Embracing Black… And the End of Mediocrity

My Manifesto:

I hereby declare that I will no longer appease the utter blandness of the majority of the world when it comes to my home, and I vow that I will make my home how I want it* regardless of what others think. There will be no mediocrity allowed in my home. (*With the support and approval of my husband.)

This post is likely to be somewhat pivotal in the history of my blog as I am declaring war on the status-quo. Why? Because all of my life I have been, for various reasons, required to comply with the interests, likes, and dislikes of others. Or, at the very least, my own perception of what others thought about me and my sense of style.

Well…. With the exception of input from my husband…. No More!


In every home I have lived in as an adult (either rented or owned), I have had to take into consideration the fact that I will, at some point, need to move. As anyone who has known me for any length of time will tell you… I don’t simply move into an apartment, I install myself into it. Moving out isn’t simply a matter of packing a few boxes, it is a long process in which I must “un-install” myself and bring the apartment back to a status of plain. I have had harlequin diamonds painted on my walls, Roman numerals, and stripes. I have had red walls, midnight blue walls, acid green walls, and even a dark purple space. I have never been afraid of color.

This was my living room in 2002. As you can see, I have never been afraid of color. When it came time to sell, I was foolish enough to think that people would want to buy an apartment with striped walls (The ceiling was painted white), I was dead wrong.

When I have rented, I was always limited in my design decisions by the fact that I didn’t own the apartment and therefore anything I did to change it needed to be able to be undone, including the need to repaint the entire apartment white before my lease ends in order to get my deposit back (I’ve done this several times).

In the case of ownership, I have always had to keep re-sale in mind when it came to design decisions, and then when selling  my apartments, I would have had to dumb down my personal style in order to appeal to the largest pool of buyers.

This was a harsh lesson to learn in 2003 when I tried to sell my 29th floor apartment on Lake Michigan in Chicago. I had painted horizontal stripes on the walls in two shades of dark gray (it was fabulous!). Unfortunately, it took seven months of paying two mortgages to finally get a contract and close on that sale.

Lesson learned… When selling your home, paint the majority of your home white and make it as B. O. R. I. N. G. as you can.


This is a beautiful room, although I think it could use a tad bit more red.

The end of mediocrity:

As Yoav and I are settling into our new apartment we are both very clear that that this will likely be the place we spend the remainder of our days. Aside from the huge level of gratitude we have to even be able to afford such a home in Manhattan, we are constantly remarking about how much we love it, how amazing it feels to wander from room to room because we actually have rooms to wander to and from. We both see our apartment as a place where we can just grow old together, even to the point of one of us ending up in a wheelchair (we have a doorman present to help with the three steps required to enter the lobby).

As I said, I am declaring war on mediocrity, and with input (and approval) from Yoav, I am not just in the process of installing myself (and him) into this space, but we are going to make this space like none other either of us has ever inhabited. To hell with considerations of resale, it doesn’t matter if people are shocked or offended by our taste. This will be our home and you only live once… No second chances.


Stunning entry in black.

On embracing black:

The saying is, “Once you go black, you never go….” Er…. Well, read into that what you want, but I will say that over the past couple of months, I have been rediscovering my deep felt design roots and at the core is the color black (or at least nearly black colors). Over the years I have proudly displayed color in my home (most often red as previously written about here), and I have never been afraid to express my love of color with the exception of black. I’ve done charcoal gray, and a multitude of other shades of gray (hence the design of this website), but I have always shied away from black.

Black Ceilings are super sexy! Source: <a href="http://www.47parkavenue.co.uk/blog/" target="blank" >47 Park Avenue</a>!

Black Ceilings are super sexy! Source: 47 Park Avenue

Why? Partly out of concern that I can’t pull it off well, but mostly out of fear that people would think I am crazy…. What I have failed to recognize is that when it comes to something you love, it doesn’t make any difference if people think you are crazy…. Besides…. I am a bit crazy, that what keeps things interesting. My biggest fear in life (aside from the fear that I will lose touch with the goings on of the world at large) is my fear that I will become ordinary, that I stop pushing myself to explore the unordinary in life. While this is highly unlikely (according to my last therapist at least), it is still none the less a driving force within.

Beautiful Spanish style black and white kitchen with an amazing floor.

As I have been exploring my creative self more and more this past few months, I have been thinking about how I can incorporate my creative self into our new home. One of the things I love most about our new home is the the amazing bones of the space lend themselves to my new ideas. From the nearly ten foot high ceilings, to the amazing over-scaled woodwork, the architecture throughout our home begs to be taken to a higher level. Add to the mix my amazingly supportive (and very open minded) husband and I find myself getting downright giddy about all of the exciting things we can do with our home.

Black Walls, Red Chairs, White Table..... Delicious!

Black Walls, Red Chairs, White Table….. Delicious!

This includes the use of black. I had already planned to use black in our bathroom as far back as last May, but in recent weeks (months?) I have had my desire to make use of black deepen well beyond the bathroom. Black and all it’s related ilk (such as extremely dark hues of blue, purple, charcoal, etc) lend a sense of importance to a space.

Navy Blue and Black and Silver... So elegant and sleek.

Navy Blue and Black and Silver… So elegant and sleek.

I am not going to reveal just where and how yet, but be expected to be surprised by where I put black, along with a few other very dark colors. We also have some really amazing plans for bring back some of the detail that was stripped away back in the 1950s during the time the apartment was split in two (hence our half classic six).


Stay tuned!

1 Comment
  • Jule Kucera
    January 16, 2015

    Go, Devyn! Go black! And with paint, if it isn’t everything you dreamed there’s always room for another coat of something else. But with those 10 foot ceilings you’ve got a lot of room for black. Have fun!