In my quest for inspiration images to inspire my plans for redecorating my home in all black and white, I stumbled across these images from designer Thomas O'Brien's home on Long Island. Jackpot! These are exactly the examples I've been looking for to prove to myself that this palette doesn't have to be stark or cold. O'Brien's home is clean and crisp but also warm and inviting. Swoon!
The trick? O'Brien lays a mostly white foundation, places black accents throughout, then fills the middle ground with other neutrals like ecru, ash, camel and cognac. This strategically selected palette prevents the blacks and whites from feeling too high-contrast, but still allows their graphic effect to have a strong presence.
Of course varied surfaces and textures play an important role in making these interiors as successful as they are. Grey and white Carrara marble meets battered wood in painted ebony; reflective crystal offsets faded books with parchment covers.
Another element that has me in raptures? O'Brien's signature mix of traditional and iconic modern furnishings. The black Windsor chair on the left shouldn't work with the Jacobsen Ant Chair on the right. And yet against all odds, they look like the best of friends!
The last thing I noticed: hints of silver metalling sprinkled about like tiny, magical surprises. Some tarnished, some shining brightly, all wonderful. I think in my own space I'd lean towards brass--but that decision can come later. A more pressing question: Should I stain the floors super dark or bleach them super light? Thoughts?
All images courtesy of American Modern by Thomas O'Brien.