Light, dark, subtle, or stark—we never shy away from proper use of color. That’s why we’ve brought you the sixth annual Life in Color contest, in partnership with Paintzen and PPG Paints. Many of Dallas’ finest designers submitted their most colorful spaces—from punchy kitchens to soft bedrooms and bright dining rooms to bold powder baths. It was a tough decision, but 12 finalists made it onto our online voting platform, where the power was placed in your hands. And you can feel good about your vote, too: For each vote cast, Dwell With Dignity—a nonprofit dedicated to creating homes for families overcoming homelessness—received a donation. Both our readers’ choice winner and editors’ choice winner were recognized at the Design Center Wine Walk on October 30 and received a $500 gift card toward a Paintzen paint job. Now it’s your turn to gawk over these rich spaces and translate the designers’ inspirational work into your own home.
Readers’ Choice Winner
Angel Rivera’s home isn’t short on color—amethyst reigns in the breakfast room; emerald in the living room. But in the kitchen, where the designer often entertains, she decided to go boldly in a different direction. “I have always loved black interiors,” says the Dallas native, who credits years living in New York City with her affinity for ebony. So she doubled down on black, confident the room’s open floor plan and natural light would keep it from feeling small. She started with the countertops—a Grigio Carnico marble from Aria Stone Gallery—then chose complementary finishes that wouldn’t compete with the stone’s intricate veining. Rivera couldn’t be happier with the results. “We wanted it to be different,” she says. “I wanted people to walk in and say, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen a kitchen like this before.’ ”
Rivera’s Tips for Going Bright and Bold:
Start with Art
Art is a great jumping-off point for color. Rivera recommends finding tones your eye is drawn to within a piece and pulling from there: “Start with an accent pillow. And if you think you can go bolder, bring in some fun chairs.”
Color and pattern don’t have to be in your face to make an impact. “If you’re nervous, do a pattern on the back of a chair and a solid on the inside,” Rivera says.
Small Room, Big Statement
Curious about color but scared to make the leap? Look to your powder bath. “It doesn’t have to flow with the rest of the house,” Rivera says. “You can go really bold with wallpaper, tile, paint, or a lacquered vanity.”
The Tie that Binds
It’s fine to have different color schemes in different rooms, but Rivera recommends keeping some things consistent: “We carried black throughout the house in the millwork so there’s a cohesive element tying everything together.”
Be True to Yourself
While Rivera likes to push clients outside their comfort zones, she says knowing your limits is key: “If you’re a person who is just always going to feel best with neutral hues, a black kitchen will probably give you anxiety. It has to be true to who you are.”
Editors’ Choice Winner
Designer Doniphan Moore had a clean slate when his Bluffview clients asked him to transform their empty attic into a multimedia family space. What he created was a kitchenette, wet bar, and media center that may as well be a London club. To start, Moore looked to his client’s personal style and one famous British designer. “I was inspired by The Connaught Bar in London by David Collins,” Moore says. To achieve that look, Moore designed seven-piece, clean-lined paneling and lacquered it with Pratt & Lambert’s “Midsummer Gale.” The overhead cabinets are finished in lacquered burlwood, creating contrast to the deep teal shade. Mixing in Waterworks hardware, Sub-Zero appliances, a Winston Churchill portrait by János Huszti, Phoenix Gallery lighting, custom wall-to-wall carpet, and marble countertops, the result is formal but approachable.
Moore’s Advice for Setting the Mood:
Carefully consider which color you want in each space, especially if you’re going for a darker, moodier tone. “Don’t just use ‘pops’ of color [like an] accent wall or one chair,” Moore says. “It’s so much more effective and it comes together more beautifully if you really commit to it. You’re creating an environment with color—it shouldn’t be an afterthought.”
Consider the Source
“Certain colors perform more beautifully on certain materials,” Moore points out. So, take the base surface into consideration when choosing shades. In this instance, Moore paneled the whole room before painting. “Smooth surfaces or museum-finish walls work best,” he says.
Shine a Light
“Those dark colors need to have really good lighting,” Moore says. In this room, Moore used about 30 well-hidden, low-voltage directional canned lights and relied on natural light from windows to get the color to perform. Another tip? Use a sheen finish to get that beautiful effect.