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African American Decor Spotlight: Denys Davis, The Spirit of African Design

African American Decor Spotlight: Denys Davis, The Spirit of African Design

a�?AfroChica�? – the style of connecting black America with the spirit of Africa. A�A�This style was not only reflective in fashion, but was very much inclusive in home dA�cor. A�A�In many homes of Black America, this unique and cultural dA�cor created an ethnic style that bonded ancestry to the present. A�Capturing that essence and visually presenting the creative and artistic dimensions of the Afro-vibe in home dA�cor, Denys Davis, co-author of the book a�?The Spirit of African Designa�? did just that!

The purpose of the book was to showcase homes that featured an Afro vibe, unlike a traditional home decorating book. A�Across the diaspora, an infusion of African art, fabrics, and other home dA�cor pieces were being displayed, exhibited, adorned and treasured.

As a child, Denysa�� parents, maternal grandmother, and many aunts and uncles shared experiences and stories about their trips to the African continent. Fortunately, for her they never failed in bringing her an interesting trinket from their travels. A�Birthday presents always included artwork, visits to New York museums and gallery openings, Broadway plays, and African art books.

As college student, Denys focused on the arts. A�After graduating, she was among the first five people hired by Ikea Company as a designer for their first United States store. A�In that position, she traveled to Scandinavia, Europe and many other places. a�?I loved my time there, but I wanted to explore my African roots through design,a�? said Denys. A�After leaving Ikea, she traveled to West Africa and upon her return to the states, she found her niche in interior design and co-authored her first book.




After a lengthy book tour, she took a few years off to regroup. a�?I toyed with the idea of owning a home and design store, but the cost of real estate and rent seemed out of reacha�? says Denys.



Instead she embarked on another avenue to satisfy her design spirit. A�She began scouring thrift stores and used furniture stores to seek out a�?good bonesa�� furniture pieces and began her redesigned vintage furniture business.

She also incorporated a line of African tote bags in her a�?DesignZuria�? brand. A�


DesignZuri is the name of her boutique. A�ZuriA�is the Swahili word for a�?beautifula�? Designzuri celebrates the extraordinary, creative wealth and global influence of African design. a�?Through the exploration and reinterpretation of diverse cultural influences, we bring a fresh approach to African design. I hope you will enjoy our products and visit often.a�? Denys Davis.

Welcome Home to a�?The Spirit of Africaa�?.


One of her most pivotal moments is when she co-curated an installation at The Colored Girls Museum located in Philadelphia, PA. A�She and her friend, Monna Morton, a graphics artist, created the washerwoman room. A�The room pays homage to domestic workers post slavery. A�The memoir museum honors the stories, experiences and history of Colored Girls. A�

You can view her a�?Artist Speaksa�? video about creating the room hereA� and learn more about the museum by visiting their website.


Denysa�� love for design and art runs in her genes as she has a host of family members who inspire her and mentor her. A�From her uncle William H Brown and cousin William H Brown II who are prominent architects to her aunt and uncle, Barbara and George Carter, both who were accomplished NYC artists is adequate inspiration to nurture her creativity. A�Even though Ikeaa��s African line didna��t last long, it didna��t stop her from exploring all she could and bring African design to the forefront for home dA�cor. A�A�A�Whata��s next in her spirit a�� wea��ll have to wait and see. A�But you can keep up with her on Instagram at DesignZuri




Jamala Wallace

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