If you could give a name to sunshine, we're pretty sure it would be called Sam Ushiro. Join as we sit down with the 70's loving personality and talk all things design.
Sam Ushiro is the maker, baker, and mover-and-shaker behind Aww Sam, her bright lifestyle blog filled with DIY projects, party ideas, and yes...70s-style retro cakes in the shapes of mushrooms. We sat down with her to hear about her home renovation and how she incorporates stellar colors, like her Marigold Caraway set, into her designs.
Sam! Your style has us beaming with brightness today! Tell us a little bit about your design history. How did your aesthetic come to be?
My design history really goes back to my time in college, where I studied industrial design. While I was there I learned the fundamentals of design and began to experiment with what I found interesting! I started off making felt banners and crocheting small food brooches, and eventually found my way into the vintage/retro scene. In this space I found my love of color married to the fashion and designs of the 60’s and 70’s. From there I’ve tried to bring the styles forward into the present while maintaining what makes them so lovable and unique!
How do you infuse your design aesthetic into your cooking and baking?
Both my baking and cooking are influenced by my design aesthetic almost directly. I look at decor and objects, as well as trends from the past and translate them into my baked goods. Things like mushrooms and flamingos are super cool to me and I love interpreting them in an edible way.
What three tips would you give to someone looking to redesign any space?
1. Choose a main color to base and complement the room around. 2. Find hero pieces of decor and furniture to give the room a story. 3. Don’t be afraid to go wild, it’s your space, make it how you want!
What kitchen essentials do you like to highlight in your kitchen?
I like to highlight my Caraway Bakeware ;) because it is colorful and cheery, and brings life to the kitchen! I also use my mixer more than anything else; its pink so it looks great on the countertop as a feature!
Tell us about how you design your cakes. What about baking inspires you creatively?
When I’m thinking about my cakes, I like to think of objects and trends that inspire me, or excite me. I then see how I can translate thatinto a cake. Being able to problem solve for, say, making a giant flower cake, is so rewarding, especially when you take that first bite. Baking really allows me to experiment and have fun!
I’ve incorporated both the cookware and bakeware into essentials in my kitchen. I use them for everything from cake making, to cookie baking, to making dinner for the family. I absolutely love the Marigold because it is a bright and warm yellow, which is also my favorite color. It just inspires joy.
What’s one of your favorite DIY projects for a creative family to take on?
One of my all time favorite DIY projects for a family to take on has to be a themed costume! I love coming up with new family costumes each Halloween, the more involved the better. I think it’s super fun to come up with an idea or pop culture reference and then create it for the whole family to enjoy. Plus, winning a costume contest is never a bad thing!
We hear you’re renovating your 70s-style home! What has been the most rewarding part of your renovation?
The most rewarding part of the renovations we have been undertaking has been seeing how we are able to incorporate and highlight the original features of the home in a more modern and approachable way. All the unique aspects of the home are things we want to keep and watching my designs come to life from the drawing board is just magical.
So many of your incredible projects are grounded in a 70s colorway. How do you modernize those (frankly muted and, at times, incompatible!) color tones?
I think the best way to modernize and incorporate those colorways is to take the base color and bring it up a notch or two. Taking something like a muted mustard into a sunny yellow is a way to keep the original idea while making it a little more vibrant. Plus, the 70s were a wild time, so making crazy color combinations is something I often do, like the peach, orange, and yellow mural in my office.
What would you recommend to someone who’s looking to bring a pop of color into their home?
When it comes to bringing a pop of color into your home, there are a few ways to do that! First and foremost is adding something like a Caraway pan to your countertop, it’s simple but effective, and can bring color to a room in an unexpected way. Another way that I love to utilize adding colors is by painting wall murals, like 70’s swirls or colorful retro flowers.
Cook With Sam
- The best thing you’ll find in my kitchen is... My colorful Caraway bakeware and my next cake project!
- My favorite room in my house is... My Kitchen, because it’s where all the magic happens!
- While I cook, I drink... Ginger Ale or Cherry Coke.
- My favorite meal to come home to is... My favorite tacos!
- My next cake inspiration is... A secret! You’ll have to stay tuned to find out. ;)
- When I don’t have the energy to cook, I instead... browse the internet for my next baking idea.
- When I’m in need of inspiration, I... look through vintage magazines, Pinterest, and brainstorm with my partner.
- My family would say I’m _____ at cooking. Inventive!
- My favorite 70s jam to listen to while creating is... Heart of Gold by Neil Young.
- The color I most often use in my designs is... Yellow!
- When I’m bored, I... like to scroll and watch videos on TikTok.
- My 1970s alias would be... Cher + Penny Land.
- Caraway — cabinets or countertops? Countertops, to show off the awesome color of course!
- People need more _____ in their lives: Color!