Alima Deneke’s spaces are a breath of fresh air as she combines a sleek modernity with an eclectic, curated touch. Her designs dance on the edge of minimalism with an inviting, bohemian feel. We are delighted to introduce our latest interior designer crush, Alima of Alima Deneke Interior Design. We asked her to describe her design aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of her stunning portfolio. We hope you enjoy!
What is your design aesthetic, and how does it set you apart?
My aesthetic is definitely modern but with a bohemian influence. I love clean lines and a more minimalist approach, but adding in the warm, organic, bohemian components keeps it from feeling cold and sterile. I take a lot of cues from the “California eclectic” and Scandinavian styles, which are both very different from the more traditional design that permeates the South. I think that sets me apart.
Tell us a bit about your background and experience in design.
I grew up with a mother who is amazingly talented and so creative. She really missed her calling to be a designer. From a young age, I loved creating a beautiful space, and I constantly wanted to redecorate my room. She never said no. She was totally on board and taught me how to do everything from wallpapering and picking paint colors to shopping for antiques, refinishing furniture and even sewing.
Despite my passion, interior design wasn’t really on my radar as a real career for some reason. Looking back I really wish I would have gone to school for design, but I graduated with a degree in finance and kept pursuing my passion for design through my own home and my friends’ homes. Over the years, more and more friends asked for help, and the projects became larger and more involved. I made Alima Deneke Interior Design official in January of 2017.
Are there any trends you’re loving at the moment, and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?
I love that mid-century homes are making a comeback. They have such beautiful architecture, and it makes me sad when all the charm has been removed and replaced with bad ’90s and early 2000s home trends. But people are starting to buy these homes and restore them back to their original mid-century glory! It hasn’t hit the South quite as much as out west, but it’s definitely starting to happen here, and I am so excited to see it!
To me, vintage pieces are timeless. I love to incorporate something vintage into all of my designs. Vintage rugs are probably my favorite pieces to source.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why? How did it help you grow as a designer?
Indecisive clients can be very challenging, and I have to say that I was my own worst client when we renovated our home last year. I think most designers would agree that we are very good at making decisions for others, but not so good for ourselves.
I spent a lot of time at my house during the construction phase and probably drove my contractor crazy with all my questions, but I learned so much that has been invaluable on other projects since.
What brings you the most professional joy?
There is nothing better than a happy client who is thrilled with the transformation of their space. Everyone wants to enjoy and be proud of their home, and when you can help someone achieve that, it is the best!
Do you have a favorite space in the home to design?
I love bathrooms! It’s a smaller space but can pack so much punch! Tile is one of my favorite hard finishes to source, and the options are limitless now. You can get really creative, and it’s so much fun. Choosing plumbing fixtures and mirrors and cabinet hardware is like choosing jewelry to accent an outfit. So many pretty options — I feel like a kid getting to play dress up!
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
I have several, but I think my kitchen is number one. It came together exactly as I envisioned it. I really wanted black cabinets, and everyone, including my cabinet maker, thought I was crazy. I’m glad I ignored them because I love my black cabinets!
Where do you get your inspiration?
My biggest inspiration lately has been Australian designers and furniture makers. They’re doing it right down there! Their beautiful, minimalistic Scandinavian style is just so clean and simple but warm at the same time.
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Where do you take chances in design?
Part of my job as a designer is to push clients out of their comfort zones a little and specify things they might not normally choose on their own. It’s definitely risky because you never want to push a client into a design they don’t like. But I’ve found that the best outcomes usually happen when a client trusts my vision enough to take a chance on a bold accent wall or cabinet color or playful tile. Usually, that choice that scared them a little ends up being their favorite part of the design!
Who have been your industry mentors and role models and how have they inspired you?
I mentioned my mom — she was definitely my first mentor. I’ve also been following Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors and Shea McGee of Studio McGee from early on in their careers, and I am constantly inspired by their design talent and what smart business women they are.
If you could choose one designer to redo your home right now, who would it be?
Amber Lewis of Amber Interiors, without hesitation. She is the queen of textiles and she layers them better than anyone!
Share one designer secret with us regular folk.
Embrace white space. Every inch of every wall and corner doesn’t have to have something. Your eye needs a place to rest. Too many things going on or too many pieces crammed in one space can take away from the design.
What three home decor items can you not live without?
Rugs for sure — I’m a little bit of a vintage rug hoarder. Plants — I probably have 25 houseplants. And coffee table books — another addiction of mine.
Hypothetical: You have to choose only three colors to use throughout your home. What are the three colors?
White, black and wood — do those count?
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
‘Clean, modern, layered, organic, eclectic’ or ‘Create a space you love.’
Thank you, Alima, for sharing your insights, inspirations and impressively diverse design portfolio. To learn more about Alima Deneke Interior Design or to contact Alima, visit adidstudio.com.
See who else we’re crushing on in our interior design archives. Click here and enjoy a look around!