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“We wanted the perfect combination of an older feeling house, but with clean lines and modern details,” says interior designer Caroline Sain, whose concept for the Homewood residence’s black-and-white theme began with the striking black light fixtures over the kitchen island. “That started the whole dark and light contrast for the house, and we just repeated that over and over again in just about every room,” says Caroline. To get a feel for her clients, she will often look at their Pinterest boards and Houzz accounts and zone in on one picture of one room. She says her job is to help her clients have tunnel vision and stay on the same artistic concept.


The starting point for entire home was the light fixtures over the kitchen island, which Caroline found at Southeastern Salvage for $99 each!

kitchen and living room

The kitchen, breakfast nook and living room share an open floor plan adjacent to a lovely screened-in porch.

“To me that’s what makes a house feel calm and serene, when all the spaces work together,” she says of the home’s consistent theme. “I always joke that in most of my houses, especially my own, you can pick up furniture from one room and take it to another and it would completely work in that space, too. I guess it is just more of a casual lifestyle. Not everything is formal like it used to be. Usually, when you have people over, it’s to come watch a football game. So if you need to go steal a couple of poufs from one room and a chair or two from somewhere else, you can do that, and it totally works.”

Besides the contrasting dark and light hues throughout the home, Caroline’s favorite elements are the atypical details, such as the tiles and the light fixtures. While Caroline splurges on quality hardware, molding and paneling, she also is an expert at sniffing out a great find, frequenting stores like HomeGoods. “I go in stores and look for the pieces that look like they didn’t come from that store,” says Caroline. “Most of my clients aren’t just rolling in money, so it’s all about the balance — some high-end and some great finds.”

Caroline relished the artistic freedom the clients gave her on this home. She got to make design choices that excited her. “My best houses happen when my clients trust me and recognize my expertise,” she says of the homeowners. “They were fantastic. My job is to push people out of their comfort zone a little bit, and they were so willing to step out. We just had a good, easy relationship.”

breakfast nook

The breakfast nook features muted tones from the black-and-white color family and modern tables and chairs from One Kings Lane.

breakfast nook

The family added this oversize clock, and Caroline painted the movable part of the kitchen windows a dark charcoal gray to add interest.


One of the details that Caroline loves is the hardware and the atypical horizontal placement of these cabinet handles.


“You have to have wood in a black-and-white home,” says Caroline. “When you throw in something that’s organic, it really softens the space.”


The hallway to the dining room is accented by repeated arched entryways for old-world charm. The oak hardwood floors are stained ebony.

dining room

The rug is actually a new rug, custom made for this dining room by Eighteenth Street Orientals. The mercury bell jar light fixture, custom table from Phillips Scott and mismatched chairs take this casual dining room to the next level.

plant decor

Adding natural elements takes the black-and-white space from stark to well-loved and inviting.


These European miniature antler mounts were a find that Caroline could not resist.

dining room

The Carson side chair by Serena & Lily could not be more fitting in this casual black-and-white dining room.


This striking, antique-looking bench from Nadeau in Homewood adds a timeless quality to the space.

wall decor

In keeping with the casual vibe of the dining room, Caroline propped this unframed, unmounted vintage painting atop the paneling and added naked Edison bulbs on the simple, yet lovely, satellite sconce by Schoolhouse Electric.

butler's pantry

The butler’s pantry is appropriately between the dining room and kitchen.

butler's pantry

The mirrored tile backsplash is to die for!

Moscow Mule

These copper Moscow mule cups are definitely worth displaying!

living room

The living room and kitchen are conveniently connected, so that the homeowners can enjoy time with family or conversation with guests while they cook.

Living Room

“The sofas, chairs and coffee table were existing,” says Caroline. “They were about the only things the homeowners kept from the old home.”

Cecily Hill Lowe art

The series of black-and-white art hung above the vintage locker-turned-sideboard is by local artist Cecily Hill Lowe.


The large limestone fireplace and cozy wooden elements invite you to get comfy in this den!

woven basket

This oversize woven basket is an unconventional, yet beautiful, vessel for storing firewood.

wooden elements

Wooden pieces are peppered throughout the black-and-white look, infusing the home with a rustic, well-lived-in feel.


Delicate pops of color adorn the daughter’s bathroom sink.

penny-round tiles

One of Caroline’s absolute favorite design choices is in the daughter’s bathroom, where she used black matte penny-round tiles in the shower and white gloss penny-round tiles on the floor.

penny-round tiles

The overall effect of these tiny tiles is stunning.

bathroom sink

Mercury and marble make for a gorgeous bathroom sink vignette.


The master bath is anchored by a drool-worthy freestanding tub. The shades can open from the top, flooding the ceiling with natural light.


A lovely archway frames this inviting refuge.

So don’t be afraid to use stark contrast, make unconventional choices and add natural accents as you decorate your home, because the results are positively serene and jaw-droppingly elegant!

Thank you to Beth Hontzas for today’s beautiful photography!


Designer: Caroline Sain

Builder: Slate Barganier

Paint color: Benjamin Moore White Dove

Cabinet color other than white: Benjamin Moore Kendall Charcoal

Custom dining room table: Phillips Scott

Rugs: Eighteenth Street Orientals

Tile and counters: Triton Stone

Dining room bench: Nadeau

Dining room antlers: The Nest

Bathroom and hallway lighting: Schoolhouse Electric

Most accessories: The Nest, HomeGoods

Den art: Cecily Hill Lowe


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