The One Room Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design Will Never Forget

Luxe living room with neon Ricky Bobby quote above couch.

Design: Black Lacquer Design; Photo: Jessica Alexander

Known for bold, eclectic designs, Caitlin Murray, the founder and creative director of Black Lacquer Design, has made striking and curated spaces her business. Of all the vibrant rooms she’s designed for clients throughout the years, there’s one that will always hold an extra special place in her heart: a sophisticated but laidback lounge inside a professional race car driver’s home that she describes as “glam, playful, and cozy.”

 “This was a huge project with lots of rooms, so I really had fun giving each its own unique aesthetic—but this really rings true for the lounge,” she explains. “From vintage fixtures and lighting, incredible quartzite slabs, and bold woodwork to custom brass shelving and textural wallpaper, we incorporated so many gorgeous elements that played beautifully together.”

This space definitely helps clients see how bold design can be done in a way that still feels livable.

Modern living room with luxe wallpaper and green velvet chairs.

Design: Black Lacquer Design; Photo: Jessica Alexander

To draw attention to the decorative ceilings in the lounge, Murray painted the trims and beams in a contrasting shade of dark black, Dunn-Edwards' Black in an eggshell finish.

“Each of my projects is so closely woven to the given architecture of the space and the specific personalities of the clients,” she explains. “So, while it’s indicative of my style, it’s also an expression of who and what I was working with.” 

Neon sign with Ricky Bobby quote above couch.

Design: Black Lacquer Design; Photo: Jessica Alexander

For an eye-catching piece of art that acts as a source of ambient lighting in the lounge, Murray added a neon sign—with a funny quote from a popular Will Farrell movie—to the wall above the sofa.

“Another feature of the space is the cheeky neon sign quote,” she says. “The homeowner is a Formula 1 race car driver, so it was a perfect choice.”

Living room with coffered ceiling and black area rug.

Design: Black Lacquer Design; Photo: Jessica Alexander

To soften the bold black-and-white ceiling while highlighting the millwork on the walls, Murray painted the wainscoting in Farrow & Ball’s Oval Room Blue and employed a graphic area rug from HD Buttercup to help ground the room by tying the colors together.

“There were several rugs I had my eye on that either wouldn’t ship in time or weren’t going to work with the clients’ three pups at play,” she says. “Sometimes, sacrifices must be made in the name of function.”

Modern living space that feels moody and dramatic.

Design: Black Lacquer Design; Photo: Jessica Alexander

The only major design obstacle Murray ran into while outfitting the lounge was finding the right place to set the pool table. “We needed to incorporate a pool table that was able to flow seamlessly with the design,” she explains. “Luckily, going all custom with the piece made this attainable.”

A handful of green velvet-upholstered lounge chairs were sprinkled throughout the space, to provide strategic pops of color and plenty of comfortable seating. “It definitely helps clients see how bold design can be done in a way that still feels livable,” Murray says.

Home bar with large wall of liquors.

Design: Black Lacquer Design; Photo: Jessica Alexander

An elegant wet bar outfitted in metallic floating shelves and quartzite stone countertops supplied the room with a burst of glamour, and in turn, became one of Murray’s favorite design elements in the lounge. “The stone slabs that outfit the countertop and integrated sink are to die for," she explains. "They really informed the rest of the design for me."

Close up of barstool with tulips on counter.

Design: Black Lacquer Design; Photo: Jessica Alexander

To play up the colorful tones of the solid quartzite stone counters, Murray upcycled an old set of barstools that she sourced from 1stDibs. “The vintage bar stools that we newly refinished and reupholstered in a turquoise and gold leather were showstoppers,” she says.

Wet bar with gold barstools.

Design: Black Lacquer Design; Photo: Jessica Alexander

While the finished design of the lounge was memorable in itself, Murray says that she’s most proud of how well her team worked together to pull off the project under less than perfect circumstances. 

“We walked into this project when it was a spec house that had been about 70 percent completed, so we were tasked with collaborating with a totally new crew of developers, builders, and architects, and swapping out the initial ‘safe’ choices that were specified with totally chic and unique alternatives,” she explains. “My team did an amazing job making it all come together—managing to execute flawlessly in these situations is always a feat."

The completed project was so impactful, that Murray says the only thing she regrets is not having a photographer come to shoot the space sooner. “Honestly, I always think about how I wish we would have photographed it earlier in the day when the lighting was better,” she explains. 

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