Jamaica Gleaner /
Design Diva Karen Booker, showed off her transformative decor skills at the railway station in downtown Kingston, at her exclusive Happiness by Design event last month.
Booker and her team hosted a unique event at the heritage site, incorporating history, beauty, interior design, and psychology. Guests were taken back in time to the ’20s, with a costumed Booker setting the pace for a modern style meets The Great Gatsby in a unique Jamaican experience.
She transformed the 172-year-old train station and coaches into a fabulous vintage-inspired space, awakening its old charm with a twist. In its heyday, that area at the station served as a waiting room and spot to buy tickets for trains leaving downtown, Kingston to travel across the island. She transformed the neglected space into an elegant sitting room. The station’s wooden mahogany benches were kept intact, but elevated with brightly coloured cushions, handcrafted by the Design Diva herself – maintaining the authenticity with a little panache. She left no space untouched – even the bathroom was completely transformed.
This classic-meets-contemporary theme, was further enhanced by various relics on display, including a gramophone, ‘dulciminas’, and vintage clocks. This was juxtaposed with contemporary-meets-traditional decor theme in Coach One.
“Vintage relics like ‘dulciminas’ and trunks connect us to the past. They connect us to our grandparents, making us feel warm and fuzzy inside,” Booker explained in her presentation on ‘Happiness by Design’, demonstrating how guests could transform their states, by transforming their space. She explained the impact of four main mood enhancers – decluttering and organising, colours, lighting, and storage – emphasising how design can affect happiness. “You want to put cooler colours in your bedroom, where you sleep or your bathroom where you want to relax or even in a baby’s room,” she explained, differentiating between neutral, cool and warm colours. Booker also helped her audience to understand how each colour impacts a space and ultimately your mood. “Studies show that if you are a very calm or serene person, you will more than likely go for the blues. But if you are excitable, like me, you will go for reds and other warm colours,” she added.
But she also spoke to the association between bright light and bright emotions. “Light is one of the most transformative fixes in your space, and it will affect your mood,” she noted. When a space is well lit, a person is in a better mood than if the space is dim. In both coaches the light fixtures were unique, well-crafted hanging lights that gave the bright cabins even more illumination than the natural light that spewed in from the large windows.
She also stressed the need for life to be put into a space, whether from plants, suitable colour choices, appropriate lighting, or the right decor pieces, which will enhance happiness, all of which were incorporated in transforming the venue.