Husband-and-wife team Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason highlight 16 inspiring spaces (and stories) in their latest book.
“The Black family home is a vibe. More than just a place where people live, it’s a feeling, ” Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason write in their new book, AphroChic, spotlighting 16 inspiring spaces of notable Black Americans. “It comes from the food that we eat, the music we hear, the stories we share. Whether an apartment, a condo or a house, a new-build, or a generational home, the feeling is the same. Home is like ‘soul’—indescribable, but you know it when you feel it and you miss it when it’s gone.” Tour some of the book’s standout rooms and see what they mean.
Who: Stacey & Andre Blake
Where: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Stacey started her blog, Design Addict Mom, more than 12 years, ago, inviting readers into her family’s joyful abode. She loves, showing her colorful and plant-filled rooms, influenced by the, couple’s Jamaican roots. “Jamaican culture is just colorful,” she says. “[There’s] no distinction from country living to city living. We’re just a vibrant people.” The entry is bright pink with lots of equally bright art. In their boys’ bedroom, Stacey created a statement wall by plastering on a giant map of the world.
Who: Nana Yaa Asare Boadu
Where: Brooklyn, New York
Fashion designer and performance artist Nana Yaa has called many places home, including London, Milan, and Paris. Her Brooklyn apartment incorporates styles from all those cities but is deeply influenced by her childhood in Ghana. “It gives me something that no other place in the world can give me,” she says. Impressively, she’s figured out how to bring in a structured velvet sofa, let her home’s architectural details shine, and showcase her two biggest collections—books and shoes.
Who: Jason Reynolds
Where: Washington, D.C.
As an award-winning author of young adult literature, Jason designed his home to reflect his work and his family’s past. Every room is filled with books, and in his entry, he hung a rejection letter his grandmother received decades ago when she applied for a job and failed the written portion of the test. That letter reminds him why he advocates for childhood literacy and spends a lot of time in drab schools and detention centers. Those places can leave people feeling cold and confined. “I can’t feel like that when I come home,” he says, so he went bright and colorful. His bedroom nods to midcentury design, with neutral textured walls and pops of lively yellow, blue, and red.
Who: Chris Glass
Chris, an actor turned interior designer, grew up in Georgia and now lives more than 4,000 miles away in Berlin. His apartment features all sorts of items he’s gathered throughout his life, and if you look around you’ll get a lesson in opposites attracting: Living things mix with metallics, and retro pieces stand with modern sculptures. “I try to create spaces that are harmonious,” he says. “And within that harmony there are layers of stories to tell.”
Who: Shawna Freeman
Where: Charlotte, North Carolina
There’s bold paint on almost every wall in Shawna’s two-story craftsman. Her style, mixing jewel tones with artifacts, recalls her childhood home and her family’s aesthetic. “We didn’t have much money, but when you have creativity you can do a lot of things,” she says. Her maternal grandparents were sharecroppers in Louisiana. Her parents traveled the world—her dad as a naval architect; her mom, an educator, as a Fulbright grant recipient. Now Shawna displays homages to it all, including masks from West Africa, framed Egyptian papyrus pieces that remind her of her mother, and much more.
From the book AphroChic: Celebrating the Legacy of the Black Family Home by Bryan Mason and Jeanine Hays. Copyright © 2022 by Jeanine Hays and Bryan Mason. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
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