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Home fashions: All there in black and white

Kim Radovich, of Kim E. Courtney Interiors and

Kim Radovich, of Kim E. Courtney Interiors and Design, says she bought her Huntington Bay house because of the black and white marble checkerboard floor in the entry foyer. Credit: Courtney Interiors and Design / Oleg March

Take a look around, and you'll see black-and-white clothing in shop windows everywhere. Now it seems that the classic contrasting color combination has made its way into home design, from textiles to accessories to furniture to entire room designs.

"Black and white is elegant and creates total impact," says designer Anthony Baratta, who owns the Anthony Baratta Bespoke Decorating Shop in Westhampton Beach.

Here's a selection of black-and-white Long Island rooms that are on-trend.


The owners of this Centre Island home took their design cue from a decorative black-and-white box by MacKenzie-Childs. Areas of the house use black and white as a backdrop, including the kitchen. Starting with a black-and-white floor, Huntington Bay designer Toni Sabatino went on to paint the wooden mantel, cabinetry and millwork white while choosing black counters, stools, table, chairs and hardware. The light fixture continues the theme with black Schonbek crystal accents. The cabinets were adorned both with black knobs and MacKenzie-Childs black-and-white knobs with gold rims.

"Black and white's simple contrast works with almost any mood, whether romantic or modern," says Sabatino, principal of Toni Sabatino Style. Better yet, she adds, "it allows people to become the color" in a space.


For a room in the most recent Project Design show house at the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island in New Hyde Park, the partners at Contents for the Home in Plainview chose assorted black and ivory patterned fabrics to inject an element of "fun" into the space, a bedroom to temporarily house families of sick children receiving nearby medical treatment, says designer Leslie Padron, a partner in the firm with designers Susan Taubman and Gayle Moss.

"When you walk into the room, you smile," says Padron. Aqua headboards, wallpaper and bed skirts add a soothing effect. "Black and white provide a sophisticated upbeat ambience for young and old alike," she says.


Huntington Bay decorator Jackie Higgins says she found the inspiration for the bathroom she designed at the Mill Neck mansion hosting this year's Home Is Where the Heart Is show house (a benefit for the Long Island Chapter of the American Heart Association, which runs through May 31), in the "beautiful black marble with white veining" of the floor and tub surround.

She says she began by honing the marble to make it matte, then adding reflective elements to offset the severity of the black. A silver-leaf orb chandelier hangs from the ceiling, and there is a silver-leaf, starburst mirror mounted on the existing mirror on the tub enclosure. To emphasize the angularity of the space, she says, she added such architectural elements as a bust and a mirror framed with stylized pyramids. Finally, a Robert Allen fabric with black, white and a touch of silver ties the layers together.


Who would have thought that black and white would work in a nursery, a room usually awash in pastels? But Susan Calabria, principal of Noli Design Interiors in Cold Spring Harbor, says that when she needed to make a former maid's room in a historic Brookville home appear larger, she chose bold black and white to make the space "pop."

The main statement is a hanging black bassinet framed by an eye-catching white canopy. She balanced the window treatment with a black cornice and white Roman shade, but softened the effect with a calming aqua wallpaper.


Taking his inspiration from the "great cinematic films of the '40s," Anthony Baratta, a Hamptons and Manhattan-based designer with a shop in Westhampton Beach, says he uses a black-and-white palette for creating either glamorous, sweeping interiors or small cozy spaces. When he designed a hall in the East Hampton home of his partner, Bill Diamond, Baratta says they both wanted a "divergence from all the color that surrounded us during our careers."

There's a Windsor-style, hooped-back bench, which he painted black to create "a striking silhouette." To loosen up the traditional Hamptons cottage, he created a "super playful" abstract floor pattern.


Kim Radovich of Kim E. Courtney Interiors & Design says she bought her Huntington Bay house because of the black-and-white marble checkerboard floor in the foyer. Although the house was built in 1906, it was renovated at the height of the Art Deco period in the '30s, when black and white was a popular.

She says she wanted the center hall to "wow." So for the white half of the color partnership, she painted the redbrick walls a crisp white and installed imposing crown moldings. For the black aspect, she painted the red mahogany fireplace with a black satin finish, had a black marble top made for a vintage French console, hung a bronze neoclassical chandelier with black glass and arranged two Empire pedestals to flank the double French doors. "I love the yin and yang of black and white," she says.

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