November 17, 2015
Danielle Colding Brings Uptown Flair to a South Harlem Apartment
Together, a young interior designer and a young couple transform a plain white box with color, form, and lots of uptown flair.
by Alexander Polabov interior designer Danielle Colding photographer James Ransom
A MEETING OF THE MINDS
Perhaps no six words from prospective clients strike more fear into the hearts of interior designers than, "I have ideas of my own." Fortunately, those six words have exactly the opposite effect on the exuberant young designer Danielle Colding. "I actually like when my clients have strong opinions," Colding says with a warm laugh. "It presents an extra challenge, gives me something to bounce off of, and inspires me." Good thing, too, because the young, adventurous, fashion-forward couple who hired Colding to help them design their new, three-bedroom apartment in South Harlem had plenty of ideas of their own—as well as a trove of beloved furnishings and objects they'd collected on their worldly travels.
While one can safely say that the walls in ninety percent of lofts and apartments throughout New York City are painted one of countless available shades of white, the distaff side of this couple quickly let it be known that white walls "bored her to tears."
The couple originally wanted to coat the offending white walls in the open-plan living room/dining room/kitchen with a textured concrete, but this proved prohibitively expensive. Digging deep into her resources book, Colding found a wallpaper from Sonia's Place that exactly mimicked the "chill" grey color and slightly rough texture the client was looking for. "This muted grey," says Colding, "supplemented by burgundy, ocher, and blue accents, provided the basis for the color palette used through most of the apartment."
When it came to designing the guest room the wife was very clear: she wanted strong, high-contrast colors, a very different approach from the muted palette of tones used in the rest of the apartment. After much deliberation, she and Ms. Colding arrived at the most high-contrast color scheme you can get, black and white: stark, glamorous and, yes, with a nod to the neighborhood's chicest of chic ideals, the Cotton Club in the 1930s.
Since the apartment was originally designed, the couple has had a child. Their swank black-and-white guest room has now morphed into a nursery piled high with the usual plethora of brightly colored plastic toys. Though convention has it that a black-and-white color scheme is definitely not suitable for a nursery, black and white it remains. If environment matters, one suspects this baby is going to grow into a very interesting child.
The black-and-white guest room is furnished with a lively assortment of varied textures and striking forms. The deeply textured wool flokati, which the clients brought with them to their new digs, provides high contrast to the sleek, metal-legged sofa from BoConcept and nail-head-trimmed end tables from Bungalow 5. The clients' own modern curvilinear sculpture on the windowsill and the riff on classical curves of the black plastic lamps from Kartell soften the room's sharp geometries.
In the living room, an updated wing chair fronts the low-slung credenza; textured wallpaper is from Sonia's Place.
A custom, Moroccan-inspired headboard brings the couple's travels home.
Left: Chairs from ABC Carpet & Home nest at a dining table from B&B Italia. Right: A velvet-covered settee in the master bedroom.
Kitchen bar stools pull up to a Caesarstone countertop.