Raise your hand if you’ve ever been intimidated by transitional design. Raises hand.
Meshing different styles to create a cohesive, unique whole is no easy feat. Without a skilled, practiced designer guiding the process, a room might just end up looking like its having an identity crisis rather than achieving a carefully curated and collected aesthetic. But when done right, transitional designs are layered, character-filled, and bespoke – a creation that better fits the specific nuances of a family, more than any one style ever could.
Enter this transitional home brilliantly designed and photographed by Blackband Design. Its clean, traditional architecture juxtaposed with modern furnishings becomes warm and organic through the clever use of linens, wood tones, and woven textures. Its success comes down to the attention to detail that Blackband Design’s clients love them for.
With that in mind, give yourself enough time to really dig into all the golden design nuggets this home has to offer – plus some sound business advice from the husband and wife duo behind the design.
You’re a husband and wife duo leading the charge at Blackband Design. How do you split the responsibilities?
Happily married and in business together for almost 20 years now. Split responsibilities is key! Our roles are very different from one another, which keeps us each focused on our strengths and out of each other’s way. Greg runs our operations and flow of projects, while I lead the design team. Together, we manage the team and make the big decisions.
Any words of advice for other couples interested in starting a design firm together?
People ask us all the time how we’ve worked together for so long, and I say it works great because we have separate offices and the same bed…ha!
Blackband Design specializes in working collaboratively on custom, new builds. What are some of your firm’s unique strengths in this area?
Our team has a deep understanding of the home construction process and is on site to make decisions alongside our clients and the build team throughout the process. The aesthetics of design is only a small part of the process; the more important part is the attention to details. The materials, layouts, and furnishings need to be functional and suitable for the client’s lifestyle. We pride ourselves in taking the time to get to know our clients and put together a design that really works for the household while also having a unique style.
What fuels your passion for designing new homes?
Each new project is a new challenge to create something new that our clients love – it’s very rewarding creating such intimate spaces.
Who is your dream client?
Our dream client is looking for a beautiful and sophisticated design that they haven’t seen before, a space that is personalized to them. Our dream client trusts our team’s expertise, design, and process!
You have an amazing team of 18 behind Blackband Design. Can you share a bit about your journey to growing your business – when did you take the leap and hire your first employee?
That’s such a great question and one that I think about often. In the earlier days, it was just Greg and me, and we got so busy, but we were afraid to hire that first person. We waited a long time before we hired our first employee, but after we finally did, we quickly hired another five employees.
Honestly, the hiring process is one of the hardest parts of being a small business owner. I like to believe I trust my gut, but sometimes I get it wrong, and I have to remember to hire the right person for the right position.
Do you have any tips for other creatives in the hiring process?
Have a strong understanding of what you need help with and that your candidates have the right skills for the job.
Providing a thought-out job description keeps your and the candidate’s expectations on the same page.
We peeped several amazing, vintage rugs used throughout this project. What are some of your favorite places to source these beauties?
The vintage rugs bring depth and character to the perfectly new home. We love this mix of old and new. We look for beautiful mixes of colors, interesting patterns, and quality weaves when sourcing rugs.
How can you tell when you’ve found an authentic, high-quality vintage rug?
Reputable rug dealers are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to heirloom quality rugs. The fibers, weaving methods, and patterns can all be very specific to certain styles, sources, and history.
There’s lots of rich texture happening in the vanity area of the bathroom. Can you talk more about how you like to play with materiality and layering in a space?
Taking advantage of wall space is an important part of the design that doesn’t take up extra real estate, especially in smaller spaces like bathrooms. Simple color-blocking with contrasting tones and texture was used to create drama in this bathroom. The smooth metal disks of the mirror have an iridescent effect, picking up some of the surrounding lighter, brighter hues. The mirror is layered on the glossy pitted glaze of the tile for a tone-on-tone look. Reeded details on the vanity add dimension and interest to the stain-grade cabinetry.
All-white kitchens will never go out of style, but designing one with a fresh spin can be a challenge – which you accomplished beautifully here! What steps can someone take to infuse a distinctive look in an all-white kitchen?
We’ve got to give a shout out to Graystone Custom Builders and our clients for collaborating on this beautiful, classic kitchen. In general, we believe that leaning into the colors found in nature lead to a timeless design. Here, the countertops have a natural tone to them that soften the crisp, white cabinetry. Stain-grade wood tones were also incorporated, grounding the design with their natural grains (opposed to the sleek, matte finish of paint).
Topping off your design with the jewelry of hardware and light fixtures is where you can get more personal. These elements bring unique character to your classic foundation and are much easier to switch out down the line, if needed. Here, we also added fun barstools in a green mudcloth print, and we love the punch of personality they bring.
If you had to describe your design style like a cocktail, what would it be?
A strong drink that goes down easy…
But if you’re taking orders…an Espresso Martini for Wendy and a Sazerac for Greg, please!
What does a well-lived home mean to you?
A well-lived home to me means to be surrounded by things that bring you joy. It’s a livable, functional, and personal space that works for the people using it. My favorite spaces bring people together to make memories and reflect on fond times.