This House Shows How to Achieve a Perfect Black and White Color Scheme
What began as a straightforward project for L.A.-based designer Linda Hayslett—two kids’ bedrooms and the adjoining bathroom in a Californian home—quickly morphed into decorating an entire new build. “The homeowners mentioned in passing about wanting to redo the kitchen someday,” Hayslett explains. “So I suggested why not rip the Band-Aid off and do all of the construction at once.”
At the start, the family had only two requests: clean lines and no bright colors. Despite not being minimalists, the family wanted a relaxing and soothing space for their multigenerational home. So Hayslett instead opted for plush upholstery, ambient lighting, and patterned drapes to infuse warmth into each room. “I find that cooler tones tend to feel sterile, like an office space,” she explains. “It’s the opposite of what you want a family home to feel like.”
But even while adhering to a mostly neutral palette, she incorporated one no-holds-barred color moment in the kitchen. A layout shift left the room with a large, blank wall where a stacked set of ovens used to reside. Once they were removed, an expansive chalkboard wall took its place, covered with bright, botanical drawings—an ode to the family’s Japanese heritage—by Derrick Thomas, one of Trader Joe’s favored illustrators. To tie in those vibrant hues, Hayslett chose a two-toned paint palette for the cabinetry, which matches the veining in the Carrara marble countertops.
Longevity was also at the forefront of the design process. Not only are there teenagers in the home, but the homeowner’s mother also lives with them. Inspired by accessibility and aging in place, Hayslett’s choice for lower island seating, easy-to-grasp handles, and shower benches means that the family can stay in this home for as long as they’d like.
“People think that you have to sacrifice aesthetics when choosing functional finishings, but just because you’re getting old doesn’t mean you no longer want things to be beautiful,” Hayslett says.
Upstairs, however, takes a youthful turn. The first time kids get their own rooms is a special experience, one Hayslett really wanted to honor. “They shockingly had no opinions on their spaces,” she says, laughing. “So we went with colors and textures they could build upon and grow up with.” Storage was the primary need, so Hayslett went all out with custom built-ins, including desks, wardrobes, and shelving. “I wanted there to be a balance of it being a bedroom but also a space where they could hang out and have friends over,” she says.
Nearly three and a half years in the making—construction began on the same day as California’s stay-at-home orders in 2020—Hayslett surprisingly recounts this project as one of her most easy-going. “The owner texts me all the time saying how much this home now feels like them, like their family,” she says. “And that’s the most fulfilling thing a designer can hear.”
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