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Book Report: Design Remix

Hello. I try and commit myself to reading at least one home design book per month and reporting on it here. I have a large stack of home design books, some that I have had for more than a year, some that I have purchased more recently that I am working my way through. Where does the time go? You think I would have read them all by now and be looking for more. I am always looking for more, at the end of the day though I generally find myself turning to a novel as I have been immersed in design all day. Nonetheless, it is such a treat to read home design books and I am thankful for the nudge from my blog scheduling calendar.

This month I read Design Remix: A New Spin on Traditional Rooms by Corey Damen Jenkins. The first thing I will say is I read an Instagram post that Corey wrote about his mom for Mother's Day last year and it was so beautiful and full of overwhelming love that it made me want to buy his book no matter what. The second thing is that Corey grew up in Detroit and having lived in the Detroit suburbs for two years growing up (1976-1978) and for thirteen years as an adult (2005-2018), I have a first hand understanding of at least some of his design influences while growing up.

Corey worked in the automotive industry (Detroit is the Motor City after all!) as a purchasing agent, finding a job as close to his design passions as possible because he thought that he would not be able to break into the field of residential interior designer, although he was pulled to, and passionate about, the profession since he was a small child. In the economic downturn of 2008 Corey lost his job, as did thousands in the automotive industry, and decided to pursue his passion to become a designer by literally cold calling homes door to door in affluent suburbs of Detroit offering his services for design and renovation. Corey's perseverance paid off, the couple owning the home of the 779th door he knocked on hired him and, as they say, the rest is history.

Corey loves to use color and bold objects. He always takes the fifth wall (ceiling) into consideration with his designs. Corey uses decorative trims and objects to create layers and character with his designs. He likes his designs to "go to the edge" in creating an exciting, vibrant space while still keeping the home livable and comfortable for the family/residents.

The book is divided into seven chapters/approaches to Corey's design philosophies. I love that Corey says he sticks to design principles, not rules. Rules are too rigid and principles allow for interpretation - great advice!

Here are some examples of Corey's bold rooms. All original photos are from Werner Strague Photography unless otherwise noted.

The wallpaper on the ceiling in this dining room is stunning. Note the trim on the drapes, the light fixtures, pattern on the chairs and the glossy walls. Bold choices that live within "the edges".

This entryway sets the stage for a bold and beautiful home.

Corey talks about the beautiful architecture around Detroit and appreciating the "good bones" of the older homes he designs. His rule of thumb is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Meaning, leave the millwork and the leaded glass windows, arches, and floors. Remove only what you have to in creating a home that works for the family living there. I couldn't agree more!

Here are some examples of leaving the woodwork and modernizing the space at the same time. Beautiful.

This dining room is gorgeous. I love the tiles around the fireplace, the traditional moldings and the color on the walls - all of those elements certainly "weren't broke".

A pink living room? Yes, please!

This is a clever addition to the "good bones" of this home. Corey added in a wall to create a bench seat in the small entryway that fits with the style of the house and adds something practical and attractive.

Corey has a chapter titled "Night & Day" in the book that talks about the nuances of a black and white decor scheme (or other dark color, such as navy and white) and how to consider shades and textures when limiting your color palette to create a space with depth and intrigue. One of the ways he says to do this is by using a saturated color for the walls and keeping the rest of the room in the "night & day" scheme.

original photo by Scott Sprague Photography

Corey also mentions several times throughout the book the influence that fashion has had, and continues to have, on his designs and this tête à tête is a perfect example of this. It is reminiscent of a pencil skirt and matching cape (to me at least).

There is a chapter dedicated to designing spaces for children and the importance of taking the child(ren)'s interests and ideas into account when designing their bedrooms and dedicated spaces in the homes; as well as spaces where the entire family congregates.

I love this "salon wall" in a girl's bedroom. It is bananas!

The last chapter in the book is called "Haute House" and it specifically highlights using fabrics and patterns that speak to you in fashion as well as in design. This is a picture from the chapter, I know that orange grasscloth wallpaper and navy accents speak to me. I would wear orange and navy together any day with some gold jewelry and I certainly incorporate the combination in my designs.

I recommend this book for both Corey's inspirational success story and for a look beyond the sneak peek at his unique eye for design in this post. He is a master of the "remix" for sure!

I will be back tomorrow with Vignettes of the Month. See you then.

Thank you for dropping by today,



May 25, 2022

This is a beauty

Kerry Moylan
Kerry Moylan
May 27, 2022
Replying to




Hi, I’m Kerry, a true lover of all things home design.  Thank you for stopping by to check in on the journey.  Please feel free to reach out to me, I love to talk design!

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