My recreation became my job and that redefined my recreation. – Darryl Carter
The interior design industry found Darryl Carter and boy are we glad that it did! While still practicing law, Darryl took on house flipping as a way to put his creative side to use. When one of his properties landed on the cover of Metropolitan Home Magazine, Darryl was immediately catapulted into a new career.
As with everything he does, Darryl handled the transition beautifully. Since that magazine cover feature, Darryl has established himself as one the greatest designers in the world. Along with a stunning portfolio, Darryl is consistently featured on the AD 100 list, has written several books, opened a boutique in Washington D.C. and has designed furniture and accessories collections for several companies. Most recently, Darryl designed the Milling Road furniture collection for Baker Furniture.
Now, I push the envelope with much more confidence. – Darryl Carter
Known for effortlessly juxtaposing design elements that typically wouldn’t be seen together, Darryl loves being surrounded by people from all walks of life. “If you surround yourself with yourself, then you can’t learn,” he affirms.
When Darryl and I finally connected on the phone, he was everything I expected him to be and more. Charming, eloquent, thought provoking, humorous and profound are just some of the qualities I ascertained during our lengthy conversation.
Thank you Mr. Carter for allowing Tastefully Inspired to learn more about you and your beautiful design work.
Karina Jones: You’ve been asked to describe your style many times in the past. If you had to condense that description into three words, what would those three words be?
Darryl Carter: Lasting – Restrained – Curated
Karina Jones: How has your design aesthetic evolved over time?
Darryl Carter: I’ve always been prone to juxtaposition – modern opposite antique – bold opposite quiet … Over the course of time I find myself polarizing these with far greater deftness.
Karina Jones: How did your previous career as an attorney make you a better designer today?
Darryl Carter: This profession requires a tremendous amount of discipline and information management, not to mention the ever-declining art of conversation and dialogue – be that with a client, vendor or tradesperson. My education as an attorney enhanced my ability to articulate an idea to fruition … Wordsmithing is a lost art, and communication is not far behind. I remain an advocate of both.
Karina Jones: Where do you find (or seek) inspiration?
Darryl Carter: In therapy
Karina Jones: Your ability to curate a space is impeccable. How long have you envisioned a space before it actually becomes a reality?
Darryl Carter: I envision very quickly, and luckily I am surrounded by a team which makes the vision a come to life.
Karina Jones: Since your rooms are so curated and collected, how do you decide when a space is complete?
Darryl Carter: I am a fan of white space, and I am prone to placing few highly relevant objects in a room. This shared, the vocabulary of the room dictates, but by all means I do not believe that every wall is an opportunity on which to place something.
Karina Jones: What sets the Milling Road collection for Baker apart from some of your previous collections?
Darryl Carter: This collection has more modern elements, and is more art-driven. It is definitely distinguished by the use of mixed mediums. One good example is the Round Fold Dining Table, which features a very thin geometrically folded metal base with a whitewashed mahogany pie veneered top.
Karina Jones: I honestly love all of the pieces in your Milling Road collection but for some reason the Meyer sofa stood out to me because it feels like I’ve seen it before but I actually haven’t. Do you have a favorite piece in the collection and why?
Darryl Carter: I appreciate that you noticed that piece, as it speaks of the entire collection. Even the most innocuous forms have a geometric tilt. One of the things that I am very conscious of in my work is how rooms relate to one-another, and so the back of a sofa’s silhouette is as consequential as its comfort.
Karina Jones: I am fascinated by horses and have noticed that horses are featured in many of your spaces. In fact, one of your most prized possessions is a horse sculpture. How did your affinity for horses originate? (Or is there a story behind your love for horses?)
Darryl Carter: Very funny you should ask this question. The last time I was in Mexico City I visited the home/museum of Luis Barragan. As I walked the property with extraordinary fascination I noticed that there were books and small sculptures that were rather omnipresent throughout – so many of which were referential to horses. I asked the guide what Barragan’s fascination with horses was. I was told that thousands of people had passed through the space, but not one had ever asked that question. Horses were very prevalent in my past, and I have a tremendous affinity for them. The sculpture that you are referencing in my Washington DC foyer, and featured in my book The Collected Home, is a life scaled infrastructure of a bronze mold by the sculptor Paul Wayland Bartlett whose works proliferate the traffic circles of DC – and parks around the US and world …. This is my prized possession, and is highly historically relevant.
Karina Jones: You’ve been doing this for a long time, what’s one thing you’ve found to be true of every client you’ve worked with?
Darryl Carter: True – I have been doing this for quite some time … I think my clients tend to be highly self selecting in that they are uniformly very much engaged in the making of the home. I am fortunate to have had a number of extraordinary collaborations that have evolved into lasting friendships.