Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Black Wall, Some Shimmer and Voila, a New Home.

This amazing living room is the end result of a whirlwind project completed just days before Christmas. Here's the background:
I got a series of calls from this client,Chaunte, in early December. She is the best friend of the daughter of my client Debbie whose home we transformed here and here. She was in a bit of a panic. She was closing on her new home in a few days and desperately wanted it to be fabulous for Christmas. Er, this Christmas, 2012? My head was spinning. I wanted to wind down for the holidays and a rushed project was not in my forecast. She pleaded. Her best friend called as well and pleaded. Sigh. Okay, I'll come take a look. 
It was a fabulous home that clearly needed some wow. The budget was also tight so we would need to work in phases, starting with the main floor. Three weeks to pull this off? Lord help me but under contract we went. 
Here's what we started with. 

 Bare walls throughout as you enter the foyer, living/dining rooms. The round mirror you spy on the floor is one of three that we'll re-purpose and use in the final design.

On her wish list: a black wall. Her husband Kevin gave us a scowl but she was undeterred. My design juices were peaked. I'd forgive the rush on this project because I'd been dying to find a client bold enough to welcome such a color in their home. She'd in fact purchased a can of black paint a year ago to use in her previous home, but just didn't have the guts to go through with the plan. Sweet. Here's what we ended up with after a whirlwind few weeks of sourcing, shopping and installing - just three days before Christmas.

Remember that mirror? Well, we painted it white (along with two others) and they are now a great addition to the family's new home. The starburst mirrors were also a dull gold when I purchased them and they were fab, but I spray-painted them silver because I needed them to pop a bit more off that black wall. That can of black paint did its thing as well. I saw a few skeptical faces when we first painted it but I think we made a believer out of a few folks. Hooray to Chaunte for daring to be bold.

While we were still negotiating a contract, my clients went furniture shopping. I had a panic attack when I learned this because well, I like to select key pieces in my design work to keep in line with the overall plan. Luckily they selected a sofa and two chairs that were fab. I did end up nixing their dining table and chair selections in favor of this glass top beauty. I'd also selected white chairs with nail heads, but learned on delivery day that they were on back order for several weeks. Arrggghh. Always have a plan B in mind. I'd also loved these other chairs and thankfully they were readily available. Problem solved and guess what? She forgot all about the other chairs once she saw the final reveal.  
We found these amazing rugs on Overstock. I gotta say their rug selections are on fire these days and the prices are freaking bananas. The glass side tables were a bit of a splurge but I so needed that shimmer in the room. I had a mild heart attack when the sales clerk told me they'd sold out but leave it to super sleuth Debbie to track em down in five minutes. I hauled ass and drove 45 minutes to purchase them pronto.

Tricks of the trade: pull elements together when you can. Notice that the Nate Berkus Chevron urn on the side table, is mimicked on the rug? The legs of the table are also similar in shape to the lines on the rug.

I'm never afraid to mix finishes, so blending gold and silver for this table scape was a no-brainer for me. It's a setting that lasts way beyond the holidays and I've encouraged her to add fresh flowers when she can to mix things up a bit. I also often use multiple runners run width-wise instead of length-wise just to add additional layers/texture to a table.

Chaunte loved this light fixture in another shape but I convinced her round was the way to go here to balance out all the angular lines in the room. Tip: Dining table lights should be hung roughly 30" to 36" above the table (for standard ceiling heights of 8 feet) or about 40" and more for ceiling 10 or more feet. 

The foyer was not to be outdone. To play off the black wall, I selected a black accent chest for use as the foyer table. It offers great storage for miscellaneous items. Since it had an amazing pattern, I kept the decor simple. Fresh flowers or a simple orchid, to me, are a must do on foyer and coffee tables. 

 All the accessories were budget friendly finds from Target, Home Goods and Ikea. Ditto too on the curtains which were all from Ikea. I simply used curtain rings to give them the pleated look of more customized curtains. I also always hang my curtains floor to ceiling, it simply adds height to a room by forcing your eye upward. Floral arrangements shown here are a simple mix of hydrangeas from my local florist, and some plants from the clients front yard.

That's all folks. I was not there for the reveal. I try not to be there these days, don't ask me why. I guess I really want them to have the time to take it all in and speak candidly amongst themselves and not have me hovering around. Designer friends, are you always there for the reveal? Clients, what do you prefer?
I do know from an amazing phone call, texts and email that they were ecstatic and proud to show off their home over the holidays and beyond. I was also happy they took the time to write a pretty amazing review over on Houzz. Humbled as always. We'll tackle the powder room next and other phases when the budget allows. 
Kudos again to Debbie and the team for pulling out all the stops to whip this together in record time, and thanks always to Shaggy of Circle Ten Media for his amazing photos.
Holla, holla, holla. Do you have a favorite element in this design? Would you ever do a black wall?



  1. oh wow i love love loveee this!! so classy!

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE.....
    What a stunning, chic room. I love the black. Well gee, you know me girls, our house is all Black, White, Mirrors, with Golds and Crystals.
    I could move right into this house. Can't wait to see what's to come.

  3. Damn ladies! you guys are on fire. This was quite the transformation and you are so good turning rooms around so fast. Really beautiful! And yes overstock is just fab these days! This client must be as happy as ever now!

  4. I so, so, so badly want to do a black wall in my future home! This living room is absolutely stunning! You guys did an amazing job :)

  5. I thought a black wall would make the room feel dark. It doesn't at all. It has a warm feeling and the pops of white and metal are really great with it.

  6. What a great blank canvas you had here!That is amazing you got this accomplished in three weeks. I must say your clients have some style, to pick out those awesome furniture pieces. Looks awesome!

  7. What a fun room! Love the light over the dining table!

  8. you did an awesome job. you had very little time, but i would've never guessed looking at the result. fabulous!

  9. IMPRESSIVE! I love how bold it is, and you all did a fantastic job. Its a testament to what good taste can do! I love how the eye moves around the room with the circular mirrors and the vignettes in each quadrant of the room. I love the chest in the foyer. Kudos to a fantastic team Nicole!
    xo Nancy

  10. I am moving next month and plan to do a black wall in my den/office. As for the reveals, I prefer to be there with my clients so that if there's anything they want to change I can finish it right then and there. Since I still design on the side until it's my day job, I find it that much more fulfilling to see my clients true expressions and emotions once I complete something for them. It just verifies so much for me. and I don't think I would get that if I waited for a phone call later.


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