Candace Marie had a specific goal in mind when putting together her apartment. From her career in social media consulting to her decision to start Black In Corporate, she has long been intentional about uplifting Black voices. For Candace, decorating her Lower Manhattan studio apartment was a new way of revisiting the same commitment.
Her move aligned with the Black Lives Matter protests, which she says heightened her awareness of the potential to bring meaning into her space. “They kind of made me think of every aspect of my life. Where it’s like, hey, if you know this is something that you purchase consistently, why not give those dollars to a Black business? It’s made me think down to the nitty-gritty of these dollars,” she reflects.
The Black art throughout her apartment—which is neutral and clean-cut, the perfect backdrop for such statement pieces—serves a double purpose. The theme of the Black body, and especially of the Black female body, pulls the place together. You can see it in the mini sculpture in her living room, the torso side table near her sofa, and the body-shaped candles placed in different rooms.
To achieve this look, Candace bought pieces from an array of businesses. “The art all came from different places. At the time a lot of Black-owned businesses saw a surge in people purchasing their items, so a lot of it was sold out. So I was piecing it together, trying to find the same aesthetics and things like that,” she says. “It’s like this puzzle piece, trying to assemble a home.”
A very personal piece of Black art in her home is framed right above the living room sofa. In the photograph, Candace poses with a Jackie O elegance. “When I did that photo shoot I made sure to have a Black hairstylist (Nikki Nelms), a Black photographer (Christopher Tomas), and like, all these things infused with Black for that photo. That was so important that I was like hey, this is like Black art.” She feels the same way about other frames in her study area, including one of Vogue’s September 2020 issue, which featured the artwork of Kerry James Marshall and Jordan Casteel as covers.
Whether it came to the apartment’s specifically curated design, its carefully partitioned sleep/work/living areas, or its location in the Financial District, Candace worked hard to get exactly what she wanted. “I’m at a point in my career, too, when I’m like okay, these are the things that I want, and I'm giving them to myself. Because I’ve literally worked my butt off and these are the checkboxes.” It paid off.
Although Candace is happy with the way the place came together—and so is her handyman, who gives her compliments every time he visits—she would be hesitant to repeat the process. “I have to say. After this I was like, now I realize why people invest in an interior designer,” Candace says. “Next time I’m gonna find me a Black interior designer. Which at some point I almost hired because I was like, I can’t do this anymore.”
But until then, this place does the trick. Candace considers her home a safe haven and values the way it exudes calm and serenity during such a time of global upheaval. One aha moment to this effect came after a summer trip upstate. “Coming back I was like, ahhh, I miss this place! That’s the feeling I want to have when I walk into my doors. Like I’m happy to be home. And it feels like home too.”
⚒ Do It Yourself
Use your (vertical) space. In addition to lofting her bed, Candace has found other creative uses for the vertical space in her studio. For example, she’s tucked away the luggage she is not using during the pandemic above her washer-dryer unit. “I’m still finding nooks in my apartment,” Candace says. “I feel like I’m still discovering places and how to make sense of the place.”
Don’t forget the little things. Candace discovered a way to glam up even the air ventilator in her living room, changing the dirt-brown color to a chic white that fit the aesthetic of the rest of her home. “This seems so small but it made such a huge difference. I just used marble contact paper around it. And it literally instantly changed that look,” she says.
Shop Black. Candace recommends following Black Owned Everything on Instagram, because they strategically curate Black items, making it easy to discover new artists and designers. “It’s easier to go to Amazon. It is easier. Because one quick click, and then you get it in a few days if not the next day,” she admits. “But it’s worth it to invest the time and find certain businesses because they will be ones you go back to for a lifetime.”
🛍 Shop It Out
All products featured on Architectural Digest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Edge Brass Arch Floor Mirror from Crate & Barrel, $499, crateandbarrel.com
Ramona candle from Hometown Collective, $50, ahometowncollective.com
Cracked Plaster Wallpaper in Gold from Burke Decor, $125, burkedecor.com
Weave Natural Floor Lamp from Crate & Barrel, $199, crateandbarrel.com
Primitive Vessel Print from Crate & Barrel, $800, crateandbarrel.com
Amber & Moss candle from P.F. Candle Co, $20, pfcandleco.com
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest