The lawyer turned designer Darryl Carter is the master of pared down, serene interiors. He is one of our favourite designers at The Past Perfect Collection as he has a great love for antiques and uses them to create tranquil interiors with a sense of history. His style is classic, yet modern and sophisticated. He effortlessly blends the old with the new.
The Darryl Carter interior style sees a seamless mix of classical elements from the past and the present. Balancing the modern with the old.
'I’ve always been prone to juxtaposition - modern opposite antique - bold opposite quiet,' he explains. Similarly, he combines the simple with the ornate to create a bespoke interior. He also cleverly uses antiques and antique furniture to create balance within a modern traditional interior. 'I am very prone to history and the wonder of the former lives of antiques' he says.
Darryl Carter in his home in Washington, DC.
Photo credit: Gordon Beall
Darryl Carter carefully curates interesting and unique artifacts. He then showcases them perfectly within serene white coloured interior spaces. 'White is generally the most sublime backdrop for beautiful objects,' he says. His collection is varied but has one thing in common, a personal significance to him. 'Some were acquired during travels, some were commissioned under my care, and some were gifts—all meaningful to me in some way or another,' he explains.
Darryl Carter’s tranquil interiors.
Photo credit: Gordon Beall
The tranquil white spaces add to the overall sense of calm and serenity. He uses chalky washes of white paint (Farrow and Ball, All White is a favourite) to great effect. 'White seems easy, but it’s such a nuanced colour,' he explains. Furthermore, the white contrasts strikingly with the dark wood of the antique furniture he uses in his interiors.
Another important aspect of his designs is his respect for empty spaces to enable pieces to breathe and shine. 'I would far rather see a room with a few great things that are highly meaningful than a gratuitously populated space with every wall covered in decorative objects,' he explains. This adds to the tranquillity of the space, making for a serene atmosphere. Natural elements add to the neutral hushed palette.
Refurbished antique sofa that adorns the living room.
Darryl Carter’s love for antiques is evident throughout his work and also in his own homes. His skill for reimaging the past was clearly illustrated when he reupholstered an antique sofa. Originally covered in striped velvet, Carter transformed the sofa. He abandoned the velvet and opted for crisp white kid leather with classic bronze buttons. The sofa had a new lease of life. It became a unique piece. A piece no one else will have. 'I have a hard time understanding why everyone would want the same furniture as his or her neighbour,' he says in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
We believe that using antique furniture is a great way to introduce character to an interior. Antiques have the ability to sit perfectly within a modern or traditional design scheme. We love this mid-19th century British colonial sofa from India, made from mahogany and freshly upholstered. We think it would look great in Darryl Carter's tranquil interiors. With its unique character, contrasting white fabric and dark wood, it has a sense of history only antiques can deliver. A classic look with a modern edge.
In conclusion, Darryl Carter’s style is understated and classic with a modern touch which is why we love it. If you admire the Darryl Carter style as much as we do, then have a look at our antique furniture collection and also our range of characterful artifacts.
Furthermore, if you would like to read about Darryl Carter and learn about his tranquil interior style check out his inspiring books.