B in the Spotlight - Will DuBose Jr.

The B-Life is all about living right and making it by doing something you LOVE. We recently spent a little time with Will DuBose Jr., a talented architect & designer who strives to create beautiful and personal spaces for his clients. What makes a house a home? Or better yet, in NYC, what makes an apartment/loft/condo, etc. feel like more than bricks and drywall? Adding personal touches to your space with a creative redesign can make all the difference!


Since its inception, Will’s company, Striving Design, has completed over 25 projects in New York City and surrounding areas. Work thus far includes: retail, commercial, and residential. Will received his Masters of Architecture at the University of Michigan, with studies completed at Oxford University and Morehouse College. He has also taught interior design at Pratt Institute, while running his Manhattan-based design practice.

  • Designer for HGTV's show Freestyle
  • Completed Interior Design for Magic Johnson’s Brooklyn Clock Tower apartments
  • Partnered with Dhani Jones (of the Cincinnati Bengals) for numerous projects, including the design of a Costa Rican eco-retreat.
  • Prepared designs and proposal for work at the residence of Hip Hop Mogul and Businessman. Hint: Can’t stop won’t stop
  • Completed designs for the residence of Anthony Mackie (Million Dollar Baby, We Are Marshall, She Hate Me)
  • A residence for a Showtime, CBS, Actor/Comedian
  • NYC Upper East Side apartment
  • MakeupMania flagship Store (182 Allen Street) opening in May
  • Brownstone of Textile Designer Malene Barnett
  • New Jersey Home of Doctor and retired basketball legend
1. What are your stats (age, hometown, schooling, etc.)?
I was born and raised in Chicago, IL, received my Masters of Architecture at the University of Michigan, with studies completed at Oxford University and Morehouse College.

My mom is a social worker and dad is a barber. My dad (through years of barber shop discussions) can talk about any subject: from television to molecular biology and he will sound good (I get that from him). My mom can relate to anyone and is a true striver and a mighty nice person (I get that from her).

2. How did you end up choosing architecture & design?
I began my studies as an artist. I visited Italy in summer of '93 to study art history and was enamored by Micheangelo and Brunaleschi's work. Since they did both architecture and art (and very well at that) I said I could too. I just knew I could make it happen.

Also being raised in the urban area of Chicago I was inspired to develop good housing thru the good and bad neighborhoods. Sometimes the best housing was all about the people who lived there; how they decorated with what they knew - grandmothers with plastic slipcovers and running mats throughout the house.

3. What has been the biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge is keeping the confidence. More important than anything anyone can think about me or any other prejudices I may encounter, believing that I can rock an apartment, home or office design matters most.

Kitchen - BEFORE

4. And the payoff?
The biggest payoff is looking at a space after it is done. The rhythm, the patterns, the big items purchased, the small architectural elements... all make sense. And doing this work (design work) everyday, full time, helps me realize what an opportunity I have been afforded.

Kitchen - AFTER

5. What makes you good at what you do?
My artistic background as a painter. I can put colors together that most folks cannot see. I create compositions that translate from 2d to 3d because of my experience as a painter, a designer, and a striver.

6. What would be your dream project, and why?
Designing a home for a highly spiritual person: the Dalai Lama, a pastor, an Islamic priest, or the Pope. Someone who spends lots of time at home. Spaces can assist in elevating your mind state, your condition, your health.

...Also designing a home for my grandmother

7. What do you think about all of the design shows on every network?
Has it helped or hurt your industry?
I have done a design show on HGTV and its been helpful to my career. However, I want to delve deeper as a designer in my next show. I have been told by producers taping me, "act gay! Give em what they want."

Will, Host - HGTV's Freestyle

8. What excites you about architecture/design?
What excites is me creating possibilities: Designing a room that makes a user stop and stand in awe.

9. If you weren't in your current field what else would you be doing?
I would be a writer. I would start a magazine... www.strivemagazine.com, as a matter of fact I will do that tonight. check out my mag site (smiles).

10. What has been your biggest triumph up to this point?
I consider the biggest triumph my next breath. My possibilities are here right now and I am creating more just being aware of right now. Many of my friends didn't make it to this point. I am just happy to be here doing what I love.

11. And failure?
Biggest failure...hmmm? At this point I have no regrets. "I just do it." I make so many mistakes, all the time, 75% of the time. But that's the beautiful part of it. Mistakes are a key part of the design process. If you want a good design you have to experience the mistakes.

12. What advice would you give to aspiring architects/designers?
Just do it and Just say next... every great professional does it.

A doctor loses a patient... They say, "NEXT!!!!"
A lawyer loses a case... They say, "NEXT!!!!"
Architects and designers and any other great professional has to realize, if
you are going to do something as great as designing a building or space or a
room, you will make mistakes. And if you make mistakes, say "NEXT!!!" That
will be part of the process.

13. If you had to give yourself one "B", what would it be? "B (bold,
bad, bossy, etc.).."?
Can I please have two words?..."Breakthrough Babyboy"

Thanks Will, now I'm inspired! When are you coming back uptown?

xo, Jen, The B-Life

Will's Contact:
Will DuBose Jr.
phone: 646-344-9798
fax: 646-304-3271
Striving For: Vivid, Embracing Interiors and Architecture


Anonymous said...

Very Interesting... Go Breakthrough Babyboy!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I've been looking to re-decorate. Will seems like the man!

Anonymous said...

Nook is really the truth. Great post, I'm so proud of him.

I AM GVG® said...

Nook truly has one of the best souls of any person i know. Great designer as well. Good piece Jen.

Anonymous said...

Will has that thrive to do more...i have extreme confidence that he will get far in all he does....great piece jen

Naki said...

Wonderful post! This brother's impressive. Keep shining the spotlight on the incredible young folk in our community Jen!

Anonymous said...

Will's responses have not only inspired me to continue striving in my own endeavors, but encouraged me to conquer the impossibilities. I would love to have Will work his creative genious on my home.