Living in Color

By Linberg, Joanna | Sunset, March 2016 | Go to article overview

Living in Color


Linberg, Joanna, Sunset


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Three totally different ways to fill your home, inside and out, with your favorite hues.

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1 GOTHIC GLAM

ANNIE MAY and Barbie Palomino aren't afraid of the dark side. The Los Angeles designers behind BAM Design Lab (bamdesignlab.com) jumped into the deep end of the spectrum when a client told them he wanted his downtown loft to have a dash of luxe nightclub style. "He's an artist, musician, and actor, and travels a lot," May says. "He's seen everything, so going dark was a way to be original. [paragraph] May and Palomino, aware of most people's fear of black rooms, created a design with a range of finishes in gray. But to their delight, the client told them to go even darker. They complied, covering one U-foot-high wall in the loft's main living space with plates of oxidized metal. The other walls got papered with a contemporary take on Rorschach tests that vacillates between white and black. What made them take such risks? A gutsy homeowner, sure, but the designers also counted on the high ceilings and light from a wall of windows to make the home "cozy dark, not scary dark," May says.--Joanna Linberg

VARY FINISHES

A wide range of finishes pumps up the monochromatic scheme: The metal-plated wall inspired the conical metal art in the dining room; that, in turn, led to a faux concrete media console (above), which begged for "the fluffiest rug we could find" to serve as a foil, says May.

INCLUDE SURPRISES

One color can be one-note, so in addition to varying the materials, the designers added in unexpected accents that would stand out from the sea of black. The printed dining room chairs are one; the text upholstered on the armchair (page 38) is another.

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CONTRAST WITH FURNITURE

Once the team decided on a mostly black envelope, they committed to keeping the furniture light for balance. The tufted sofa in white was a must-have to up the glam quotient in the living room (page 37). See-through acrylic chairs lighten up the dining room table.

CHOOSE HEIGHT OVER LIGHT

"It's more important to have high ceilings than it is to have a lot of light," May says.

Both are great, but low ceilings can make a room feel closed in, windows or not. High ceilings do the opposite: They mimic an infinite night sky.

DON'T RELY ON PAINT

The design team originally painted the bedroom walls (top left) in charcoal gray, but it looked flat, especially against the ornate custom headboard frame. Tone-on-tone wallpaper with a raised motif brought the interest they were looking for while still letting the neo-baroque paper inside the frame shine.

USE ACCENT COLORS WISELY

Red plays a supporting role in the guest bedroom (above left) but in a small way--just the headboard. With so much drama everywhere else, a rainbow of accent colors is unnecessary, Palomino says. To match the tonality of the wallpaper, they chose a deep berry instead of, say, a cherry red.

THE COLOR MIX

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BACKDROP

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ACCENT

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HINT

GET THIS LOOK

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1 | JOYA CALICO SEUL AU MONDE CANDLE $65; net-a-porter.com.

2 | AKIMBO 1 WALLPAPER In grayscale, $275/roll; eskayel.com.

3 | MONGOLIAN LAMB PILLOW COVER In currant; $69; westelm.com.

4 | CHAMPAGNE FLUTES In midnight black, $34/set of 6; target.com.

5 | DIP-DYE ALPACA OMBRE THROW In plum, $348; michelevarian.com.

6 | JULES TUFTED OTTOMAN In Bella Pearl, $399; zgallerie.com.

--Catherine Dash

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DIGITAL BONUS Learn more secrets to decorating dark rooms: sunset. …

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