a touch of black

Way back when we bought our first home in Westport, Connecticut, I knew absolutely nothing about decorating.  My poor husband had to live through a peach sofa in our first apartment and pink and white balloon shades in the master bedroom in our Connecticut house. As if those weren’t bad enough, I purchased pink and green Laura Ashley rugs to put next to our bed. I took cute and cottagey to a whole new level.  It’s a wonder we are still married.

My mom owned a shop in Florida with a partner named Dorothy, who had been an interior designer. Everything in the store was pink and green.  I was able to go along with them on a buying trip to purchase some furniture for our new CT home,  and of course I heeded the designer’s advice…hence we lived in a very pink and green abode. While I have since purged the pink and green decor and developed my own style, there is one piece of advice that she gave me which at the time I ignored. She told me every room could benefit from a touch of black. Yuck, I thought. I didn’t want any black in my pink and green cottage!

Eventually, black started creeping into our home… a pair of antique black chairs in our entry, black candles on the mantle and vintage black picture frames. I began to understand how a bit of black could offset all that pink and green sweetness and provide some much needed contrast.

Fast forward 20 years, and a move to The Golden State. You all know by now how much I love white….walls, linens, furniture, accessories, you name it!  But even in our bright white Little Glass House, I have incorporated touches of black.

Here are just a few simple ways to add black in your own home even if you love light or bright colors.

In the kitchen, a simple black mat (soft under foot) and a striped dish towel tone down all the pretty minty green.

a touch of black
Even the black metal legs on the stool contrast with the all white island.

All of our homes past and present have a simple black chalk board. I love it’s contrast against the white walls and it’s useful!

a touch of black
Chalkboards are an easy touch of black and great for making to do lists.

Black and white photos can look great alone or as a grouping and are an easy way to add some black to your decor.

a touch of black
This photo by Tessa Neustadt is crisp and the palms are so California.
a touch of black
Black and white family photos framed alike and in a grouping can make a big impact


Our simple white brick fireplace really stands out with a fresh coat of black paint on the inside, taking it from drab to wow!

a touch of black
Black paint it an easy fix!

Black accessories, small or large, and furniture can make quite an impact…

a touch of black
Black and white pillows by Beth Dana look fresh against green throws.
a touch of black
A black belly basket from Greige Designs looks striking against large green leaves.
a touch of black
A simple antique box in an otherwise white room adds some contrast.
a touch of black
I love the pizazz the black and white dresser lends to the bedroom.
A black mirror and lamp stand out among all the blue accents in a beach condo.
a touch of black
A sleek simple almost black metal table adds a nice touch to the warm wood tones in our CT entry hall.
a touch of black
Simple black sconces and black chains on the hanging pendants are all that is needed to add a bit of flair in a beach house dining room.

Table settings can also look fresh and bold with black touches…

a touch of black
Black lanterns and a black striped linen runner make for a simple but bold table.
a touch of black
One of my favorite table settings had small black pots brimming with bright green wheat grass… a lot of impact with very little effort.

My mom also loves white and both of my parents homes are white inside and out. I convinced my mom that their newly built Vermont farmhouse would look amazing with a black front door. Hesitant at first, she pulled the trigger and we all love it…especially in the summer when it is wide open!

a touch of black
I love the touches of black in my parents entry hall and especially the black front door!

So whether you love all white spaces or a lot of color, every room can benefit from a touch of black!

3 instagrammers i love


Instagram is a wealth of design inspiration and there are oodles of talented people to follow.  On the last Thursday of each month, I will be sharing some of my favorite design accounts. Continue reading

my bathroom renovation adventure

After putting in new hardwood floors 2 years ago, I definitely wasn’t anxious for another renovation, but I finally bit the bullet and started planning my  new bathroom.  After I sorted out what I wanted to do, I reached out to my friend John Henderson of Apex Building & Restoration. He and his family recently moved to the Santa Barbara area and besides radon mitigation, he also does construction, plumbing, and electric.  He’s a very handy guy to know!

The bathroom is not large (just under 5′ x 10′), but I wanted to make better use of the space.  It currently had a large tub, which with the drought in California, is not something I ever use (we have 2 other bathtubs in our home). My priorities were a large walk in shower, a skylight, plank walls, and a large vanity with drawers for lots of storage. Continue reading

3 instagrammers I love


Instagram has become my favorite social media tool by far.  I have “met” some of the most creative and genuinely kind people through this medium.  I thought it would be fun on the last Thursday of the month, to share 3 accounts that not only inspire, but embody the creative beauty of their owners. Continue reading

what’s in and what’s out in 2017 (and should we care?)

After a 2 week holiday hiatus from my blog, I’m ready to jump back in.  Happy New Year to you all!  With the New Year comes the inevitable lists of trends for what we should be buying and what we should be ditching.  First off, let me start by saying that I only buy things I love…if they happen to be a trend, great, if not, that’s ok too.

Secondly, who exactly decides what’s in and what’s out?  I recently read an article on my domaine with just such a list.  For fun,  I thought I’d run through it and see where my house stood in the world of designer trends for 2017. Continue reading