an entire apartment in black & white (and why it works!)
there are shoes in the kitchen cupboards.
Published Mar 23, 2016 5:00 PM
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text by ALYSSA CLOUGH interior design by MICHAEL HILAL, HOMEPOLISH DESIGNER photography by JULIA ROBBS FOR HOMEPOLISH
When Rebecca, a PhD student who also writes the fashion blog Leather Lace and Cupcakes, moved to San Francisco from Beverly Hills, she needed an apartment to match her style. Enter Michael Hilal, a Homepolish designer up for the challenge of creating a modern, glam space that could house Rebecca’s growing collection of clothing and shoes. The result? A black, white, pink, and metallic-themed apartment with a statement wall that is making our entire office envious. Read on to learn more about the space and how to carry one single color scheme throughout an entire home.
HOW WAS THE BLACK AND WHITE COLOR SCHEME DECIDED ON? The client wanted something modern while implementing transitional style and an easy way to accomplish this is with a more muted color palette. Since that could sometime be too stark we used variations of white and black to add depth. The only color other colors we used in the space were metallics and pink. My inclination (pro tip!!!) when doing black and white spaces is always to add a bit of wood (I prefer walnut or something cerused) and some velvet, it allows you to keep to some minimal ideologies and adds texture and will make a space feel more luxe.
WE LOVE THE BLACK AND WHITE PAINTED STATEMENT WALL. WHAT INSPIRED THAT? Rebecca wanted a statement wall, we just weren’t sure where (initially we were thinking behind the bed). Behind the sofa, I was going to (do) a massive oversized canvas with the black and white wall design. Oversized patterned or geo art on canvas is another way to make a space feel luxe and you can do it relatively cheap if you build your own canvases, you really just need an idea for what to put on it. The canvas was going to be huge—the span of the wall and about 3 feet above the ground. Logistically it was going to be tough, we were going to have to build them onsite and then it came down to, how does she remove them from the space? So I decided we would use the same motif and just paint it on the wall. I am a bit of a perfectionist so I enlisted the help of a buddy and him and I painted it.
So a lot of transitional pieces blended with modern, bold graphics, metallics, mirrored and acrylic structured (more modern pieces) and black and white palettes, but translated for a 20-something girl in 2016. If you look at the chair and sofa in the living room, their lines are reminiscent of more transitional pieces, but are definitely simpler, not overworked with detail.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THIS DESIGN PROJECT? I love the matte black room with the embellished steer head. I think this really just speaks to what the space is about, it’s really this muted space with little embellishments throughout. If you keep in mind the whole space is really just 4 colors.
WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE(S) YOU RAN INTO WITH THIS PROJECT? I KNOW REBECCA HAS A LARGE COLLECTION OF SHOES… Yes, storage was (one of the) biggest issues. In the bedroom we had to bring in two gray stained wood mirrored front cabinets (not shown) without making the space feel cluttered. I didn’t want giant armoires or cabinets everywhere. It would have taken the fun out of the space.
I ALSO LOVE YOUR USE OF SUBTLE (AND MIXED!) METALLIC ACCENTS. CAN YOU TALK A BIT ON HOW YOU SUCCESSFULLY INCORPORATED GOLD, SILVER, AND BRASS FINISHES THROUGHOUT THE SPACE? Again with the color scheme, it was really black, white, pink and metallics. The way to make this work without it looking like a cheap nightclub or a space for a corporate event is to layer variations of those colors in the space.
When you design using the rule of 3—you have to have 3 items of the same color in the space, it helps in mixing. So for instance, in the living room there are only 3 copper items—the side table, the lamps count as one, and the dish on the coffee table.
When you think of things in 3 it helps you add the right amount of that one color in the space and it keeps you from doing too much, like even making the bookshelves copper, that would have been overkill.
WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITE PIECE IN THE HOME? I’m obsessed with the coffee table. From afar, it looks like a just a big black box, but up close, it has these ridges that give it that little extra bit of detail. It was definitely a splurge item.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY OF THIS DESIGN PROCESS? Rebecca was great to work with, she was really trusting and if I thought something was going to work she would let me run with it, besides the color scheme, she kinda was open to us really pushing the envelope. Also, she moved to San Francisco from Beverly Hills with nothing (with the exception of the living room rug) so we basically had to start from the ground up, which was fun, but we had to put the space together in 2 months, so there were some items we wanted and we couldn’t get because it would take too long. We were pleased with outcome regardless.
This interview has been edited and condensed.