Much to my mother’s chagrin, I’ve always been a huge fan of black. In the 80s, I began wearing black because, like many teenagers, I needed the world to know I was an existentialist, deeply mysterious, angst-filled, brooding artist. Plus it was quicker to get dressed that way.
Over the years, I’ve worked my penchant for black into my projects. To begin with, (just in case my design intent was misguided) I started by painting the walls around my own kitchen. After tossing around and rejecting sample chips with names like Sealskin and Universal Black – partially because I thought PETA would be picketing at my front porch if I chose former, and the latter sounded oh-so-boring – I went with the ever-enchanting shade of Graphite (Benjamin Moore), the perfect mix of bold and calm, hard and soft… the color of fairy dust, if fairy dust were black. With the kitchen a complete success, I moved to the guesthouse, where I proceeded to paint the living room with an accent wall in Caviar (Sherwin-Williams), furnishings in cilantro and concrete, ceiling and trim in white. Touchdown number two… if touchdowns were black. Luckily, I have had several clients who have been game enough to follow suit. From bedrooms, to living spaces, to kitchens – black has become an integral part of the Dirty Girl design palette.
Every space is different, and balance is key when using a dominant/dark neutral or, for that matter, a dark color. There is no one “trick” when employing black as a design element, but some of the techniques that we use are: black as an accent wall; ceilings and millwork painted white; color-blocking in gradated neutrals; furniture, textiles and artwork that compliment and pop. Whatever method you choose, and whatever mood you’re setting, keep in mind that black needs to be either the lead or the supporting role. Below are several examples making use of the above: the parlor is via my current client, Ray Azoulay, owner of Obsolete, Inc; the kitchen is by Lizette Marie Interior Design; the bedroom is from Beth Dotolo – Pulp Design.