Tell me about yourself and the journey that led to the creation of Toni Crockett Design.
I’m the lead designer of Toni Crockett Design, an interior design boutique firm that my husband Rishi SuratSingh and I own and operate. TCD was created three years ago when my husband and I returned to Trinidad. After relocating, the creation of an interior design firm was a very organic and almost natural step for me. I wanted to take my education and various work experiences gained from living in Toronto and bring that professional level of design service to Trinidad. Interiors are definitely my passion. As a little girl, my mother could attest to the fact that I was forever changing my room. One year I dipped my hand in paint cans to create handprints all over my walls. I’m truly blessed to have a mother who has always encouraged me to pursue my artistic passions. These artistic and creative strengths have led me to a career in interior design and ultimately my most meaningful creation: Toni Crockett Design.
What kind of services does Toni Crockett Design provide?
Our firm provides both residential and commercial interior design services. We offer services such as one-time colour consultations, to design services for both renovation and new build projects.
How would you describe your design philosophy?
I would describe my personal design philosophy as lifestyle based functionality. My goal is to create beautiful interiors that our clients are not afraid to live/work in.
What has remained consistent in your design approach and what continues to evolve?
When you look through my portfolio you’ll find that I’m not afraid of colour. I’ve used it from day one and I continue to do so in all of my projects. For a while I was really into more contemporary aesthetics. However, I’ve since developed an honest appreciation for all interior design styles.
You’re an extremely busy woman! Tell me about some of the exciting projects you’re currently working on.
Busy YES and thankfully so! We have so many exciting projects in the works right now, many of which overlap into 2015. We recently started working on a commercial project, a Nail Bar that will be opening in Port of Spain (capital city of Trinidad and Tobago). I believe it will be the first of it’s kind in Trinidad. We’re so excited to be working on this, I’ve been wanting to work on a Nail Bar since moving to Trinidad. The unique aspect of designing a nail bar vs. traditional salon is very intriguing to me. Also, for over a year now, I’ve been working on a French inspired, custom home in Trincity. The finishes, materials and fixtures are truly exquisite and we can’t wait for the final reveal! We are also working on a townhouse renovation project. The before and after pictures will be quite spectacular once complete. And that’s just to name a few!
What sparked your decision to relocate to Trinidad and how has that contributed to your success?
I lived most of my adult life in Toronto, Canada, my second home. It was actually my husband who decided that we should return home. We purchased our own home in Toronto, got married, sold our home, went to Jamaica on our honeymoon and moved back to Trinidad all in the same year!! I would admit that I was quite apprehensive about the opportunities available in Trinidad, but I was determined and within a few months of moving, I landed my first project. I’ve never looked back since! There’s a very small niche market for the type of services we offer but I believe that my skills and international experience have afforded me great opportunities that I’m immensely grateful for.
What is the quickest and least expensive cosmetic change island dwellers can make to add a bit of flair to their homes?
Paint and pillows! Paint is an inexpensive and instant change for any space. Decorative pillows are in my opinion, the best investment for home accessories. They instantly add pattern, colour and texture to a space and there’s no labour involved. Just place a few pillows around the room and you have instant flair.
Defining moment in your career thus far:
The launch of our TCD Collection. Creating an interior design collection is something I’ve always wanted to do. Independently launching the Decorative Pillow Collection was truly a labor of creative collaboration and I couldn’t have done it without the hard work of my husband who is the business brains behind our company.
If you had one piece of advice to share with Trinidadian women what would it be?
Balance and support. It’s important to balance your life and work. Sometimes the line is so thin between these two things because of the love and passion you may have for your career. It’s important to switch off daily to take care of yourself. Be it the gym, yoga or reading a book; whatever it is, find the time because if you are not nurturing yourself you cannot perform your best work. My female friends and colleagues know that I support them 100%. I support all women who are their own bosses and are working to make their imprint on our tiny island. It is important to share, and support each other. There is a quote that I love and it reads, “Give away everything you know and more will come back to you.”
Favourite hideout in Trinidad and Tobago and why?
Kariwak Hotel in Tobago will always be my favourite hideout. As a child I spent a couple years there with my mother, so it holds a very special place in my heart. The owners are like family to me, so it’s only natural that it has a feeling of home for me. It’s relaxing, the food is amazing and I love the overall earthy and rustic ambiance it offers. There’s just something about thatched roofs!
Favourite Trinidadian saying and its meaning:
Beat de iron while it hot – Means don’t waste time. Take every opportunity that presents itself.