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 dream living room

I was recently asked by someone, “if I could design my dream living room, what would it look like?”  Hmmm.  I must admit I’m pretty dang happy with the living room I have now, but hey, let’s just dream…and remember in a dream there is no budget! Continue reading

Little White Beach Bungalow: second story

In last week’s blog post I finished the tour of the downstairs of our beach bungalow. The upstairs consists of 3 bedrooms and a full bath.  Although having just one bathroom isn’t ideal, there are usually only one or two of us there at any given time. And the bathroom had been nicely renovated with a skylight to bring in lots of natural light. Continue reading

little white beach bungalow: part deux


Welcome to another peek of our Connecticut beach bungalow.  As I mentioned in my last blog post, the previous owners of our home had done extensive renovations, nowhere more apparent than in the kitchen. Would I have done a few things differently?  Perhaps… Continue reading