5 Questions with Black Lacquer Design

We spoke with Caitlin Murray, CEO and Founder of Black Lacquer Design, on how she creates unique and timeless spaces and the importance of color.

Photos courtesy of Black Lacquer Design

6 Minute Read


1. All of your designs are so unique and fresh—tell us more about your playful, chic, glam yet cozy signature style. How is this reflected in some of the tile choices for your projects?

Thank you so much! I love hearing that feedback because those are adjectives I definitely aim to demonstrate in all things design. I appreciate any opportunity to incorporate unexpected elements by way of materials in a project, which makes working with tile really fun. Ann Sacks has such a fabulous selection of unique options with so much ability to customize, and this totally speaks to me. I like to do things in ways I haven’t seen done before while avoiding anything too trendy. These tenets help me achieve spaces that feel both timeless and fresh.

2. You use so many unexpected colors and patterns in your designs in such interesting ways. What are some of your favorite ways to use color?

Color is everything to me! When done well, it can really inform on how to feel, and above all, I want my work to feel good. In my opinion, no color is a bad color—it’s all about application. I let my clients’ personalities and the inherent architecture of their spaces guide my selections and I get excited about trying combinations I’d never previously considered before a current project. I like to think I use color the way an abstract painter might; to create depth, balance, emphasis, proportion, rhythm, movement, and variety.

3. Do you ever get in a design rut? If so, where do you look for inspiration?

The only time I find myself at a slight loss for inspiration is if the task itself lacks it—and then I know it’s not a good fit for either me or the client. This is super rare because generally, our projects are amazing! To jumpstart a solid concept, it always helps me to find a pattern and/or color palette I’m excited about and build the rest of the design out from there.

4. The art and vintage accessories you select for your projects are incredible. Where do you start with accessories and how do you make sure they all work together?

Creating a space is all about building it out in layers, so I always begin with anything that will be installed during construction (like tile!). From there, it’s fixtures, large pieces of furniture, secondary pieces of furniture, rugs, and art. Accessories are the last to be selected but some of the most important elements for adding that cozy, soulful layer that makes a space feel complete. I like to source a mix of vintage and new pieces to make the room feel like it’s been slowly curated and collected over time, not staged or styled.

Going vintage has the added bonus of being sustainable and an investment in pieces that actually appreciate in value, versus something popular and mass-produced that might end up in a landfill five to ten years from now. To help vintage and contemporary pieces coexist, I ensure that both are special and of high quality. From there, it's all about the variety—you want to have different sizes, shapes, and functions when it comes to smalls. Think a combo of sculptures, trays, vases, books, baskets, and oddities.

5. What is a tile collection of ours you haven’t used yet that you are dying to try?

I’m really looking forward to trying out some of the new Ann Sacks marble mosaics!

April 20, 2022

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