial, post ready to pen.  But then in the middle of thinking it through, I ran out the studio to attend a beautiful event co-hosted by five amazing modern rug designers.  All women.  Judy Ross, Amy Helfand, Malene B, Tracey Sawyer, and Tania Johnson.  The exhibition entitled Mother Earth, aptly named for the nature inspired rugs as well as the obvious, was held in the newly opened, sparingly furnished modern showroom, Casa on Tuesday evening. The backdrop as well as the intriguing tree sculptures that dotted the showroom were perfectly in sync with the rugs on display.  Accordingly, original post has been shelved for sometime in the future.
Baobab by Malene B Custom Handmade Carpets was on display
  Apart from the drool-worthy rugs showcased, what really impressed me was the strength and power of the feminine ______...not sure what to call it yet.  Everything about the event was flawless: the designs were striking, the quality impeccable, the presentations via the iphone microphone were sleek as were the designers themselves, the light heartedness, the importance.  To me, this event was important.  I almost didn't make it as I was a bit torn between supporting my friend Malene or going to yet another "how to get published" event.  She won out and frankly, so did I.  Let me explain a bit more about myself...

Etu Liliacea by Tracey Sawyer, The Nought Collective was on display
Of the three kids in my family, I am the only girl.  Of the 19 or so kids in the neighbourhood, I was one of four girls, and really the only one if you count those who hung with the boys.  Choosing a career in finance, specifically equity research, my odds just got progressively worse.  When I crossed over into design, things began to look up. We completely outnumbered the men in the classroom.  Ridiculously so.  As I began to explore behind the scenes beyond the classroom, I saw women were everywhere, in the showrooms, at events, even in the media. It was as if they were making up for my childhood.
love this amazing forest abstraction by Amy Helfand on display
Yet, funnily enough, the males still seemed to dominate the top.  Maybe it was the architecture influence?  Or socialization?  Or maybe it's genetics?  Haven't quite found a rational explanation for it.
Tania Johnson Design, featured rug on display
Fast forward to the present.  Female designers are indeed everywhere and the numbers are amazing.  Maybe not as much in the limelight as those classroom numbers would suggest but we are definitely there and growing.  Maybe we weren't as aggressive about being in the limelight in the past, or maybe we weren't given the opportunity, or maybe because we do outnumber the men, the men seem to stand out more when it comes to the limelight.  Whatever the reason, don't fool yourself...us women are doing it big.
Judy Ross Textiles, featured rug on display
And that night's event underscored that much.  The room was filled with amazing female designers, some I had known a while, some I'd met in recent months, and some I just met that evening.  All in different stages of the cycle, some behind the scenes, others in the forefront.  The conversations were genuine and supportive and even inspiring.  As Judy Ross pointed out in her short presentation, it's great when your competition can come together to create an event like this:

Colourful.  Artistic.  Expressive.  Beautiful.  The strength and power of us females.
The designers: (L-R) Amy Helfand, Tracey Sawyer, Malene Barnett, Judy Ross, and Tania Johnson.  Photo courtesy of Malene B.
My iphone pic of the amazing female designers with Casa showroom team. See wonderful tree sculptures in back.
Former classmate Lily Yung, Anishka (Ishka Designs), the amazing rug designer Malene B, and Sarah Han.  Photo courtesy of Malene B.


  1. Great Post Anishka! I'm thrilled you've shined the spotlight on female designers. You reminded me of my childhood in Jamaica and my former career in the insurance industry. The boys outnumbered the girls in both aspects. Great designs!

  2. I always get personal comments via email and I really needed to repost this one, with the author's permission of course:

    "You know Anishka, you're DEFINITELY maturing ... its reflected in your many thought-provoking Blogs! What you're talking about here is what many persons, like myself, discovered when we stepped out into the working world.
    I grew up with two older sisters, so my world was female dominated, only male there was my father, so I didn't realize that "men ruled the world". Then I started to work and realized what was meant by "There's a glass ceiling for women" ... women only became nurses and teachers and stayed home to mind babies ... they were not supposed to be intelligent enough to have a career. That's why Joan Clarke and Vilma Mc Clenan and all the other women of my age-cohort fought hard to get our girls, especially, qualified with University degrees!! We had seen that, somehow, no matter how many females undergo training and graduated from programmes at a far higher level than their male counterparts.... men seemed to dominate! Apparently it is how MEN are socialized ... they are taught by mothers (unfortunately) that they have a right to evrything in life and look out for each other (the old boy's network) unlike most women who seem happier when they're tearing other women down. So we started covertly pushing you from an early age, hopefully in a direction that you'd finally come to find yourselves and take your place in leadership roles.

    Happily, things have been changing ... slowly, I admit, but changing. That's reflected in such things as when Lisa became a pilot and in the work that young designers are doing and in you now owning and manging your own business and finding your voice through the work you do.

    Women need to support other women to guarantee success for all women, so I'm glad you chose to go support your friend's exhibition. Good call! And their work is really amazing. I could live with that Baobab rug! I went to Alpha where there was the biggest Baobab ("Monkey Puzzle") tree under which every Alpha girl of that era, and far beyond, had many hours of camaraderie and fun. That tree finally died about four years ago, and they've replanted one. Then in Senegal, my squad of ladies and I stood in absolute AWE at the largest, most majestic Baobab tree ever!! And, it led to us meeting one of senegal's most famous artits .. Mamadou. So I have a special place in my heart for that tree. There's a song by Letta in which she sings "Sacred Baobab tree, lost your children to the sea, stolen from your branches many rains ago..." The tree is meaningful to Africans. I love that rug, so can I please have it? (Smile) Also liked Tania Johnson's rug. The colours in both rugs make me happy ... such warmth!!"

    Thanks VM

  3. Wonderful and interesting post!

  4. So disappointed I had to miss this. I have long been a fan of MaleneB.
    I feel like I was almost at the event through your post. Thanks!