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


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


Latest Project: Yellow stairs in Paris

A warm punch of yellow on the stairs highlight its luscious curves and brings a vibrancy to the muted tones of the apartment.  In addition, four of the six dining chairs were sourced from the Paris fleas to complement the existing ones.
All photos by: Niya Bascom Photography
It's spring and what better time than any to showcase the final product of our sojourns to Paris.  From the beautiful curved stairs punched up with vibrant yellow paint from RAL colours, the bright white walls to showcase the client's diverse art collection and an eclectic mix of furnishings, our project really came together in just 3 visits and a ton of emails and calls.
The sculture/coffee table by Francois Portelette adds to the diverse artwork which includes sketches and paintings by the same artist and Georges Braque as well as photography by Michael Kenna and Denis Brihat.  We love how the rich toffee colored sofa plays off the wine barrel and continues the warmth from the stairs. 
View from the mezzanine.
The client's authentic indian chairs paired well with the mod swivel lounge chair and the vintage rugs.  We added a cabinet to conceal the television and added the bookcases on the right for the massive collection of books.
This pied-à-terre is a lot more traditional in feel than typical for us, but then again we don't normally work in Paris, so a lot of firsts for us in general.   We worked with most of the client's furnishings adding a few pieces from various Parisienne flea markets and a couple of boutique shops in Le Marais.  Alas, the remaining owned pieces were sent off to storage.
Pair of Louis chairs in original fabric is a part of the client's family collection.
One of the client's inherited secretaires is featured on the mezzanine along with artwork byMichel Blanc-Garrin and John Stewart, vintage books, and a sculpture by Francois Portelette.
View from the office also located on the mezzanine.
Though not pictured, we successfully combined a tiny guest bathroom with a wash room to create a modern space with walk-in shower and a washer/dryer closet.  Unfortunately the bathroom was not completed by the time we left Paris for the last time, hence no pics.

In addition, we created a lighting schematic for the space and changed out all the wall-to-wall carpets with hardwood and Amtico floors.  Finally, despite our editing efforts, we had to provide additional storage with bookcases on two levels and a built-in media closet to house the tv on the ground floor.
In addition to the walls, we painted the office cabinets white in the mezzanine area to minimize their importance so we could dwell more on the artworks in the space.
All our projects give us an opportunity to grow and learn from the experience and I would say that this project had quite the lesson plan.  Definitely our most challenging to date.  The editing process was one of the harder aspects because of all the sentimental value attached to each item in the home by our wonderful client.  In addition, communicating design plans and guidance in french was the other major hurdle, but it has led to good relationships with our overseas contractors.
There were many collections to edit for display including teapots and a vast stone collection originally housed in the curio in the living room.  Given their size and beauty we chose to sprinkle a few of the stones throughout.
We look forward to sharing all our favourite experiences from our one year affair with Paris in our next post.  In the meantime, we are happy with this project's outcome and so are the clients!  Hope you appreciate it too.  For all the images from this project, visit our online portfolio here.



Featured on West Elm's blog: Front & Main

So our kitchen refresher project that we showcased last month is featured on West Elm's Front & Main blog this week!  I am guessing they liked how we worked in their Emerson dining table, while still allowing it to be the star of the show :)  Thanks West Elm!
Photography by: Niya Bascom
See more of the project here.



Lights, Camera...Action: Take 1

Caught in the Act featuring Ishka Designs! Brooklyn Indpendent TV series - Bric Arts Media
We've finally built up the courage to bare our souls, skills and style on the big screen. Ok, so it is not quite the big screen, but it is local TV network, Brooklyn Independent Television.  We are very happy and proud to be a part of their docu-series "Caught In the Act: Art in Brooklyn", which takes a "fly on the wall" perspective of Brooklyn artists as they go about executing their artwork.  The approach perfectly explains the 6 minutes of unrehearsed, unscripted, raw delivery of a day with IDI so kindly excuse the repetitive words, the "uhms" and the "errs" and help Niya and I celebrate our first real LIVE television experience...hip, hip....hooray!
Chatting about our project for non-profit Haiti Cultural Echange.
The show first aired on 02.27.13 and will continue to air for a month at 2p and 10p Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Time Warner 56, Cablevision 69 and in all five boroughs on Verizon 44.  Non-NY'ers can also see our portion of the episode here courtesy of blip.tv.
On the site of our project with Haiti Cultural Exchange President, Regine Roumaine
We weren't joking earlier about the build-up to this.  In fact, about two years elapsed since the producer, Ambika Samarthya, first knocked on our door requesting participation on the show.  Only recently, however, did we happen upon the right project fit for her.  In late November, we committed to working with the amazing non-profit organization, Haiti Cultural Exchange, to design their first head office location.  With the short turnaround time we were given, we felt the project would be ideal for TV.  Alas, the final reveal did not occur in time for the airing of the show, but we will keep you posted on the final results.

So here are my thoughts: despite his very camera-shy demeanour, Mr. Bascom looks and sounds like he was meant for the screen...not so sure about yours truly, but I am working on it.  Do you think we should make a habit of this TV thing? :)


***Special thanks to Ambika Samarthya, Brooklyn Independent TV and our client, Haiti Cultural Exchange for making this happen***


Latest Project: A Kitchen Refreshed!

All photos by Niya Bascom Photography

Might be a bit too late to say happy new year, but we are at least happy to share our latest completed project - a kitchen and mudroom refresher.  Pardon our lack of humility but we LOVE how this one turned out.  People often ask "what is IDI's style?".  I would say that this look comes very close to it - minimal, clean simplicity that showcases an eclectic mix of pieces and LOTS of vintage finds.  Niya would probably say it needs more color, but we both agree that all the textures gives this kitchen and mudroom great personality.
We had these vintage metal chairs for awhile and so decided to pair them with this reclaimed West Elm table.  The fabric was a recent find.  The light fixture is also an antique.
The pair of Eames chairs (background) keeps the space light while balancing color and contrast.
A pop of red and a ton of art makes this muddy mud-room a treat to walk through, The glass door was added to further winterize the house while the antique handle was refinished to add some character.
The brick chimney with it's multiple paint layers brings some color into the space while the old church pew completes the seating arrangement.
More images can be found here.  Let us know if you like it as much as we do!