It’s a hot and sunny afternoon in Kingston, and interior designer Maryline Damour is pulling up to finish staging a home that her company Damour Drake rebuilt from the foundation up.

What You Need To Know

  • Maryline Damour, part owner of Damour Drake, is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design at The New School

  • She is actively involved in interior design projects in her home country of Haiti

  • She created the Kingston Design Connection, a group that connects Hudson Valley designers to each other, and to potential clients

Damour moved to Kingston just four years ago and started her business upon arrival. A marketing/PR professional for 10 years, she changed careers just after an event that shocked the entire world and would change her life forever.

“I’m from Haiti originally and then the earthquake happened in my country in 2010," she said. "And for the first time, I started to understand that interior design is just not about making things pretty, it’s really about giving people a safe secure space, where they can be who they are and where they can reflect themselves and be happy.”

And that’s what she’s done with her company.

She and her partner Fred Drake have blended their skills together — he’s a construction expert — to create this successful business. In a nearby room, Drake is installing a shower door, with their beloved dog Bandit watching the process closely. He and Damour have a good thing going, he says.

“She’s lucky enough to find a partner who has a lot of different talents," Drake said. "A lot of different knowledge in a lot of different fields, because a lot of people are only an excavator, only a concrete guy or only a framer.”

Working together, they’re able to move twice as fast, ensuring they stay on target. As a business owner in Kingston, she hopes to see more Black interior designers in the Hudson Valley.

"Representation is important," Damour said. "It's important for people to see people who look like them doing what they do. I know that growing up, there were some interior designers who – I was like ‘wow, I’ve never seen a Black interior designer on a TV show, with a magazine!’

“I guess anything is possible, right?"

For more of Dominic McKenzie’s reporting including his ongoing series on Black-owned businesses in the Hudson Valley please click here.