The restrained beauty of Darryl Carter

Designer Darryl Carter needs no introduction in our opinion, as he’s been one of our long time favourites. But for those of you who aren’t familiar with him, let’s chat about his work and his philosophies on design.

Always practicing a pared down approach, Darryl has always said that “knowing when to stop” is the key lesson he’s learned in design.  His interiors are sophisticated, peaceful, and imperfectly balanced with modern and vintage pieces.  He’s authored two books, The New Traditional, and The Collected Home.  Both are filled with stunning photos of his pre-Civil War Washington DC carriage house that was fully restored to a boutique store where you can find antiques, artisans that Darryl has hand selected, and pieces he has picked up from his travels.  

Drawn to sparse spaces, Darryl would rather see a room with a few great pieces that are very meaningful than one that is filled with decorative objects bought to fill the space.  He uses furnishings in different ways, such as upholstering fabrics with graphic patterns on the reverse side, so the pattern is subtle and less graphic and doesn’t overwhelm the space.  He likes to use antique rugs on the reverse side as well because it implies they have been walked on.

Darryl is a master at creating that edgy contrast- placing modern, clean lined pieces next to an antique with detailed carvings.  He loves the tension created between the two styles and different periods together to create a whole new “vocabulary” as he refers to it.

Curating antiques is a passion for Darryl, and he chooses pieces that speak to him, things that have a timeworn appeal, rich beautiful texture and are imperfect. It’s the simple beauty in even the smallest of objects that he likes to use in designing a room to create something of visual interest, without appearing visually cluttered.

Darryl, a former lawyer says “ A space doesn’t have to come together all at once, and not everything has to have provenance.”  A good piece of advice to remember in today’s world of instant home makeovers.  Taking our time and curating pieces slowly as the room unfolds can lead to a more thoughtful and intentional design.

With partnerships with Benjamin Moore, Urban Electric and Baker Furniture, Darryl’s aesthetic is obviously one that is well sought out.  Visit his website at or check out his Instagram @darrylcarterdesign, to see more of his amazing work.