From a 26-year-old woodworking craftswoman to the most tasteful, talented twins you’ll ever meet, these are the Black designers you should know about. With signature styles spanning the decades – from reimaged antique treasures to midcentury-modern gems crafted just yesterday – there’s something for everyone in this list.
Oh, and the best part? Every designer on this list is Canadian.
Daej Hamilton of Daej Designs
At only 22 years old, this young woodworker founded her brand – Daej Designs. Now, in her 11th year of woodworking and 4th year of being in business, Daej Hamilton’s portfolio spans from sleek furniture to artful décor to earthy kitchenware. Daej’s work serves both form and function, treading the line between beauty and utility. Inspired by the clean lines and return to nature seen in midcentury-modern style, her pieces – though contemporary – harken back to the past. And because each bespoke item is painstakingly handcrafted from stunning woods, Daej’s work is the pinnacle of sustainable design, crafted to last centuries as heirloom pieces.
Roxanne Brathwaite of Hollis Newton
Her Instagram bio describes herself as a “Re-imagineer,” and we can’t think of a better word to describe Roxanne Brathwaite. The dynamic founder behind family-run Toronto business Hollis Newton, Roxanne and her crew breathe brand new life into antique furniture. Having apprenticed under master upholsterer Berkley Peazer – now, a member of the Hollis Newton team – Roxanne developed her own upholstery and restoration skills. This, combined with her Fine Arts degree and an entrepreneurial spirit, grew into a small but mighty team of craftspeople reimagining vintage items and updating them into one-of-a-kind pieces.
Brenda Danso of BD Interior Design
You may know her from CTV’s Cityline. Designer Brenda Danso, originally a Cali native, brought her talents to Toronto where she founded BD Interior Design. The firm spans everything from home staging to residential design to commercial design. Here, she focuses on combining her education in mental health with interior design. The goal? To craft spaces that aren’t simply pretty, but that also soothe, bring joy and are just as functional as they are fashionable. A big fan of natural elements, Brenda’s portfolio is rife with flashes of leather, cane, mixed metals and various shades of wood. Brilliantly mixing these in with a palette of neutrals, she crafts stunning, calming spaces that anybody can feel good in.
Byron and Dexter Peart of GOODEE
When it comes to dynamic duos, it doesn’t get much better than these brilliant brothers. Fans of cult brand Want Les Essentials, purveyor of high-end accessories, will already be familiar with designers Byron and Dexter Peart, the previous co-founders. But more Canadians need to know about the twins’ world-changing latest venture: GOODEE. In 2019, Byron and Dexter launched this Bcorp-certified online marketplace as a hub for brands creating sustainable solutions to modern life. With their trained and highly tasteful eye(s), Byron and Dexter have curated a catalogue of artisans and brands that make positive impact socially or environmentally.
Crea Henry of Hampton Rowe
This Canadian creative is a force to be reckoned with. Founder and Principal Designer of interior design firm Hampton Rowe, Crea Henry describes her style as “laidback luxury.” What does this mean in practice? Well, for Crea, this boils down to your everyday space feeling as effortlessly luxurious as a spa or a resort. While this may seem impossible to the layperson, this is where Hampton Rowe steps in. Crea’s firm specializes in intelligent design that considers the holistic flow of a space. According to this firm, a piece of furniture must be both beautiful and usable. Ergonomics and accessibility are of utmost priority. Every detail, from materials to lines of sight to linens, is taken into consideration by Crea and her team. The result? An effortlessly chic space that doesn’t compromise on comfort.