Dia Simms, president of Sean 'Diddy' Combs' business empire, relishes her bright, airy Ellicott City home

D'Angela "Dia" Simms has found her light.

The president of Combs Enterprises — music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs’ business empire — relishes the golden rays that stream into the rear sunroom of her Ellicott City home.

"There's no better decorative accent than sunlight," Simms, 42, says of the 9,000-square-foot, brick-and-stone home. “Lighting is very important to me.”

In fact, the abundance of natural light — and the cavernous ceilings Simms envisioned filling with ornate chandeliers — were major selling points when she toured the house with her 46-year-old husband, Keith Simms, in May 2017. The couple and their small daughter had been living in Baltimore’s Federal Hill neighborhood and wanted to be closer to family; Keith, a graduate of Oakland Mills High School, grew up in the area, and Simms’ brother lives in Columbia.

Simms was open to a different kind of home — growing up, she’d imagined living in a number of different places.

“I didn't think about the home,” she says. “I care about the people in it."

But it’s clear Simms has taken great care in shaping a beautiful setting for her family, which includes 5-year-old Emory Carter Simms and a spirited boxer named Koda.

The grandeur is apparent the minute you enter the towering, marble-floored foyer with dual, curved staircases. The piece de resistance is an onyx-colored multi-strand chandelier from Restoration Hardware that reminds Simms of a raindrop.

"I can see the chandelier and the dual staircase from outside," says Simms of her first lighting purchase for the home, visible through the semi-circular window above the home's front door. "I want there to be beauty everywhere you look."

The house has a perfectly curated, barely-lived-in feel, with pristine white carpets, chairs and couches — an astonishing feat considering the growing family that lives there. But no rooms are off-limits, Simms says: "All fabrics are spill-proof."

Fresh floral displays pepper the home, leaving a sweet fragrance. The aesthetic is a blend of the couple’s tastes.

“My husband leans toward heavy color, deeper woods," says Simms, who met Keith, a neuroscience area manager in the pharmaceutical industry, in 1999, the same year she graduated from Morgan State University with a degree in psychology. "I lean more toward the feminine. This is the perfect balance."

Without a doubt, her favorite room is her sunroom.

"It was the first room I headed toward when I first toured the home," she says. "I knew I had to have it."

It's the sunroom where Simms says she spends most of her time when she's not traveling for her busy career. Combs Enterprises — for which Simms oversees brands like Ciroc vodka and DeLeon tequila — is based in New York. "I'm here every weekend every chance I get," she says.

With off-white wallpaper embellished with a metallic gold bird-and-vine pattern, the room also encompasses her personality the best, according to her best friend, Dawn Flythe Moore.

“It's the fabulousness of it and the comfort of it," says Flythe Moore, a Baltimore resident who has known Simms since the first day of ninth grade at St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens, N.Y. "It all comes together."

A plush white couch from online retailer Horchow anchors the room with a black-and-gold metal frame.

"When friends come over, we'll convene here with wine," Simms says. "The level of light and sun is amazing."

She also spends a considerable amount of time in her office, located just off the foyer.

"I work around the clock," Simms confesses. "I like to be in a room that's calming."

The bright white office pops with a massive seafoam and Kelly green rug from Shofer’s Furniture that she calls “a real commitment to color.”

A 32-inch flat-screen television hangs from the wall, wallpapered with a white and ink pattern. A Tuscan cream desk by Ballard Designs is adorned with coffeetable books, a white marble lamp and a black office phone. The avid reader has a bookshelf stocked with the classics, including a set of Ernest Hemingway's greatest hits.

She takes meetings there or in the living room, where two large, buttery, tufted leather sofas flank a coffee table stacked with books: “Historic Homes of Paris,” “Martha's Flowers” and “Central Park.”

"It's such a nice grounding element," she says of the sofas. "You can't go wrong with Chesterfield. It allows you to be more daring with other elements."

The room also features a massive rectangular painting of metallic gold, copper and silver trees in a forest, a gift from Flythe Moore's brother and his wife.

"It feels like a reflection of the outside for this piece," she says, referencing the woods behind her home.

Though Simms and her husband changed all the home’s lighting and most of the flooring to Brazilian chestnut, they didn't do much to the kitchen. White cabinets balance muted Obsidian granite countops and a midnight blue island, where tall blue-and-white-striped chairs offer seating. The kitchen spills into the breakfast room, where a table made from rough-hewn wood salvaged from a 100-year-old building in Great Britain is surrounded by structured blue chair.

"This is the most summery part of the house," Simms says. "In my mind, I'm building my dream beach house."

The dining room, too, is painted a sandy beige, adorned with five gold-framed paintings above a dark wood and glass buffet, where a glass tray presents decorative liquor bottles from Combs brands. A large round wooden table with eight chairs and cream cushions, all purchased from an Atlanta furniture market, rest at the center of the room.

"I love round dining room tables," she says. It allows for better flow of conversation."

Round design elements also work well in a house with a young child and active dog.

Emory’s room has one of the home’s nine chandeliers — an atom-shaped whimsical piece from Restoration Hardware — along with framed pictures of black Barbies in various international locations arranged above her bed.

The master bedroom, meanwhile, showcases Keith’s designer watch “addiction” in a display case, along with a large black-and-white restored photograph of Simms’ great-uncle Fred, who was a member of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut. She does a fair amount of work-related reading on the king-size bed, and relaxes by watching some of her favorite TV shows, like "Billions," "House" and "UnReal.”

In the master bath, a driftwood display acts as a candleholder on the lip of the oversized tub, where Simms says she likes to decompress with a long bubble bath.

“This house is totally Dia,” Flythe Moore says. “Her fingerprints are all over it.”

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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