Combine a young artist with an eye for fine art and a designer who's unafraid of bold colors, and you're guaranteed to get a space that's entirely fearless and bold. When Quinn, 28, an artist and clinical psychology graduate student, purchased her West Hollywood condo, it hadn't been updated in decades—the kitchen was small, pokey and windowless, and the space lacked both vibrancy and modern convenience. In order to transform the bland space into an apartment that would reflect her eclectic taste, she called on the help of Caitlin Murray, principal at Black Lacquer Design.
"I geeked out over how positively responsive Quinn was to all of my suggestions that might take other clients a bit of convincing to digest," the designer told MyDomaine. "Quinn had a few amazing pieces of art, but otherwise, the project was carte blanche." Taking hints from West Hollywood's glam nature and her client's impressive art collection, she was able to create a space that was bold and eye-catching. Take the tour and get a taste for bold décor at its best.
Being a color lover, Caitlin Murray found her ideal client in this young artist, who eagerly approved all of the designer's bold choices: "It's hard for me to deny color, especially when it comes to a client with such a creative soul," she explains. "I like to build the color scheme for all rooms in a project at the same time so there's an interesting atmosphere throughout. For Quinn's place, I wanted to choose colors that were complicated and sophisticated yet youthful and vivid. I think this worked well by balancing those more saturated selections with sufficient black accents and crisp white walls."
Beyond mixing colors, the designer masterfully used her knowledge of design to mix important statement pieces with budget finds to create a high-low mix for her client: "I wanted this space to reflect Quinn entirely in both form and function," she says. "It's her grown-up bachelorette pied-à-terre, so I thought it should be highly personal and luxe without being too serious. Her personality exudes both whimsy and sophistication, and she's incredibly artistic. I think we did a good job representing that throughout the condo by pulling in special pieces from important designers, vintage gems, and celebrated artists as well as basics from retailers like Anthropologie and CB2.
It was a true high-low approach."
"The old layout of the kitchen kept it separate and enclosed, which eliminated the source of natural light and felt a little isolated," says Murray. "We took out a wall and created a peninsula to include it as part of the main living space instead. I wanted the feeling to be understated but pretty—not too girly and not too glam, but still fresh and interesting."
For the cabinets, the designer chose a moody gray color that would tie in nicely with the adjacent white walls and black ceiling: "The cabinets are a moody army gray that pulls out a bit of a color in the countertop veining (which is Calacatta Gold by Silestone). I accented the cabinets with gold fixtures, so there was a nice balance between understated and glam. Since it's an open floor plan, I wanted the kitchen to flow with the rest of the space and not overwhelm it."
"Since no walls separate the living and dining spaces, it was important for them to work in tandem," says Murray. "I knew that we would want to use the zones as opportunities to showcase art that Quinn already had in her collection, as well as pieces sourced specifically for the overall design. Because we were working with several existing art pieces, I saw this as an opportunity to create lots of layers and evoke an eclectic, unexpected vibe. I incorporated that concept by playing with scale, contrast, texture, and color to create a combination of pieces that feels collected over time yet curated in a way that creates a common narrative. I love how the living room evolved. The jewel-tone velvet sofa with the Prada fur throw, the gorgeous antique Persian rug, the oversize Atollo lamps layered in front of midcentury sconces—if feels random yet connected."
In the next room, a multipurpose layout was created to serve multiple roles: "The den acts as a flex space—guest room, art studio, cocktail and conversation enclave, reading nook," explains Murray. "It also serves as a gallery for Quinn's favorite artwork in her home: a Richard Mosse print titled 'Hombo Walikale.' I like the juxtaposition that this piece both inherently conveys and creates within the design of the room."
Because the guest bathroom lacked natural light, Murray decided to infuse a little sunshine by going full Hollywood glam: "Thanks to the peculiar layout, this jack-and-jill is one part powder room and one part guest bath. Since it's windowless, I wanted to go bright and bold with the design. The punchy coral walls bring a cheerful element while the high-contrast black and white details make the room feel tailored and somewhat stately."
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"The goal for the design of Quinn's master bedroom was for it to feel airy and inspiring," says the designer. "We had the opportunity to break away a bit from the more dramatic vibe of the common areas since the bedroom is totally divided. The wallpaper became the jumping-off point for the design, and everything was filled in around that. Midway through the project, Quinn created these funky spin-art pieces with renowned artist Damien Hirst, and I felt like the most impactful way to display them was as a collection. They worked perfectly with the pale peach wall and are both quirky and sentimental."
Murray went moody in the master bathroom, which is also windowless: "Here we faced the same issue: lack of natural light," she says. "It's always harder choosing colors when there is no natural light, and for this room, I wanted things to feel super feminine, fresh, and fun while also complementing the color palette of the adjoining bedroom. I worked to strike a balance between modern and vintage through penny round tiles, a sinewy chandelier, high-gloss white punctuations, brushed-gold details, clean lines, and an ethereal watercolor wallpaper."
When we asked Murray to describe her decorating style, she replied that she didn't have just one specific style, but rather that she adapted to her clients' taste and adapted it with her knowledge, her current inspiration, and a bit of trial and error: "I would say there's an ongoing theme of cultivated caprice," says Murray. "I can't explain the design choices I make; I just know that they're right to me and I'm thrilled when someone else agrees. Still, my work is a culmination of everything I've learned along the way—from school, mentors, design idols, clients, trial, and error.
I think that sometimes less is more, and sometimes more is more. I love designing rooms that have souls, stories, pieces that you keep discovering once you think you've taken it all in—and spaces that just feel good to inhabit."