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In Conversation with Darryl Carter

Darryl Carter

Darryl Carter has progressively become a renowned design influence. His work is routinely featured in major shelter publications. Likewise, he is highly active on the lecture circuit and he has appeared on a variety of television networks.

This has not gone unnoticed by the industry, as he continues to make his designs more accessible through a series of branding relationships throughout the home category. This past fall saw the publication of his first book, The New Traditional (Clarkson Potter) and the launch of Darryl Carter for Thomasville(www.thomasville.com/darrylcarter/), his new comprehensive full home collection with Thomasville Furniture, distinguished by the sensibility of having been collected over time and true to the design aesthetic that he has become known for.


Darryl also has a stunning lighting collection with The Urban Electric Company www.urbanelectricco.com, and this spring Frontgate www.frontgate.com will debut his first outdoor collection.

Carter specializes in calming environments with subtle colour palettes in which textures play off of one another and striking furniture layouts create one of a kind spaces. His mantra is that no two environments should be alike, just as no two individuals are alike. While keeping that in mind his environments exemplify the “New Traditional”, incorporating clean design through the use of antiques and unique pieces that give his spaces a sense of grace and comfort. Simple moldings and architectural details painted out in chalky off-whites create a crisp envelope respectful of the architecture and furniture pieces. Spaces are distinguished by personal effects such as antique books, art and artifacts which evoke memories of days past. Patina is shown with pride. Intricate patterns such as herringbone or marquetry with borders are created with tile work alongside a delicately arabesque-shaped railing with a contrasting stain. Ambient lighting is sensitive to the mood of a room and window treatments are the simplest wooden shutters or linen drapery. The goal is that each environment is welcoming, graceful, timeless and foremost reflective of the individual.

Please read on to learn more about Darryl Carter and his work…

Iván Meade – What was your first experience with design?

Darryl Carter – I think I have always had a penchant for the aesthetic arts. My mother seems to have a memory of me moving furniture around my small childhood bedroom at age 6.

Interior by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – Who or what has influenced your style?

Darryl Carter – I have a very dear friend who is presently an antiques dealer in New York. We go way back. Her mother was very forward in her design. When others were doing circular sofas and shag carpet, she had the most austere 19th century farmhouse with no embellishments, simple American furniture, Pre-Colombian artifacts and the moodiest portraiture, all simply placed. These spaces continue to speak to me.

Interior by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What was the career change like from lawyer to designer?

Darryl Carter – The career change was freeing and perhaps immanent. But for serendipity, it may not have happened. It’s a complicated tale, but the short version is that I was a weekend warrior and on the side I was exercising my passion by re-doing and flipping real estate. One of the properties I lived in landed on the cover of Metropolitan Home and I received a number of phone calls requesting private commissions. And so, the career change had begun.

Interior by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What designers of past and present do you admire most?

Darryl Carter – Thomas Jefferson, as architect; Jorn Utzon, his biography and work; Van Day Truex, as a visionary; Bill Blass, for his Connecticut Home and so many others.

Interior by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What do you consider to be your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?

Darryl Carter – One in the same: my passion for what I do.

Interior by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What do you look for in a furniture piece, alternatively what do you consider as being important factors when designing a furniture piece ?

Darryl Carter – Purity, grace of line and multi-function.

Fold Round Dining Table – Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – Are there any design rules that you think were meant to be broken?

Darryl Carter – All rules are meant to be broken. This is evolution.

Porter Lounge Chair – Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What has been your greatest collaboration?

Darryl Carter – I cannot speak to this; I am bound to step on several toes. I have had many.

Interiors by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What books are currently on your bedside or coffee table?

Darryl Carter – Avoid Boring People by James D Watson; The Last Campaign, Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days that Inspired America, by Thurston Clarke; Original Story, by Arthur Laurents and Audels Carpenters and Builders Guides #1 – #4, by Frank D. Graham – Chief and Thomas J. Emery – Associate.

Interiors by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What are you excited about right now in the world of design?

Darryl Carter – I am seeing a more liberated risk-taking consumer that is in search of self-expression in the home, rather than manufactured environments that are formulaic.

Interiors by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What would be your dream project?

Darryl Carter – I am working on my dream project. The renovation of my new office in a pre-civil war building in a very vibrant, emergent part of the District of Columbia.

Interiors by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What project has given you the most satisfaction?

Darryl Carter – My residence which will never be complete, it is my laboratory.

Interiors by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – What is your next design venture?

Darryl Carter – I am working on multiple home license deals and a television show.

Interiors by Darryl Carter

Iván Meade – Lastly, you have already created a stunning body of work with many mediums and styles. What would you like your legacy to be?

Darryl Carter – A respect and appreciation for the simple.

Please feel free to explore more of Darryl Carter’s work on his website: