Coffee With: Jamila Scarlett of Berlett Design Group

Maryland-based Berlett Design Group is known for classic, comfortable spaces. We spoke with principal designer Jamila Scarlett about foyers, white walls, and happy accidents.

Casaza: How did you get your start?
Jamila Scarlett:
Interesting story, my husband at the time told me I should go into interior design and that I had a good eye for it. I attended art school for design seeking a degree in Architecture however my modeling career picked up so I placed my passion on hold. A few months went by after he opened my eyes to the possibility and I asked a neighbor/friend of mine if she wanted to start a design business. Now more than eight years later I’m living in my truth, all things beautiful. She now focuses on designing furniture and I head up the interior design side.

C: How would you describe your style?
JS:
Clean, timeless, soft yet evolving.

C: Where do you get new ideas and inspiration?
JS:
My inspiration starts as soon as I open my eyes in the morning. I can be inspired from the way my bathrobe drapes on my door to the way the light reflects across the living room. Ideas are everywhere when your eyes are open to take them in.

Design by Berlett Design Group

C: Favorite room in the house?
JS:
My favorite room is the foyer. To me it’s important for a space to feel warm and inviting. I love the way an intentional design in the foyer creates that feeling the minute you walk into a home.

C: Design rule you don’t subscribe to?
JS: That white walls are a bore. I see white walls as a clean palette to layer with furniture and fabrics.  White walls create a crisp frame around ideas for a space.

C: Recent project that inspired you?
JS:
I recently designed a brick-and-mortar for a beauty and hair co-op which caters to women of color. It was a challenging space because of the age of the building, the floors were pebbled cement which I would normally stain or apply a floating flooring. This space inspired me to show off its natural beauty and all its rich intricacies.

C: Favorite pattern?
JS:
Hands down it has to be houndstooth. I was first introduced to this pattern watching Phylicia Rashad as a small child. Her character wore this pattern constantly. I was drawn to the simple and classic, soft but still masculine pattern, which I intend to use more in 2019.

Design by Berlett Design Group

C: What is “good design” to you?
JS:
I would describe a “good design” as a space that allows your eyes to dance around the room.

C: Pack your bag! You’re moving into a famous home. Whose is it?
JS:
Kelis’ home is ideal! Just the right amount of space and antiques. She has a great sense of style and color. It’s a Spanish style home with gorgeous archways, nooks and crannies.

JS: What’s your rule when entertaining?
JS: My three must-haves for entertaining: Fresh cut flowers, hors d’oeuvres and a signature seasonal cocktail is key. Everything else falls into place with those three must-haves.

C: Best advice for DIYers?
JS: “Happy accidents” can be a lovely thing.

C: Best advice for those hiring a pro?
JS: Definitely look for more than one quote and it should always be in writing.

C: What is one design trend are you most excited about this season?
JS: I love seeing a mixture of patterns that don’t necessarily match. It’s fun to play with different patterns and textures against jewel toned furniture.

C: How do you take your coffee?
JS: Black!

Design by Berlett Design Group