Designer Spotlight: Mili Suleman of KUFRI Textiles

Today we venture into the world of slow textiles with Dallas brand KUFRI, owned and created by the talented Mili Suleman. The term “slow textiles” captures the essence of a fully handmade, woven fabric created in a slow, artisanal manner as has been done for hundreds of years. Powered by handlooms, Mili Suleman’s company KUFRI is keeping alive the traditional weaving techniques of India with a contemporary spin for the modern design lover. Mili was kind enough to welcome me into her home for an interview where I learned about her foray into entrepreneurship, her creative spirit, and the process behind her one of a kind textiles.

Wall of beautiful KURFI textile swatches.

Founder and designer Mili Suleman was born in Mumbai, India and raised in Oman. A graduate of Texas Christian University, she sees KUFRI as an amalgamation of her multi-cultural background, her explorations in design, writing and art, and her passion for natural spaces.

At the core of the KUFRI textile brand is the idea that your home’s textiles should compliment the other items in your home, which is best accomplished with a neutral textile palette. However, when it comes to Mili’s textile designs, you’ll find that KUFRI’s neutral textiles are anything but boring and in fact, are quite exciting! The textures truly POP, which she accomplishes through the handwoven process.

Throughout Mili’s home you’ll find evidence of her vast creative inspiration. She shared with me that she is creatively inspired by the visual arts, travel, books, and ceramics, all of which you will find interwoven among her home’s decor. I had to snap a photo of Mili’s inspiration board in her home studio (shown above) because it truly captures Mili’s aesthetic and creative interests.

When Mili isn’t working on the KUFRI brand, one of her hobby’s is oil painting and browsing her collection of inspired books. I had the opportunity to see one of Mili’s latest paintings (below), placed above the dining table in her home. It’s the perfect pop of color to complement the KUFRI textiles in her home!

(Left) Mili’s oil painting. (Right) “Rex” pillow in blush color.
A few of the options available at KUFRI. The last one is Mili’s favorite KURFI textile, “Ira”!

The KUFRI mission is to help preserve handloom weaving, to provide employment to women and aging weavers, and promote a conscious, beautiful life at home through their products.  When you buy KUFRI textiles you’re supporting an amazing cause that is both mindful and sustainable, while adding a touch of timeless beauty to your home. Check out our video below to learn more about Mili Suleman’s venture into entrepreneurship, a peek into her home, in addition to finding out what KUFRI’s top sellers are!

Celebrating at the Amara Interior Blog Awards – London

After working on the Interiors by Jacquin blog for nearly 5 years, it was incredibly exciting to be nominated as a finalist at the Amara Interior Blog Awards. I can’t believe I hadn’t shared about the experience on the blog until now, but I suppose better late than never. I was selected as a finalist for their “Best Interior Designer Blogger” category which landed me at their London awards event this Fall. I was only able to stay in London for 2 nights due to a speaking engagement in Dallas immediately upon my return (I had to teach a negotiation training workshop!), but the trip was absolutely worth while. So many great memories and new friends made!

Walking up to the venue at the Marylebone Hotel in London was quite grand and set the tone for a fabulous evening. There were passed hors’d’oeuvers, custom cocktails, and networking galore. They really went above and beyond to make us feel special for a fun night of celebration. One of my favorite parts of the night was seeing my name on the big screen during the awards event, which I had to capture on camera of course!

While I did not win the final award, attending the event was still a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what I’ve accomplished with my business over the years. Also notable, I had never before been in a room with so many designers and design lovers at once! Sharing in our accomplishments and exchanging experiences was truly the highlight of the night. These lovely ladies and I hit it off so well that we ended up being the last ones at the event! Congratulations to new friend Simone Baur (shown far left, below) for winning in her category for her inspirational work at blog Global Inspirations Design. I also had the pleasure of meeting Siobhan Casey of Casey & Fox and Chantelle Purcelle of Amar Gallery. Interestingly I connected with Chantelle via the Shapr networking app before I even landed in London and she was my amazing plus 1 for the night. On a sidenote, Amar Gallery in London features some truly impressive artists! (Interiors by Jacquin will be doing an entire feature on this gallery soon so look out for that!)

The gift bags were also spectacular and seemed to weigh a good 20 lbs. each! They were filled with small home decor items ranging from Tom Dixon, to Missoni and beyond… pretty great!

Meanwhile back at my hotel in London, I enjoyed the best fish & chips EVER in addition to enjoying a casual selfie with my giant gift bag post event. 🙂 I stayed at the Corus Hotel right in the heart of the London and the customer service and restaurant cuisine were excellent. They also had an amazing breakfast buffet and are walking distance from the V&A museum and Hyde Park gardens. Now that I’m back home in Dallas I’m enjoying my souvenir program, party Polaroids, and amazing luxury home decor freebies. Not a bad trip at all! London always has so much to offer. Thanking Amara for their hospitality and the amazing memories!

Designer Spotlight: Floral Designer Mary Pinson

If you, like many of us, are suffering through sub-zero temperatures right now, then allow this the warm, floral-focused blog post take you away to warmer thoughts. Floral designer Mary Pinson is from Montgomery, Alabama (now based in Georgia) where she cultivated an interest in celebrating often, entertaining thoughtfully, and doing so with the warm addition of flowers. Mary defines herself as a dreamer, and I must say that her imaginative approach toward floral design certainly gives her arrangements a dreamy quality. Her taste for fashion, art, and music provide constant influence on both her work and personal life. Get a taste of Mary Pinson’s design style as we peruse some of her recent work and accomplishments.

Design is what truly sparks Mary’s soul. Over the years Mary has used her imaginative design style (and flair for events) to transform a range of special occasions both formal and informal. Mary is especially inspired when creating arrangements with touches of gold, which happens to be her favorite color and the perfect addition to elegant floral displays.

You’ll also find Mary getting involved in her local community when she isn’t working on floral designs for clients. I love that Mary recently collaborated with organization More Precious Movement, which helps young women boost their confidence and learn that they are more precious than jewels. Mary guided the More Precious Movement participants in creating floral crowns, representing the organizations mission to help young women find their worth in God, not the world, and to passionately live out their purpose.

In addition to Mary’s love of flowers and design, she also enjoys hosting friends & family for dinner, drinks, and laughs. Above you’ll find the tablescape from Mary’s recent Tuscan inspired dinner party at home. Below are a few highlights from some of Mary’s other hosting occasions. Fresh flowers truly make every gathering even better!

“Bring me your thoughts, and I will deliver the unforgettable details, from flowers to finale. It is such a pleasure to be a part of life’s celebrations for a client.”
-Mary Pinson

Visit Mary’s website at www.MaryPinson.com to schedule Mary’s floral designs for your next event. Mary creates custom floral arrangements for clients in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, and New York.

At Home with Dubai Designer Nisrine Moghraby

Today we’re hopping over to Dubai where interior designer Nisrine El Lababidi Moghraby has welcomed us into her home for a special home tour. Nisrine’s style is chic with global flair, grounded by contemporary black accents. Take a look at my recent interview with Harf Noon Design Studio‘s Nisrine El Lababidi Moghraby.
 
Jacquin: Tell us about your decorating style? How have you used your own personal style to brand yourself and the Harf Noon Design Studio?
 
Nisrine: I believe I have an ever-evolving style that is underpinned by a subtle coordinated fusion of middle-eastern meets west; definitely using clean line and neutral tones, blended with charming warmth and sumptuous opulence. All elements I use are simplistic yet with timeless elegance interrupted by hints of colour here and there. I have kept this style consistent in the branding of Harf Noon Design Studio… you’ll see a lot of clean lines and neutrals interrupted by strong black & white textures with hints of colour.
 
Jacquin: I know you’re working on a new line of homewares. How exciting! What can you tell us about your upcoming collection? What has been involved in developing your homewares collection so far?
 
Nisrine: his is still a project in the making. Unfortunately it got delayed due to unforeseen reasons, however I believe the full reveal will be very soon. I am a creative, which means when I find a need for an item I immediately get my hands busy with finding solutions for it. My first product was a series of Limited edition Wall Coverings designed from the actual handwritten famous songs of the writer Chafic El Moghraby. The song writer’s work became a part of the Lebanese and Arabic cultural weave, with work spanning the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and words sung by many famous Arab singers such as Sabah, George Wassouf, Melhem Barakat, Nasry Chamseddine, and Ragheb Alame among others. I was personally interested in reviving these hand written songs by juxtaposing them against their digital pixel equivalent. The result, a mesh of old and new that can coexist in our modern day setting and bring back an era long gone. These were sold at the Art Dubai Fair and were a great success. For my new line, I’m filling a gap for certain items like creative cushions, carpets and more wall hangings. You will know more about these very soon.
 

Jacquin: Interior designers often have great taste in coffee table books. What coffee table books are you enjoying at home right now?

Nisrine: My husband, who is a television & film director, and I both love anything with visual impact. Sitting on our table right now is a photography book by Steve McCurry “The Iconic Photographs” published by Phaidon. It truly captures unique fleeting moments of human experience and offers a window to other worlds. 

As for bedside interior design, fashion, and travel books, I love ‘Style A to Z‘ by Rachel Zoe,  ‘How to be a Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style & Bad Habits‘ & Garance Dore’s ‘Love, Style & Life‘. You’ll find books like these around my house.

Jacquin: How does being born and raised in Abu Dhabi influence you as an interior designer?

Nisrine: I love the fact that I’m a global child… I’m Lebanese in origin but having grown up here meant I got to live and experience a variety of cultures. We had 87 nationalities in school! This meant that my middle eastern background mingled with various social and cultural settings, language, religions, even food. It allows one to eventually develop many social connections with these cultures and allows for a much more open acceptance of the other. I would say this hugely benefited me as I can understand my clients backgrounds and needs a lot better having met many of the same nationalities over the years.

 
Jacquin: Have you undertaken any DIY projects at home? What was involved? How does this DIY creation represent you? 
 
Nisrine: I’ve done several, but my favorite is definitely my sons graphic show wall entirely in two hours! its made of black washi tape and connects the  two walls in the in room with the bed… it just sets the whole mood of the room with its bold lines and styled items on the wall. You can see the room below. Anything black and white speaks to my style aesthetic, its bold and elegant yet fun. You will notice I have used these colors in several instances in my home.
 
Jacquin: I love when individuals showcase global finds in their home’s decor. What is your favorite travel souvenir that has become a special design element in your home?
 
Nisrine: Ooh I have a lot! I don’t buy any fridge magnets or shot glasses or T-shirts when I travel…I prefer buying small pieces of art that would remind me of the place I’ve been to. I have small ashtrays from Barcelona, a tile piece from Prague, little dolls from Istanbul. A ceramic horse from Tiblisi, small house from Tallin and Green 1940’s green glass trinket boxes I’m collecting… each reminds me of a city, the people I was travelling with and a feeling! You can see some of my souvenirs displayed below.
 
Jacquin: What is your favorite space in your home?
 
Nisrine: My favorite room is my bedroom which we have kept TV free so its ultimately relaxing. (See above.) I love when the sun goes in through the curtains in the morning and the wow factor in the deep blue wall we’ve painted and the lovely limited edition horses print by Australian photographer Katie Mendi which we sourced from Tribe Dubai. 
 
The room oozes with everything relaxing that engages the senses – from scented candles to luxurious cotton bedding & cushions.I’ve also created a little reading nook with a comfy pottery barn chair a throw and well place side table for the reading books and coffee. No wall is left bare! they either have mirrors, to bounce the light, or Art (Like this particular silk screened limited edition piece I named ‘streets’).  Most importantly a clutter free policy – I am a bit of an OCD! everything is always put in place or collected in a tray.
 
 
Jacquin: How has your journey in entrepreneurship been so far? Despite the hard work of entrepreneurship, what has been your most rewarding moment up to this point?
 
Nisrine: One difficult aspect of entrepreneurship would be trusting your instinct and being brave about it. Another important element on my journey has been finding and creating the right network of trustworthy suppliers in my industry, as all projects are dependent on quality supplies. The most rewarding aspect is the look on my clients’ faces when they see the final space. I am blessed in that even after the projects are completed, my clients text me and share how much they are truly in love with their homes. That, along with getting their homes featured in leading interiors magazines, has been amazing. 
 
Learn more abut Dubai designer Nisrine El Lababidi Moghraby on her website Harf Noon Design Studio
 

When Furniture Combines Art and Storytelling…

Designer Emily Henry of Millicent Furniture– Photography: Jen Judge

A special piece of furniture can add an unexpected beauty to your home while telling a warm and welcoming story. New Mexico furniture designer, Emily Henry of Millicent, is a creator of this special kind of furniture. 

Emily’s furniture is artistic and natural while utilizing unique narrative carvings to tell a story to everyone who lays eyes on it. What I like most about Millicent’s furniture designs is that each piece invokes a fine art feel along with a modern nod to nature.  With every piece being a work of art in itself, Millicent’s furniture cannot help but capture your attention.  

 

Kit Carson Electric Console shown in light poplar, Millicent – Photography: Peter Vitale

Happy’s Curios Credenze in pine, Millicent – Photography: Jen Judge

Pueblo Plum 3-Drawer Side Tables (Right and Left facing) shown in light poplar, Millicent – Photography: Jen Judge

 
Jane’s Garden custom built-in upper office cabinets in light poplar, Millicent – Photography: Peter Vitale
 

Meeting in Gallup Credenza in pine, Millicent – Photography: Jen Judge 

Pueblo Plum 2-Door Side Table shownin light poplar, Millicent – Photography: Peter Vitale

Pueblo Plum Credenza in pine, Millicent – Photography: Jen Judge

Designer Emily Henry of Millicent – Photography: Jen Judge

When art and storytelling combine with design, the results are truly magical.  Millicent’s furniture designs are absolutely spectacular and truly unique. It’s furniture with soul. I look forward to seeing what whimsical narratives are shared in Emily Henry’s future furniture creations.  

To see more Millicent furniture, visit their webpage here.  
 
 

Al Fresco dining with Jacquin – Entertaining with Style

Photography by Joseph Rivers, Jay Sonata Photography

There is still time to host an outdoor meal for you and friends! Seize the moment and invite your friends for a lovely evening outdoors for food and drinks. I love to mix things up with al fresco dining, and one of the nice things about moving your party outdoors is the opportunity to choose your setting/venue. This go round I decided to host my al fresco dinner at a local park overlooking a lake. I packed up my necessities and prepared to create a stylish ambiance for relaxing outdoors. See how it all turned out in my video below, with my tips for hosting a chic meal outdoors. Thank you to Modern Luxury Interiors Texas for sharing this fabulous outing in their August magazine edition.

We’ve prepared a video with 4 great tips for al fresco dining at the end of this post, but I’ll give you a teaser here. Try decorating your outdoor tablescape with fresh cut fruit for a vibrant and fresh look. It adds a chic touch to your outdoor dining space, plus it’s easy and inexpensive!

Styling by the Interiors by Jacquin team with Jacquin Headen, Stephanie Cornell, and Paula Esguerra

Tips for Al Fresco Dining – VIDEO

Exploring a stunning & exotic restaurant design in Montenegro

European architecture firm, Archifocus, recreated the vivid and powerful colours of Arabia for one of the city’s most anticipated restaurants in Podgorica, Montenegro. Under the direction of architect Dijana Zoric, Archifocus firm executes a truly unique restaurant design with eye-catching global flare. Dijana Zoric’s original design work transports you to a exotic location as you dine in luxury. We had the opportunity to interview Djana Zoric to learn more about her design approach for this exotic restaurant, Mazaya Arabic Restaurant & Bar

Designer Dijana Zoric at the opening of Mazaya Arabic Restaurant & Bar.

A vibrant ambience has been created in the new Arabic restaurant Mazaya in Podgorica. In every corner of this beautiful interior, a special story is told through the intricate carved walls, the artistic ceiling, enchanting chandeliers, luxurious wallpaper and exotic furniture. Dijana was challenged to create a space that is both dominantly minimalistic, yet also sumptuous and luxurious with a rich palette of colours, flavors and fragrances. In the architecture field we consider this eclectic, a design style that Dijana has mastered expertly.

Eclectic design style, while deeply interesting, can be a bit trickier to achieve. When you are dealing with an eclectic look, you must think of the space you are working on as a blank, white box and have the complete image of your future design in your head, all the time. Otherwise, you would make a busy and distracting space full of different styles without order. Through an interview I found out that designer Dijana Zoric had no problem applying her knowledge and free spirit on this project, and that her initial inspiration starts with traveling.

‘’Ten years ago I worked as a student of architecture in Syria and Jordan. The experiences and impressions of this close encounter with Arab culture served as my main inspiration for creating this restaurant design. The aim of the project was to document the atmosphere of the Far East, transfer heat and color from their culture, bold spices, and aesthetic into a completely different space. So at the outset, I examined my photos from that trip, absorbing each color and shape, and then left the rest of my designing to spontaneity and creativity, eventually landing on the restaurant’s final appearance,’’ said Dijana Zoric, founder of Archifocus.

For an authentic Arab environment, Dijana began with retro, mood lighting showcasing the shapes and patterns of Arabia. Dijana’s chandelier selection is the focal point in this Arabic design, and it was positioned specifically to dominate the space. The main lighting is dim and adjusted as needed, while candles are used as decorative details. 

In Arabic art & design one of the most common elements you’ll find is the use of Islamic art, so of course this restaurant would not be complete without this addition. While the world of Arabic art & design is vast, for this restaurant Dijana focused on the use of arabesque, a drawing style with repetition of geometric shapes traditional to Islamic art. You’ll notice the addition of arabesque as a decorative element at the bars, as well as on the flooring and custom wall carvings. In my opinion, the best expression of Islamic art in this space is certainly the ceramic art, which displays the highest level of designer creativity.

Designers always react differently to the overall look of a completed space, and that is something we all expect impatiently, so I asked Dijana how she felt after the exciting grand opening.

‘’The first day after the restaurant opening, when I accompanied my friends to breakfast, it was very touching and emotional for me. Everything was like fairytale, all the colors, scents, music, smiles on the people faces, while just sitting there and enjoying the view.  Materializing the idea is always a special moment, yet I often question whether I could do better, wondering what I would change, add, or take away. I am my greatest critic, but I am pleased with this project because I managed to create an atmosphere that is warm, eclectic and arouses positive emotions,’ ’said Dijana. I agree that this impressive restaurant design is something to be truly proud of.

Dijana accomplished her goals of creating a warm, comfortable, and inviting space while maintaining a sophisticated look for this business. A restaurant’s interior design (or the design of any type of public business) has a dramatic impact on the type of guests the business attracts, making it so important for designers and business owners to keep in mind the needs and wishes of their customer base when designing the physical space. Dijana suggests that ensuring the space is functional and adaptable for multiple business purposes is key, as well as selecting high-quality, sturdy materials that will withstand visiting customers throughout the years.

Article by Dusica Miljanic – Interiors by Jacquin intern

Learn more about Dijana Zoric and her team’s work at ArchiFocus.

A Taste of NYC, MOMA and the Concrete Jungle

Changing up the scene and taking you to the East Coast, I’ve traveled to New York City to bring you all a taste of the Concrete Jungle, where dreams are made! Being born and raised in New York and taking many trips to the city, I never truly understood the magic it has to offer. It was not until I was older that I appreciated the art inspiration and the “hustle and bustle” of the city. Walking around and soaking in all of the designs everywhere I go from people’s fashion, buildings architecture, or street art outside a pizzeria, everywhere you look is truly magical.

There is a special feeling you get in New York City when watching the buzz of NYC’s most stylish residents running to their next meetings, calling for taxis, and being trendsetters all at the same time. One of my favorite things to do is look at everyone’s fashion sense as they walk down the streets. There is a lot of simplicity in New Yorkers’ streetwear, but you’ll also see many unique fashion prints year round. There is so much inspiration throughout this great city!

In Hell’s Kitchen, NYC I captured this marvelous street art of a man and a woman eating dinner. This painting truly captures New York City and the urban street art that is all around. I love the combination of colors and how it pops from miles away. This was displayed outside of a restaurant and definitely attracted many customers, (like me!)

I headed over to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) to get some design inspiration. All around there was incredible paintings that would act as great wall décor in your home.  As I headed to the museum there was a work of art parked on the street that I had to capture with a picture and show you all! This convertible with European license plate was painted and decorated inspired by the Amalfi Coast. The intricate detailing and props in the trunk were truly beautiful, and such an inspiration for the summertime. Who knew a car could make you want to travel to Europe in a heartbeat!

Artwork by Frank Stella

One of my favorite pieces of art that was in the MOMA was this sculpture from artist Frank Stella, which he describes as a painting, construction, or whatever you imagine it to be. It was created in 1984 and it was inspired by an Italian fairytale. The 3-D effect and pops of color make it so unique. Incorporating sculptures or paintings similar to Stella’s work in the MOMA can give any room a modern- European look!

See below some of the most eye-catching pieces of art that I captured as I toured the MOMA.

And for a taste of NYC street style, here are a few things that caught my eye. 

By Raisa Forte – Interiors by Jacquin intern

Headed to NYC anytime soon? Don’t miss the chance to visit New York City’s Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). You won’t be disappointed. And while you’re in the neighborhood taking in the NYC sites, people watching and taking in the local street style is always a free activity that will leave you inspired. 

Fashion meets Interiors: featuring Nneka Elliott

I hope everyone is enjoying the tail end of their summer! I am back with a brand new Fashion meets Interiors post featuring creator, host, and fashion blogger Nneka Elliott, whose foundation is based in her Caribbean roots. Nneka infuses Caribbean style and culture throughout her blog and personal style, bringing Caribbean heritage to her life in America. Meet Nneka and explore how she styles an original outfit based on this vibrant interior design and wall art by Leah Bartholomew.

I’m a long time tv news girl, with an island soul, chasing my dreams as a host, actor and content creator. I blog about my life as a woman on screen and the things that help me shine on camera. All the clothes, beauty/hair products and lifestyle tips that work for me. I recently quit the news biz after more than a decade of reporting and anchoring in Toronto, Canada. As such my style has also transitioned to be less conservative. I’d describe my personal style now as classic with a side of island chic.

That’s why I felt most drawn to this particular design photo. The botanical feel of Leah Bartholomew’s art work gave me a slight island vibe. The leaves, the citrusy vibrant colours. I could definitely see myself hosting an episode of my online lifestyle talk show in this room! I often talk about the intersectionality that is my identity as a Canadian woman of Caribbean descent (St.Vincent & the Grenadines & Trinidad to be specific.) I’m getting a bit of that dual identity when I look at this room. The artwork juxtaposed with the more neutral, classic tones in the furniture and decor.

Artwork by Leah Bartholomew

I pulled out the least prominent colour in the room, which is the orange (my favourite colour) and made it the dominant colour in my outfit.  I paired some comfy wide leg trousers with a hieroglyphic patterned tank from Caribbean designer Fashion is Payne. Then I threw on a faux suede moto jacket to tie in the pinks/blush in the painting and the texture of the couch. I recently got the african print clutch from a black owned pop up market. I really wanted to add a tiny bit of the electric blue from the painting, plus I love orange and navy. So it was a no brainer really. I love outfits that are multidimensional and represent who I am and this room provided the perfect opportunity to do so!

SHOP THE LOOK!

Thank you, Nneka for sharing your eclectic and colorful style with us. This outfit is perfect for the summertime, can be transformed from a business meeting to a night out on the town!

Be sure to follow Nneka Elliot on Instagram and Twitter @nnekaelliott and on Facebook. Go to her blog for more great content. For more of Interiors by Jacquin “Fashion meets Interiors” features click here!