A MAKER PODCAST exclusive interview with trailblazing Surinamese interior designer, Brigitte van Latesteijn-Braaf
"I am happy in my being […] I don’t doubt myself anymore."
Sometimes, you meet a person who makes you wonder how you got where you are in life; their very presence is a silent question prompting you to think about your existence.
This type of individual exudes a combination of warmth, confidence, humility and wisdom. Individuals who possess this distinct collection of character traits are highly inspiring and aspirational. Surinamese interior designer Brigitte van Latesteijn-Braaf is one such person.
Brigitte is the force of nature behind R-STYLED, a design atelier, showroom, and boutique situated in Oostvoorne, a small town in the Dutch province of South Holland.
I came across Brigitte’s work while flipping through an international interior design magazine and having tea in an Amsterdam café. The design article featured a spread of rooms containing a warm grey, ecru and camel palette with carefully placed African accents; these were well-appointed, balanced rooms. At the end of the article, there was a thumbnail photograph of an elegant, confident and well-coiffed African woman - this was Brigitte.
I sent Brigitte a PDF of my MAKER project, then, a few days later, I called her boutique and spoke to her about being a guest on my podcast. Brigitte was gracious, warm and friendly and agreed to talk with me on the podcast. On August 28th, 2017, I sat down with her to discuss art, design, motherhood and being a woman of African descent in the Netherlands.
While talking with Brigitte, I discovered that, amongst all other things, during the 1970’s, she became the first woman of African descent to work in a popular boutique in the city of Rotterdam. Ever the trailblazer, Brigitte may very well be the only designer of African descent currently working in the Netherlands.. A contributor to the landscape of international interior design, she is an expert in the field of high-quality total design projects.
Photo credits above: Denise Keus, Stijlvol Wonen Sanoma-Belgium