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The Pineapple Pen Interview

In Interiors & Design on
September 15, 2017

Tamu Green of Lux Pad Interiors

Tamu Green is the founder of the New York based residential design firm, Lux Pad Interiors. After spending several years lending her design talents to one of Atlanta’s most popular interior design firms, she returned to her hometown of Brooklyn to create a space all her own. With a highbrow design aesthetic that shifts effortlessly through various styles, Tamu creates luxurious interiors for everyday life. Her creativity and love of color allows her to interpret diverse clients visions authentically. Find out more about Tamu’s evolution as a designer in her interview below.

At what age did you realize that you wanted to be an interior designer?

I created my first space plan in a shoe box with strategically arranged Barbie furniture (It was a humble exterior but pretty cozy inside). Despite my love for small plastic furniture, I didn’t consider interior design as a profession until I was 20 and undecided at Georgia Southern University. When it was time to choose my career, interior design was a no brainer. This was during the recession and the design industry was struggling but is still felt right. I also just so happen to be at one of only two public universities in Georgia with a CIDA accredited Interior Design program. I graduated 2 years later having earned a Bachelors of Science in Interior Design and minor in Business. The rest is history.

What places do you visit to feel inspired?

I try to allow inspiration to flow through me wherever I go but I don’t go to any particular place to feel inspired. There are times I’ll go somewhere and will be inspired to an idea. But more often, Inspiration comes months later and I’m not even correlating the idea to that experience. Inspiration happens incrementally for me. It can come from places that don’t look particularly significant or inspirational at the time so I try to be open to seeing beauty and function everywhere I go.

If you had to design a bedroom with only 4 items, what would they be? Why?

A rug, drapery panels, statement light fixture, and a bed. The rug and drapery panels to keep it warm and cozy, the statement light fixture to add presence and drama, and a big beautiful bed to ground the room, create a focal point, and of course, sleep in.

What’s your favorite part of the design process?

I love selecting textiles for my design projects. Walking into a design center with a general idea and finding the perfect colors, patterns, and textures come together to flesh out that vision is so much fun.The textile selection part of the design process mimics the design process was a whole, but with more instant gratification.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you.

I’m a self-help, law of attraction, Deepak Chopra loving, Abraham Hick listening, Kemet discussing, deliberately manifesting, “new-age” nerd. There! It’s out, lol! I’m useless in a discussion of the current shenanigans happening in America, but if you want to talk about being an infinite being having a finite experience. . . I’m your girl!

You can view Tamu’s residential portfolio and get in touch for design services at Lux Pad Interiors. + Check out her everyday musings on Instagram!

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In Interiors & Design on
August 16, 2017

Whitney Jones of Whitney J Decor

Photography: Britt Smith

Whitney Jones is a New Orleans based interior designer who draws inspiration from the vibrant colors and eclectic charm of her southern hometown. With a distinct design aesthetic, she utilizes moody dark tones, artistic paintings and lively pops of color to bring her projects to life. Through her site, Whitney J. Decor, she works with clients in her local area as well as across the United States and internationally. Full of life and bubbly charm, she is warm with an undeniable zeal for life. Find out more about her favorite design project and how she doesn’t use the color wheel in her interview below.

What do you feel separates you from other interior designers?

I don’t like to compare myself to other designers, but if I have to choose one thing that I think separates me from most designers, it’s my ability to read a client and bring their personality into a room. Any designer can design a beautiful space, but not everyone can effectively blend their styles with that of their clients. I always try and give my clients a great design, but I want to make sure that when they walk in their new space (or when their family and friends walk in), their personality shines through. That might not always be my ideal dream room, but my client is happy. That’s what it’s all about.

What are your favorite elements to include when styling a room for a client?

My favorite elements to include when styling a room is bold and/or unexpected art and color. I also love to bring in an oversized sculpture or wall art.

Does where you live influence your design aesthetic? 

Being from New Orleans definitely influences my design aesthetic. I love color and eclectic spaces and you’ll find lots of color and eclectic style on every street in my city. I don’t go by the color wheel when styling a space and I think that comes from living in such a vibrant city where every color goes. So, naturally, I like to bring in lots of color and don’t always try and match a shade to another.

What has been your favorite project to date?

My favorite project was a dining room that I had full creative control over. My client had an amazing art collection already and let me choose which pieces to bring into the space, and gave me full reign to bring in my style. The room is a direct reflection of my style and how I like to design. It had dark walls, bold art, and fun pops of color.

If you only had 5 items to style a room, what would they be? Why?

Ideally, it would be an oversized art piece with lots of color, a large gorgeous agate stone, a marble coffee table, a living tree to sit near a window, a fun, colorful pillow, and a cowhide rug.

You can check out Whitney’s gorgeous apartment tour here and grab a stylish accent pillow at her shop!


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In Interiors & Design on
August 3, 2017

Jeanine Hays & Bryan Mason of AphroChic

Photographer: Patrick Cline

Husband and wife duo, Bryan Mason and Jeanine Hays, are the creators of the wildly successful brand and website, AphroChic. By masterfully infusing their love of history and culture into their design projects, the two bring a fresh and innovative perspective to the design community. AphroChic has been featured in Elle Decor, The New York Times, House Beautiful and Better Homes and Gardens. They have partnered and produced content for HGTV, Refinery 29 and Apartment Therapy. The couple has also tapped into the retail space, with a line of home and decor products that feature intricate patterns and eclectic color palettes that represent their life experiences and international travels. Read on to find out more about this couple who forged a path to create a design aesthetic all their own.

When did you realize that you had a gift for interior design?

Jeanine: My first interior design project was at age six. It’s the first time that I was given the option to decorate my bedroom. My mother let me pick out the paint and the textiles for my space. My choice was a pink paint color and some Strawberry Shortcake fabric that she made into curtains. It was the first time that I understood that you could make a space represent what you loved. The whole experience was very empowering.

Where did you grow up? Did the environment influence your love of design?

Bryan: We are both from Pennsylvania. I am from the Olney area of Philadelphia. Jeanine is from a small town an hour north of the city called Harleysville. I think that being from Pennsylvania, it helped to influence our love of history and story-telling that is key to our design aesthetic. When you’re walking around a city that was America’s first metropolitan area, where you can literally just walk into where the Declaration of Independence was signed, or visit the church where the great abolitionist leader, Richard Allen spoke, history is part of your daily life. It’s part of our DNA, and influences our love of historical furnishings and textiles, cultural pieces, and our desire to translate them into modern interiors.

In your travels, which destination has inspired you the most?

Bryan: We’ve traveled to a few different countries, and with each comes a new experience. I don’t know if we’d choose just one destination. If anything, it’s just going to a new country or seeing a new city that is most inspiring. As designers, it’s important to visit different places and explore. It’s how you expand your concepts and add to your aesthetic. In Bologna, it was learning about tile, something they have been making there for centuries. To see a process that’s still alive and driven by what people did hundreds of years ago is inspirational. In Frankfurt, we were inspired by the coffee. It’s rich and hearty and like nothing we’ve experience here in the US. Paris, it was the experience of just walking through a city where the architecture is so beautiful. The museums are so so beautiful. The people are so diverse. It’s hard not to fall in love with it every time you visit. We were married in Negril in Jamaica, and we still talk about the colors of the sunset there. Every destination becomes an inspiration and there are parts of that travel experience that become apart of our design aesthetic.

If you had to decorate a living room with only 5 items, what would they be?

Jeanine: 1) A vintage rug. They can be the base for so much color and character in a space. Whether from Iran, Turkey, Morocco or India, you can never go wrong with a piece that has been woven by hand. 2) A painting. It could be something discovered in a gallery, or a piece discovered on the street. If you’re in Brooklyn or up in Harlem at a flea market, you can find the most amazing pieces of art. 3) Paint. Color on the wall is life. White boxes feel so sterile, but once you bring color into a space it feels alive. A blushing pink, a pale purple, a dark, moody blue. Playing with color can be so much fun in an interior. 4) A chandelier. You can honestly never go wrong with a stunning piece of lighting. 5) A sofa. If you only have 5 pieces, a place to sit is a necessity. I would look into something modular that can be reoriented from a large sofa to a chaise, and maybe even lounge chairs, depending on how you’re entertaining.

How did you come up with the colors for your paint collection, Brooklyn In Color?

Brian: The color palette was inspired by Brooklyn architecture and icons. We worked with Colorhouse to develop twenty full-spectrum hues. From dark, moody blues like our Basquiat Blue, to pale shades, like our Coney Island Pink, each paint color has a smokey gray undertone to it, creating depth and allowing it to change with the light throughout the day. We wanted to create colors that are very tactile, that are deep and that people literally want to dive into. It’s shades like these that truly highlight the architecture of a home, and we’re happy to have been able to create such a dynamic palette. Not only is our paint available in several finishes, but our darker hues are also available as chalkboard paint.

What advice would you give to aspiring interior designers trying to find their own design aesthetic?
Jeanine: You have to be vigilant in being your authentic self and in trusting your aesthetic. What will make you a good designer is what will make you good at anything in life – knowing yourself, trusting yourself, and having something new to offer. The best designers know the rules of interior design, and then they put their own spin on it. We all look at the world through our own lens, and as interior designers, we’re sharing that lens with our clients and we’re using it to help them create spaces that tell their story. For us, it’s the maxim of “modern, soulful, style” that guides everything that we do. It’s who we are. That blend of modern design and culture is what excites us and gets our creativity flowing. When you find that maxim that defines your aesthetic, that guides what you bring to every project, you’ll always be excited to bring it life in a new way with each and every space that you design.

You can check out their fabulous blog and purchase AphroChic’s amazing home and decor collection here + follow them on Instagram!

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In Lifestyle on
July 3, 2017

Christina Tegbe of 54 Thrones

Christina Tegbe, founder of organic bath and body line, 54 Thrones, combined her rich African heritage and love of beauty to create the brand we see today. As an avid traveler, she treks across Africa’s gorgeous terrain, sourcing the finest ingredients and building relationships with local artisans. Through 54 Thrones, Christina empowers African communities to provide income for their families, boosting the local economy. Learn more about Christina Tegbe and how 54 Thrones was realized in her interview below.

Where did you get the idea for 54 Thrones?

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and it really forced my family and I to take a look at the things we consumed and the products we were using. I had always used these small tubs of raw Shea Butter that my aunts in Nigeria would give me whenever I would visit. During my mom’s radiation treatment they sent over more Shea Butter to help soothe her skin and to help fade her surgery scars. And it worked, my mother has very little scars now. This made me think. I wanted to create something that merged the things I was passionate about: Africa, travel and beauty. I wanted to share these pure, chemical free African beauty secrets that my family has used forever with everyone. So 54 Thrones was born to bring sustainably made African botanical products to all.

Do you have a process you go through when creating new products?

Yes, the process is the most exciting part and what helps set us apart as a company. It’s exciting because we travel first-hand to meet our supplier partners which allows us to show the Africa we know; the beautiful and talented people, the rich history and culture as well as the  magnificent buildings and structures.

I also weave African travel into our brand by making it a point to be 100% hands on and involved with sourcing. We could have chosen to order our ingredients from a middle-man company in the states, but instead we go to the source first-hand. In doing so, our artisan partners get the best prices for their hard work and are able to play a larger role in their communities. By personally traveling to each African country our products come from, it also allows me to build a personal relationship with our artisans and cooperative partners. I’m able to learn the process of how our products are made, ensuring the best quality and learning the history behind these beauty staples and the people who make them to sustain their families and communities. It’s a beautiful thing and the most important part of our brand.

What books are you reading and what books would you recommend to young entrepreneurs?

I love to read, every chance I get I am reading. I usually read several books at once.

Currently I’m reading:

Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Seconds by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Lion Awakes by Ashish Thakkar

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire

For young entrepreneurs:

Poke the Box by Seth Godin

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Screw It, Let’s Do It by Richard Brandon

Do you think traveling is important? Why?

Yes, traveling is very important. It allows you to explore a different type of happiness by being in the unfamiliar, stepping out of your comfort zone and saying yes to new experiences and growth. Opening yourself and really being all the way there wherever you travel to is important too, sometimes you have to put down your phone, log off Instagram and fully appreciate your current environment in its entirety.

5. What’s the best advice you’ve been given?

I was told to “Be visionary. Think long term. Thing big. Be flexible.” If you fully commit to these four principles and add in hard work, there’s no way you can’t be successful.


You can connect with Christina on her website, 54 Thrones and check out her stunning photos on Instagram.

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In Lifestyle on
June 14, 2017

Kelley Barnes of The Style Barn

Kelley Barnes is a well known fashion blogger whose style speaks for itself. Strikingly gorgeous, Kelley dons the latest trends on her website, The Style Barn. On her blog, she chats it up with emerging designers, provides style tips and tricks and gives us a glimpse of her personal style.
With high fashion sensibilities that are distinctly set apart, Kelley mixes prints, colors, textures and shapes with ease. In her interview below, we get the deets on what trends she’s loving and what to wear when you’re pressed for time! Get inspired!

1. Were there signs that fashion would be apart of your future when you were younger?
Indeed. My mom dressed me to the nine’s; my hair and ensembles were always super cute. I’m thankful she had a sense of style!

2. If you only had 5 minutes to get dressed for a party, what would you wear?
A flirty dress with strappy heels.

3. What’s the one accessory you can’t live without?
I absolutely cannot live without earrings.

4. What trends are you loving this season?
I love the shirting trend; I feel like shirting will be trending for awhile. The embellished sandal is a fave, too. Del Pozo, Miu Miu, Gucci, and Zara have perfected said trend. Speaking of Miu Miu, I’m the proud of owner of their popular pearl-encrusted slides. They’re fun, and I always receive a ton of compliments when wearing them.

5. The 2017 Pantone Color of the Year is Greenery. Is this a color you would wear or like more in your home decor?
Of course! I actually own a really chic, green swimsuit with a ruffled top. I also have a dainty pair of (mostly) green sandals.

6. What advice would you give to aspiring fashion bloggers?
Be yourself. Don’t strive to be like other bloggers, do you. Find your voice and run with it.
You can follow Kelley on her blog, The Style Barn or on Instagram.

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