Dayka Robinson is a woman of many talents. Designer, blogger, thrift store fanatic and philanthropist, she’s someone who has figured out how to use her natural gifts and talents not only to make a living, but to pay it forward and help others in the process, too. It’s with great pleasure that we introduce Dayka as this week’s FACE of Atlanta!
Tell us about your path to opening your own design firm, Dayka Robinson Designs?
It’s been very organic for me. I really became interested in interior design when I purchased my first home in 2006 and knew I wanted a fixer-upper. As a part of the process, I devoured every shelter magazine I could get my hands on and stumbled on a few great design blogs late one night. I thought, “If I love this so much, I need to find a way to do this full-time,” and I did! I started my own blog, Meditations on Life & Style (now DRD blog) in 2006 and from that, business has taken off and I’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible opportunities come my way as well. The road seemed so disjointed in midst of everything (and sometimes still seems that way!) but when I look back, it all makes perfect sense. I love how life works like that.
How would you describe your sense of style?
Modern Vintage. As a blogger and designer, one of the things I’m known for is scouring the best second-hand stores to find some incredible vintage pieces and then re-imagining them in creative ways, be it via reupholstering, lacquering, or using the piece in a way that’s different from its intended use. I love MidCentury Modern, Hollywood Regency, 1970’s glam, and even some of the stuff from the 1980’s, and I have a pretty good eye for being able to see what a discarded piece of furniture will look like once given a bit of love. I love bold patterns and graphic prints. Bringing all of these elements together is my greatest joy!
You helped create an amazing organization, Room Service Atlanta, that designs and creates meaningful spaces for those in need. Tell us a little bit more about the organization.
Room Service Atlanta is a non-profit that I founded in 2011 with Erika Ward, a fellow Atlanta-based interior designer. Together, we organize local interior designers to redesign shelters in the Metropolitan Atlanta area and focus on residential facilities that service individuals and families in transition. Each participating designer selects their preferred space and then uses their resources to bring their design to life. We’re blessed to have several amazing vendors who partner with us every year, including Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Atlanta, our Premier Sponsor. This year alone, they donated over $30,000 of beautiful furniture, case pieces and accessories to our cause in addition to hosting our annual wrap party. We couldn’t be more grateful for MGBW Atlanta and all of our vendors who’ve helped us make Room Service Atlanta a smashing success.
Can you describe how having a beautifully designed space lifts the spirits of those you are helping?
The feedback we get about the work we do through RSA is phenomenal. One of the things we fundamentally believe is that everyone deserves a well-designed place to live in. We know how powerful it is to have a private space to relax and decompress after a hard day … a place that is reflective of who you are and lifts your spirits. It’s nice to be able to run into residents who ask, “Why are you doing this if you’re not getting paid anything?” and to be able to respond with, “Because you’re important and you matter.” That’s always the message we want to leave for our residents.
What is your favorite room in your own home?
My dining room, hands down. It’s not totally complete but I found an incredible black and gold geometric wallpaper that I used as the starting point and it is 100% me. Sometimes I like to go in there and just run my hand across the wall–I’m still excited about it 10 months later! I also love that everything in the room is a mix of who I am and reflective of what I believe about interior design.
What did your bedroom look like when you were a teenage girl?
It was a tiny little box and forgettable except for 2 great facts: I had a patio with an exterior entrance off of my room (not too many teens can say that!) and my friends and I used to make these really cool story/picture collages to commemorate our special moments. I had those posters pinned up ALL over the walls. When I think about that room I remember about how much fun I had in high school and the great friendships I made. It was a tiny little matchbox, but it was a happy space.
What are your favorite spots in Atlanta for thrifting and antiquing?
Scott’s Antique Market, Scarlett Loves Rhettro, Kudzu, Antiques & Beyond, plus any random thrift stores I stumble across (Goodwill, Value Village, etc.). The random places are usually where I find the best stuff!
If you weren’t an interior designer, what would you secretly love to do?
Be a prosecutor or criminal defense attorney. I think I must have been one in my former life–I’m obsessed with that kind of thing.
Where do you turn for inspiration?
Shelter magazines (House & Home, House Beautiful and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles), Instagram, and street fashion. I love following picture-based social media apps; I’m constantly getting inspired.
What are your go-to paint colors that never go out of style?
For colors that never go out of style, I say stick with the basics–black, white and grey–you’ll never go wrong! My favorite brand of paint is Sherwin Williams and my tried are true colors are:
- Origami White (SW 7636)
- Tricorn Black (SW 6258)
- Snowbound (SW 7004)
- Mindful Grey (SW 7016)
What are a few of your favorite things about living in Atlanta?
I came here in 1997 to attend Spelman College and I’ve loved it ever since! I love that Atlanta has this slower-paced Southern thing going on, yet it still gives me access to the benefits of living in a metropolis. Stone Mountain Park is one of my favorite places to relax, the Biscuit & Sausage Gravy at Rosebud in Virginia Highlands is to die for, and the fact that Atlanta has a pretty stellar music scene makes for great entertainment.
What do you like to do on a Saturday night?
I’m newly single so I’m enjoying going out! I’ve met some great new people this year so I like to entertain my closest friends at my house or hit a few restaurants, lounges, or bars with my friends and “see what we see,” as my grandma likes to say. I’m really loving my life right now.
What are you reading right now?
My nightstand is always piled with books! I have a Science of Mind meditation magazine that I read every morning and evening to stay centered, and I just finished Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life From Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed, which I LOVED. I’m now simultaneously working on Comeback Love (Peter Golden) and Your Best Life Now (Joel Osteen).
What are three things you cannot live without (excluding God, family, and friends):
- Vitamix blender. I eat Paleo (minus the biscuits mentioned above!) and eat/drink a ton of juices, smoothies and soups. This is the mother of all blenders.
- iPhone 5. I still don’t understand why anyone would buy anything else! This phone has singlehandedly revolutionized my life and business.
- Thrifting. I live for the score! Between the furniture and clothing finds, I have to admit that I’m an excellent shopper. I’d quite possibly die if I couldn’t hit another thrift store.
Thank you, Dayka! And thank you Amy Lesesne for today’s beautiful photos! Follow Dayka here: www.daykarobinsondesignsblog.com.