The perfect luminous white makes all the difference in creating a timeless look with ease

June 4th, 2016 by Selena Mackay


The color brilliant white gives me headaches. Not literally, of course, but figuratively as it presents many design conundrums.

Although the all-white look gained popularity in recent years — perhaps as a strong reaction against rooms with walls of many different colors — the layering of different, predominately white items can create complications.

I’m in the process of moving to a new townhome. Although my style for many years yearned for a minimalist contemporary design, I’m beginning to soften my personal look as I’m slowly but surely falling in love with the classicism of the iconic French apartment feel. This journey started on the Bellaire Home Tour a year ago, where a gorgeous residence built by Bentley Custom Homes recalled Parisian Haussmann-era buildings. The boiserie paneling frames with an updated approach? To die for.

Who was Baron Haussmann? A 19th-century French city administrator who was charged with rebuilding Paris during a period of rapid population growth. The style is unmistakable, what today is associated with the elegance of the timeless period.


From the outside, this Bentley Custom Home was a regular, traditional home. Inside? Surprise!

A black and white marble floor took me straight to the City of Lights and the apartments I had visited. The heavy wood, white boiserie and contemporary furniture — it felt like a different world all together. It had a sense of personality, history, time and place. They had picked the perfect luminous white for the boiserie.

Brilliant white, on the other hand, makes everything look dirty and dingy in comparison. When you have even slightly off-white furniture or fabrics that have aged, anything that was once white will look murky. The only way to decorate a white room is with non-white objects. Gray hues, on the other hand, are forgiving.
Why am I moving?

I want more space, and I want to entertain more. In my new townhome, the additional 1,500 square feet will surely come in handy. I fell in love with the high ceilings, the fat crown molding, the huge baseboards and — don’t judge — the elevator.

The first task: Coming up with a color palette.

Off to work!

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