The Power of Paint

designer barbara westbrook


For an odd, L-shaped powder bath with tall ceilings, designer Barbara Westbrook chose to cover the walls in Sherwin Williams’ daring “Lamp Black” paint, making the space more intimate. “Powder rooms should be dramatic,” says Westbrook. A focal point of the space is the assortment of framed oils that line one of the walls, their gold frames seemingly glowing against the black background. Working with such disparate elements takes experimentation–even for a professional. “We held up contemporary artwork,” says Westbrook, “but the oils looked better in the space. You have to have artwork that creates a little life.”

Westbrook says that lighting is also critical when working with dark colors. Overlighting a space is a common offense. If it’s a dark, moody room, go with it; don’t force it into something it’s not. “The lighting is there to enhance the mood,” she adds.

In lieu of a mirrored wall above the vanity, the designer chose an overscale hanging mirror to keep the space from feeling overdone. And to continue to offset the dark color, balance was key. Cream-colored, half-inch mosaics lighten the floor, while a sexy vanity–an Italian walnut console–keeps the room from being cramped, which could have been the case with a built-in piece. “By keeping the piece leggy, you have the illusion of more open space,” says the designer.

Paintings from Avery Fine Art, (404) 266-8880, and Madison Gallery, ADAC,  (404) 816-4033. Sink, Waterworks, (404) 266-1080. Mirror, Regalo Antiques, (404) 237-4899.

Barbara Westbrook, Westbrook Interiors, (404) 355-9430.


designer joy mclean


Designer Joy McLean loves a cozy, inviting bedroom. In this master suite, a soft celadon background (Benjamin Moore’s HC-115/”Saybrook Sage”), is complemented by muted blues and creams and soft-textured fabrics for a soothing, restful environment.

“It’s important that the master bedroom not be too feminine,” says McLean. Of course, there are soft touches, such as the scalloped Lee Jofa ottoman in lieu of a wood cocktail table, but ruffles and frilly flourishes have been banished. McLean collaborated with local artisan Ray Goins to create a one-of-a-kind cornice above the windows. He also designed an Italian-inspired panel that hangs above the bed, which served as the inspiration to add in more color to the room–softer, dusty corals and the blues.

A combination of textures and patterns abound on the ottoman, sofa and bed ensemble, as well as on the wall of windows that are flanked by silk panels.

“As with all my rooms, the space should be comfortable, cozy and elegant, yet still understated,” says McLean. “First and foremost, people should want to come in and stay. It’s about ambiance.”

All fabrics, sofa and ottoman through Lee Jofa, ADAC, (404) 812-6995. Nineteenth-century empire-style bronze and crystal chandelier, Travis & Company, ADAC, (404) 237-5079. Louis XV cherry commode, circa-1780, Holland & Company, ADAC, (404) 233-2091. Rug, Stark, ADAC, (404)266-8959.

Joy McLean, Joy McLean Interiors, (404) 237-8555.


designer barbara howard


With a handful of timeless furniture pieces and the versatility of a neutral palette, designer Barbara Howard uses her quick-change artistry to transform this dining space from formal to fun–not once, but three times. Whether it’s for an elegant dinner party or a more casual get-together, the dining room adapts with a simple change of the table skirt, china or the addition of slipcovers on the chairs. Ralph Lauren’s “Oatmeal” paint envelopes the room and makes for a quiet backdrop, regardless of the activity–even dancing!

In the daytime, the dining room is flooded with natural light from a series of floor-to-ceiling windows, making it an ideal place for reading, writing, or simply stopping to open the day’s mail.

Bronze, Corbin Bronze; Louis XV-style chairs, Gregorius Pineo; Volute dining table, Therien Studio; Blaire side table, Dessin Fournir; all through Jerry Pair & Associates, ADAC, (404) 261-6337.

Barbara Howard, Marshall Howard, Inc., (404) 370-0334.