Introducing our new Designer Spotlight series, where we meet inspirational designers in our industry and share some of their great work. First up is the fabulous Tamela Bowie of Tamela Bowie Interiors. We first got exposed to Tamela’s work about a year ago thanks to instagram (find her at @tamelabowieinteriors) and we’ve been following her journey ever since! With our new spotlight series, we thought she would be the perfect candidate to interview while also teaching us about the black designer community. Tamela’s passion for design goes back to 1999, and it’s only blossomed since. Read our interview with this talented gal below and check out some of her amazing work at
How did you get started with interior design? Were you always interested in design?  

I got started in interior design in 1999.  I always had an eye for design and decorating and used my home and the homes of family members as my canvas to curate my design skills.  My love for design and beautiful spaces goes back to my teenage years when I would rearrange the furniture in my bedroom at least once a week. I eventually ventured outside of my bedroom and decided to try my design skills by painting the guest bathroom at my grandparent’s home in a “midnight black” paint color. It did not bode well with my grandparents considering it was an exterior paint color and I painted the entire bathroom including the ceiling in black.

How would you define your design style? Do you have any signature features that you always try to include? (accent wall, pop of color, pattern, etc?) 

I would describe my design style as updated traditional with a splash of modern.  My signature features are mixing patterns, at least tearing down one wall in a space, sprinkled with a little DIY.

Where do you draw inspiration from when designing? Who or what influences your work?  

I draw my inspiration from how the homeowner lives in their home.  I take little cues on how they sit in a chair, how they move around their furniture, to the type of existing elements in their home.  What influences my overall design work are two things:  1. how to make their home work better for them, and  2. the home’s potential.

What’s your favorite thing about being an interior designer?  

My favorite thing about being an interior designer is being in an industry that nurtures and promotes creativity.

What’s a recent design trend you’re loving at the moment?  

The recent design trend I am loving at the moment are the vast selection of patterned tiles and how they are being used in design projects. 

Let’s talk about some of your projects, what is one of your favorite projects that you’ve worked on?  

One of my favorite projects is my Townsend Project.  My team and I transformed an outdated kitchen and family room space into a modern design style.  We did a complete transformation in the kitchen by painting the cabinets white, updated the knobs/pulls, added in a stainless steel vented hood and we remodeled the sink into a beautiful sink peninsula using Cambria’s Skara Brae quartz.  In the family room, we tore down the outdated fireplace and created a 18 foot tall fireplace with a custom design fireplace mantle.  In addition, we removed the traditional style two-story staircase and replaced it with a more modern style staircase.

What are some challenges you face in the industry?  

The one challenge I face in the design industry are the “opening orders” mandates of many showrooms and manufacturers.  This creates a challenge when designing a space because it may just be that one piece that is needed to complete a space, but because of the opening order mandates, it requires for the designer to purchase more product than is needed for the space.

How do you hope to make positive change in the design industry?  

My hope of making a positive change in the design industry is to mentor new designers, especially women of color, on how to have a successful design business. 

What piece of advice do you have for a future interior designer? 

My advice for future interior designers is to have a design mentor, know the business side of running an interior design business, treat it as a career and not a hobby, but most of all, have fun!

Thank you Tamela for giving us a little bit of insight into your career. We wish you the best of luck in all your upcoming projects and we look forward to working together!