There’s no denying that black and white interiors pack a visual punch. Strong contrasting elements, crisp definition of forms, and the dramatic push-pull of light and shadow all create the basis for a dynamic experience. The look is timeless, harking back to classic black-and-white Roman mosaic floors, while also evoking modern minimalism. Black and white interiors require a deft hand with pacing, to avoid monotony, and bold, brilliant choices for accessories, art, and textiles, with special attention to texture, which naturally becomes a marquee player in pared-down color palettes. Attention to balance is of paramount importance, because positive and negative space are defined with intense clarity. Striking or serene, layered or pristine, these rooms by 10 top interior designers are united by their chic appeal.





Suzanne Lovell Inc.’s Acanthus Award-winning restoration and modernization of a 1923 apartment by leading Chicago architect Howard von Doren Shaw includes this stunning and dramatic library. The original English oak millwork was ebonized to match the circa-1912 Dagobert Peche large scale, cubic-form ebonized walnut bergéres, inlaid with Bakelite and produced for the Austrian Villa of Toscana Gmunden; acquired from Bernd Goeckler. The sofa was designed after an example by Josef Hoffmann at Palais Stoclet in Brussels. A circa-1920 gray and white striated marble coffee table on scrolling bronze support is by Edgar Brandt, above which hangs a circa-1940s Venini & Co “diamante” textured glass pendant; both were acquired from Bernd Goeckler. Suzanne Lovell Inc., with Orley Shabahang, designed the black and taupe silk custom carpet after eminent French Art Deco designer Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann. The narwhal tusks that flank the fireplace were acquired by the clients during one of their trips abroad. Photo by Eric Piasecki





Sasha Bikoff transformed a typical contemporary country home with massive stacked stone fireplaces, heavy moldings and pockets of dark, dull space into a chic, glamorous flowing expanse. The clients wanted a home infused with their fashion-forward city aesthetic that would also serve as a setting to display the artist wife’s abstract paintings. Sasha answered with a contemporary, edgy take on a Hudson Valley getaway that references the surrounding scenic beauty in subtle ways. Painting the fireplace white created the effect of abstract sculpture while retaining the stone’s original surface. The rug is patterned after a pebbled river bed, the craggy-textured coffee tables are formed from volcanic pumice stone, and a pair of armchairs offer repose on cloud-like poufs of Tibetan lambswool.  The chaise is vintage 1970s Milo Baughman, draped with a custom silver fox throw;  a sectional sofa by Francesco Binfaré encloses the seating group.  Lindsey Adelman’s Atomic Branching Chandelier adds architecture and volume while keeping a light, spacious feeling.  At left, a painting by the client provides the singular chromatic note. Photo by Patrick Cline





The living/dining space in a Gramercy Park triplex by Sara Story is composed of beautifully balanced contrasting elements, beginning with a staircase built of black treads and translucent glass risers, and black steel stringer. White Venetian plaster walls alternate with  full-height ebonized doors and black steel-framed windows. At the rear, a custom sliding door constructed of glass tubes encloses the kitchen while allowing light to filter through. The furnishings are sleek in profile and lush in texture: a white velvet Osvaldo Borsani lounge chair, and charcoal leather and mohair covered sofa, with a 1930s industrial coffee table from Wyeth. Niels Otto Møller dining chairs surround a claro walnut slab table embellished with brass butterfly joints. Photo by Eric Laignel






Drake/Anderson created a cosmic vibe in a midtown pied-a-terre with repeating circle motifs and a starkly edited palette. Left: in the foyer, the Halo Chandelier is by Paul Loebach and the photorealistic painting is by Damian Loeb, from his series on celestial bodies. The walls shimmer with a custom shagreen from Edelman Leather, the floor is ebonized oak and the rug is by Kyle Bunting. The chrome-leg bench is a design by Paul M. Jones, American interior designer and creator of custom pieces for the likes of Billy Baldwin, Dorothy Draper, Mark Hampton and Parish-Hadley.  Right: Lindsey Adelman’s custom Branching Bubbles chandelier floats above a dining table with mesmerizing veining. The triptych by John Noestheden Burnham Volume 1, 2 and 3, embodies the otherworldly theme quite literally — it’s rendered in acrylic and “stardust” — ground meteorite, lunar dust and diamond dust.  Photos by Marco Ricca





A life-size Ivory Coast Senufo bird stands sentinel in Sandra Nunnerley’s Upper East Side living room, presiding over the expanse of its twelve-foot ceilings and bleached oak floors. Anchoring the room is Richard Serra’s imposing My Curves Are Not Mad, with a scale and depth that creates an architectural presence in the room. A Billy Baldwin-style slipper chair is positioned for enjoying the fireplace. Reflected in the mirror, the sculptural six-arm 1940s chandelier by Jean Royére illuminates the room. Photo by Emily Andrews






Fawn Galli makes magical rooms in black and white. Left: Four decades of cool: Op Art and flower power meet Keith Haring in an Upper East Side bedroom. The cosseting Womb Chair and ottoman are a Knoll classic, designed by Eero Saarinen in response to Florence Knoll’s request for “a chair that was like a basket of pillows.”  Right: A vintage Florian Schultz Double Pousa counterweight pendant lamp hangs over a contemporary custom ebonized mahogany dining table inspired by 1960s Italian design. The black chairs are designed by Tom Dixon; the white chairs are vintage Italian Modernist from Karl Kemp Antiques. The artwork is a custom commission by Ellen Harvey. Photo by Richard Powers





Chic and sleek, but not austere: overlooking the High Line in West Chelsea, Bennett Leifer devised a monochromatic, elegant decor with low profile furnishings to keep the emphasis on the city views. Blackened-steel window frames are a focal point, defining the view in daytime and disappearing into the darkness at night, leaving the lights of the city glittering beyond.  A request from the homeowner to avoid rounded forms was honored with strong silhouettes: a custom tufted velvet sofa from Las Venus by Kenneth Clark, and a pair of vintage Milo Baughman velvet armchairs. An Italian smoked glass cocktail table composed of four conjoined modules repeats the geometry of the window frames, strengthening the design theme. Photo by Marco Ricca





Famous for her exuberant use of color, Amy Lau shows she can do anything, as evidenced by this lyrical dining room. Whirling, twirling, serpentine shapes contrast with boxy grids and angular profiles in this fantastic composition of black and white. Spanning ten feet across, an eight-armed “Octopus” chandelier by Achille Salvagni bathes the scene in warm light filtered through its onyx shades. A celebration of organic form and the artistic process, the one-of-a-kind Lumenoria dining table by Irish furniture artist Joseph Walsh is crafted with a black pigment-dyed ash base and an amber cast resin top. A pair of his 3-legged Enignum II chairs are positioned at the head and foot of the table, mated with a half dozen of Gio Ponti’s 1957 design classic, the Superleggera chair. The walls are covered in a gallery-style assemblage of black and white abstract artwork from Group ZERO, a consortium of neo-avant-garde artists with roots in the Minimalist and Italian Arte Povera movements of the late 1950s. Photo by Thomas Loof






Glenn Gissler’s design for his friend and fashion world multibillionaire Michael Kors’s Greenwich Village penthouse apartment adheres to a cool and understated palette of chrome and stainless steel, black leather, white canvas and grey flannel, espousing the Kors aesthetic of "luxury without fuss."  Left: In the entry foyer, the Barcelona daybed is by Mies van der Rohe, and, from his 1927 MR Collection, a side table of seamless tubular steel and glass. Black and white photography and a zebra hide rug complete the vignette. Photo by Thomas Loof Right: A blackened steel fireplace surround stands out as an elegantly simple shape against the pure white walls of the living room. The classics never fail – Mies van der Rohe’s 1929 Barcelona chair and ottoman are paired with Warren Platner’s iconic 1966 silvery side table, topped with a sinuous sterling silver Elsa Peretti for Tiffany Bone candlestick. Photo by Gross & Daley





Maureen McDermott of Hamptons design firm Winter McDermott is a master of the serene, minimalist beach house. In a light-filled airy Sag Harbor living room, warm and cool whites are punctuated with spare black accents. A collection of black and white photography lines a shelf and tops a bookcase, with an oversized image above the fireplace. The expanse of whites is tempered with warm metallic finishes – copper and brass light fixtures, an enormous gilt-framed mirror, and natural materials – layered hair-on-hide rugs, a bleached oak stump side table.  A pair of Warren Platner chairs in ivory backs up to the fireplace, with a pair of streamlined loveseats and steel-framed Carrera marble top coffee table to round out the seating group. Photo by Jacob Snavely