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


Materialistic: "Big _____!"

To borrow some memorable Jamaican quotes:

"Have you had your Big Bamboo?" (hehe)
"Big belly man, big belly man man" - Admiral Bailey dancehall song, early 90's maybe.

If you are Jamaican then you should be familiar with these famous phrases: "Big bamboo" and Big belly", yeah? If you are not...just use your imagination (smile)! While the first represents materialism of a different kind (haha), and the latter a sign of materialistic prosperity, I wanted to introduce a different in
terpretation of a design kind.

1. Bamboo bicycle = Big idea!

I recently came across an article on the Bamboo Bike Studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a product of the Bam
boo Bike Project, a program at the Earth Institute of Columbia University researching the market potential for bamboo bikes in Africa. As fans of bamboo and bikes, this idea caught our attention immediately. The project's targeted result, a factory in Ghana where locals will be taught how to utilize their own bamboo species to create bamboo bicycles, an affordable earth-friendly transportation alternative. The bike studio's mission is...

"...twofold: provide every cyclist the experience of building his or her dream bike from scratch, while advancing sustainable entrepreneurship and development through financing bamboo bike factories in Africa and South America".

Learn to make your own bamboo bike and read more about bringing more of these factories to African and South American countries here. Maybe islands of the Caribbean would like to consider this?

2. Big Belly can, big belly trash can can?

I've long ago thrown aside the association of big bellies representing success. And now, I shall toss aside all the other negative notions that replaced its predecessor with this great concept: The BigBelly Solar Compactor. The positives include internal trash compactor powered wholly by solar energy, cleaner surroundings, and the ability to store five times more garbage.

Its $3,000 - $4,000 current price tag may prevent it from reaching your neighbourhood, but hopefully with the proper funding, continued R&D, growing demand, the BigBelly company may be able to lower this over time. Ultimately though, the potential environmental and cost savings from reduced frequency of garbage collection may outweigh the cost these kinds of big bellies to a corner near you sooner rather than later. At least, Philadelphia seems to think so. The city expects to save $13m over 10 years and cut collection cost by 70%. Talk about taking the initiative!



Who doesn't want flowers on Valentine's?

My love affair with flora continues...inspired to inspire...happy valentine's day from Ishka Designs!

A bit of red.

Niya Bascom Photography , copyrighted image 2010

Image Sources: Interiordesign.net and mdcwall.com

White gold.

Niya Bascom Photography, copyright 2008 - 2010

Sources: mdcwall.com and stonesource.com

one love,


So much on my mind...

...these days, and I would like to share it all in concise posts each with their own witty title. But really I don't have the time, so I'm giving just a sneak preview of them all (ok, just two) in this one posting and hopefully as each concept develops, the efficiency and sparkling personality will lead to amazing posts down the road!

First. Its February and its black history month. No news there. But its the 11th and I have yet to mention one black designer/artist that inspires me on my blog. Sad, I think. So to make up for lost time, I've decided to dedicate one day a week for the rest of the year to celebrate a black designer. Ambitious...yes and no. For me, this means a disciplined approach, which I think I've forgotten how to do since I went on sabbatical from dance. But really no, because there are so many amazingly talented black people out there that don't seem to get the deserved publicity, so this should be a breeze. As an up and coming designer myself, I want to focus on the "not-so-famous-yet" designers. I have set the genre criteria to include interior design, architecture, photography and or fashion. I will start next week so keep a watchful eye out. And please, if you have suggestions, feel free to send on the list!

Second. I'm designing a bench and I am calling her Roxie. Its a new approach for me as I am incorporating a bit of metal with the wood. Will post progress shots...very excited.

Three. Last night I hung out with my wonderfully talented neighbor (you'll read about her soon). And as we flipped through a fashion magazine (an indulgence I gave up a while back), I came across a photo of this AMAZING couture outfit. I mean, this thing was just GORGEOUS. As I sat there drooling over the intricacies of the metal cum jewelry armor-like body suit complete with head gear, I couldn't help think that when I die I want to come back as a fashion model just to wear this type of thing. The theatrics of it all...so impactful that I started to imagine how I could create a space around it. I couldn't tear myself away from the page. The designer...

...Mr. Alexander McQueen. RIP.



Materialistic: The air we share

I cannot believe its Tuesday again. Did we not just conceptualize this Materialistic Tuesday thing? Since life doesn't seem to want to stand still, our must-have products this week naturally focuses on movement. Air movement that is.

Clean air is important to us, as it should be. At some point in time, we've all taken a road-trip. Well isn't it amazing to experience that sudden blast of really crisp fresh air as you roll down your window, signaling that you are no longer in the city? Alarming is more like it, I think. As I type I ponder why I still choose city life over "country" - what we Jamaican folks like to refer to as anywhere outside the city or specifically, Kingston - do I not prefer clean air, cleaner streets, whiter sands, greener greens, or bluer beaches?

Well, at this point in time city life is still for me. I will endure smoggy air, impossible to keep clean window sills, and noise just to name a few. But I might be able tolerate it for a bit longer with the following items:

1. The Humanair, by Humanscale.

If you live in an urban environment, or near a heavily trafficked road, or work in a cubicle, or are exposed to anything that would pollute your air a tad faster than living in the middle of a rain forest, you've probably considered investing in an air purifier. While I've come across one or two that functions as beautifully as it looks, none seem to be designed for those spatially challenged spaces. Until now. The desktop Humanair's "...patented technology renders existing air purifiers obsolete, operating at a remarkably low wattage for far higher efficiency than other units. Plus, it operates in virtual silence while producing no harmful ozone or noticeable draft." Read more.

Considerate and scaled. Thanks Humanscale!

I grew up with louvred windows and a mom who believed in the virtues of cross ventilation. So now, living just off Flatbush in Brooklyn, I'd rather suffocate under stifling heat in the summer, excessive noise outside the window, and yep, the forever dirty sills, than purchase another ac unit. So while the existing $30 fan from Target still works, I look forward to the day I can upgrade to this bladeless beauty...or move to the country :)

These products ought to make your world more "efficiently beautiful".



Union St. Ongoing...more rooms to come.

Photo credit: NiyaBas.com Photography

Had fun yesterday putting the styling touches on the completely renovated bathroom at Union Street, Brooklyn for the photo shoot with our favourite photographer. Although we are still smarting at the decision to keep the bathroom size at approx. 52 sq. ft., we are extremely happy with the outcome given the placement of a larger than life mirror. And yes, so is the client!

Thanks again to NiyaBas.com Photography for the gorgeous work.

Want to highlight a few nods to eco-consciousness on display, including the Eco-leader tiles using 40% recycled content, re-glazed tub and toilet, mat made from rubber tree, and dimmable lighting. More "efficiently beautiful" touches come in the form of IDI's custom vanity (its a drawer) and the cubby above the tub, which, can you believe, almost never made it in!

To tell the truth, the most fun for me was the floral arrangement: we used a strange yet beautiful torch ginger and a couple of palm leaves to soften up the very zen bathroom. For those of you following the blog, you will realize that I kinda sorta combined the two styling options from a couple posts back, keeping the colour to only a mere accent.

Anyhow, this is just the start of what we suspect will be an all round beautiful 1-bedroom reno. So from just the bathroom, tell us, do you like?



Materialistic: Must-use post consumer products

In an effort to organize our blog, we are considering creating a theme per day. (So far I like the idea, but I am not making any promises to keep this up on a daily basis!)

So Tuesday shall be "materialistic day", dedicated to products idi cannot wait to use on an upcoming project. As a strong believer in efficiency, sustainability, and the whole 9 yds, I thought the inaugural "materialistic" post should feature products that promote sustainable thinking.

(As an aside, shouldn't it be ingrained in our thinking now to always consider sustainability? Not just in product, but in our actions, our processes, our politics, our economics, our social habits?) While we leave you to ponder this, here are the products we are truly excited about:

1. Wondering what's going to happen to the AA plane that broke into 3 after skidding off NMIA runway in Kingston, Jamaica? Well, it may
very well end up in the next IDI commercial or residential project using Bio-luminum from Coverings Etc. It is made of 100% post consumer recycled aluminum from the hull of retired aircrafts. Its gorgeous and considerate!

2. We love wood. We adore reclaimed wood. Check out these gorgeous textured surfaces from Stone Source!

idi team