Design Notes Archive

Black + White

Black + White

Life might not be black and white but when I was a teenager I had the chance to design my bedroom from scratch and that is exactly the palette I chose. Plain white walls were outlined with glossy black trim that snaked from the coving, around the doors and down along the skirting board. I was lucky enough to have an en suite and I picked out black marble tile for the floor, shower, and walls to chair rail height; then a graphic black and white floral wallpaper to the ceiling. The bathtub and toilet were also black and instead of a standard bathroom door, I opted for a pair of sliding Shoji screens – traditional Japanese rice paper doors framed in a glossy black grid. That was my first foray into design and I’m still confident in the timelessness of the colour combination.

The beauty of such a high contrast palette is that it works in big and small ways. If you’re in the “less is more” camp, follow fashion designer Jason Wu’s lead and punctuate a white space with black faucets and fittings. His collection for Brizo is sleek and modern and available only in matte black. Adapt more traditional fittings by selecting the darkest finish available, like an oil-rubbed bronze. Balineum’s forthcoming collection of wall-mounted accessories (January 2015) will come in 15 metal finishes, including shiny and matte black to further expand your options.

For the “go big or go home” type, black painted walls make an incredible backdrop to a freestanding white bath. Take a cue from this stunning example and mount paneling to the walls before painting. It’s an easy way to add depth to such a powerful colour. As stone goes, Marquina marble is a rich black option from Spain with a riot of white veins while soapstone turns from it’s natural gray to a deep black once it’s been treated with mineral oil (not to mention it doesn’t get slippery when wet making soapstone an ideal choice for bathrooms). With the sun starting to set earlier and earlier, now is the perfect time to embrace a bit of darkness!

Monika, Editor, Design Notes

Photographs © Amansara, Joseph Dirand, Patricia Goijens