Graphic Content: A Black, White, and Bold Abode

Graphic Content: A Black, White, and Bold Abode

Graphic Content: A Black, White, and Bold Abode


Homepolish designer Kevin Clark tells us how he designed a Gramercy Park studio and managed to balance bold palettes and typography art with feminine decor.

Photos by Daniel Wang

Even the most design-minded can get overwhelmed when it comes to starting from scratch. That’s when you know it’s time to call in the big guns. One savvy-but-stuck New York City-based client did just that when reached out to  Homepolish designer Kevin Clark to lend a helping hand.   

“She was about halfway through the renovation when I first met her,” Kevin recalls. “She really wanted a designer to work with to help finalize the layout, find the perfect furniture, and so on. We started out with a blank slate of only a sofa and bed—everything else we were able to add in as time went on.”

The client was beginning to form a vision, and, thanks to Kevin’s help, was able to organize and target her specific goals.

First and foremost, the pair wanted to purge the previous tenant’s rather eccentric color scheme (purple and off-white was certainly a look…) and create a space that showcased off her love of striking, yet feminine design and eye-catching typography. Structural changes, like the addition of a window seat, added a degree of coziness, while the updated color scheme was a statement in and of itself.

“We really wanted to make the space feel larger, so we went very crisp in the contrast with the color palette to achieve that,” Kevin says. “We anchored the ends of the space with the black; and added a cool gray. This way, we created a visual axis for the furniture layout. The bedroom’s barn doors were perfect to divide the alcove and we used the same sophisticated palette to make the space feel unified.”

“Clients are often so afraid to do something bold, but she was excited about it,” divulges Kevin. “The black really anchored the space and provided the stark contrast we needed to make the apartment feel larger. Personally, I am never afraid of black; it’s such a great design element.”

That said, black doesn’t mean dark and dreary. On the contrary, this daring space was softened by personal accents and glamorous, lady-like details. In addition to the client’s already-stellar art collection, she and Kevin opted to throw in accolades and memorabilia as design objects, whether they were Emmy awards (multiple, we might add) or a long-curated collection of matchbooks.

One portion of the space that especially stands out is the entryway–a petal-pink door and metallic circular rug are risks, but pay off perfectly. In Kevin’s opinion, “The round rug is perfect to ground the chandelier, and our console moment really helps make it feel like its own space.”

The eye-catching elements were limited in the bedroom, to create a peaceful place for the client to relax. Instead of going for big statements, the space was designed with an eye to scale and subtlety. 

“It was really about utilizing all the square footage,” said Kevin. “We added a small vanity, and had the idea to use a wall mounted shelf as a nightstand, which allowed us to keep the whole floor open. The bud wall vases are always one of my favorite things to add into a space because it’s a delicate touch that doesn’t take up too much space. A few colorful pieces of art, and the space was complete.”

View additional photos and sourcing information in the gallery.