Lindsey Black started out as a physical therapist, but her dream to be an artist always stayed with her and was allowed to finally flourish as she and her husband designed and built their own home. She fell in love with the art of interior design in that process and took the leap from physical therapy to full-time interior designer. And she has never looked back. To see her work, you’d assume she’s spent years studying her craft. Her preternatural gift for creating gorgeous interiors will simply blow you away. We are delighted to introduce Lindsey Black of Lindsey Black Interiors. We asked her to describe her design aesthetic, let us in on some tricks of the trade and give us a glimpse of her stunning portfolio. We hope you enjoy!
What is your design aesthetic and how does it set you apart?
I describe my aesthetic as being comprised of thoughtful and impactful use of color, texture and pattern paired with a mix of modern and classic elements. There is flexibility within my style that is shaped by the client’s personality, interests and lifestyle.
Tell us a bit about your background and experience in design.
My background in design is atypical as I have a doctorate degree in physical therapy and practiced as a physical therapist for more than 10 years. Yet, my childhood dream was to be an artist, and I have always had a pull towards being a creative. Ultimately, it was the process of designing and building our own home that proved to me, beyond a doubt, that I wanted to do this as a career. Initially, I took on a few projects while still employed as a physical therapist, but quickly realized I couldn’t keep up with two separate careers. It was a risky decision to leave my stable job for one with no guarantees, but it has proven to be one of the greatest decisions I have made. I sincerely love what I do, and I am filled with excitement for every project I am chosen to be a part of.
Are there any trends you are loving at the moment, and, alternately, any timeless aspects of design that you cling to?
Wallpaper is back with a vengeance, and I couldn’t be happier about it. My favorite rooms to use wallpaper are the powder room and dining room, but I also like to incorporate it somewhere a bit less unexpected, such as in a bar area or on the ceiling. As for timeless aspects, I love velvet. It brings instant richness, depth and texture. I have even used it to upholster a custom theater door.
What has been your most challenging project to date and why? How did it help you grow as a designer?
There isn’t a particular project, but rather a challenging aspect of them, that I have dealt with in the past and grown from. On several occasions, I have had clients consult me after they have already made major decisions related to a project. They spent significant amounts of money on something without fully considering how it would affect the design as a whole. This puts limitations on the direction of the design and, in some cases, can prevent a client from being truly happy with the final product. This is a classic example of “throwing good money after bad.”
I have learned that before I take a project on, it’s best to be straightforward about whether I think the end result will meet the client’s expectations given decisions that have already been made. All of this can be avoided by having an initial consultation with a designer before beginning a project. Even if you don’t end up hiring them, you will likely gain guidance and advice that could save you from making an expensive mistake.
What brings you the most professional joy?
A text or email from a client expressing their satisfaction with their space, or when posed with a decision a client tells me, “You decide. I trust you.” Going through a remodel, new construction or just redecorating a room is stressful for a client, so getting the happy texts and knowing I have earned their trust brings me the greatest joy.
Do you have a favorite space in the home to design?
Every space has fun aspects to it, but I particularly enjoy designing bathrooms, because clients are often the most willing to take risks in them. You can have a big impact with a small space, and the “before & afters” never disappoint!
What is your favorite room in your home and why?
Without question, our kitchen! I love to cook, and I believe that a kitchen can, and must, be both beautiful and functional. Designing our kitchen is what carved my path into the design world, and I love it just as much today as I did the day it was completed. I remember choosing the cabinet color and showing people the color swatch, a rich shade of green — I got some very confused looks. But I stayed the course, and I am so thankful that I did! I also gained priceless experience when it comes to designing the layout of custom cabinetry in partnership with a skilled cabinet maker. I spent hours thinking about how a kitchen should work for the homeowner, right down to considering where every utensil went, before signing off on a drawing. My experience as a therapist proved useful here, as the ergonomics of the space were also considered. Ideally, you want a big kitchen that functions as a small one when cooking. I don’t have to take more than a few steps to get to my most used items, and the amount of reaching and lifting is limited by careful placement of dishes and heavy pots.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The architecture of the home is often a source of inspiration and can direct the foundation of the design style. After considering the architectural features of the space, I find that going through my library of fabric, wallpaper and tile samples is my next source of inspiration. I’ll select one item that just feels right, and everything else comes very naturally and falls into place around it. Artwork is another great source of inspiration for me, and I love when a client has a meaningful piece that can drive the design of the room.
Where do you take chances in design?
I try to incorporate at least a little of what some would consider a “risk” into every project. Whether it be a bold cabinet or wall color, patterned tile or a mix of unusual fabrics, bolder choices lead to a space that feels special and unique. If someone chooses to hire me, I want to deliver an end result that they couldn’t get by copying a look they have seen before. If my client is more risk-averse, I incorporate those bold elements into things that are easy to change and lower investment pieces, such as throw pillows and small artwork.
Who have been your industry mentors and role models and how have they inspired you?
My biggest mentor is my husband, Josh. He started his own financial planning firm, Memphis Planning and Wealth, and watching him build a successful business based on something he was truly passionate about inspired me to do the same. Ryan Anderson, owner of RKA Construction, has been tremendously helpful in educating me on construction-related topics, in addition to always giving me great business advice. Leslie Murphy of Murphy Maude Interiors has offered me priceless guidance as to how to run a successful design business. She built her business from the ground up, and both her beautiful design work and her drive to succeed are an inspiration.
If you could choose one designer to redo your home right now, who would it be?
Oh, that is so tough! But, if I have to pick just one, I’d say Paloma Contreras. Her work is always stunning and usually incorporates rich colors and fun yet classic patterns.
Share one designer secret with us regular folk.
This seems minor, but I use this trick to keep artwork hanging straight: Roll up some pieces of blue painters’ tape and put it behind the bottom corners of hanging artwork, pictures and mirrors. It prevents them from shifting and ending up crooked! Also, if you can’t find the perfect piece of furniture, consider having it custom-made. I often work with a local furniture craftsman to make one-of-a-kind pieces for projects when the “perfect” piece just doesn’t exist. The result is a product tailor-made for the space and client, and one that is sure to be an heirloom piece of furniture.
What three home decor items can you not live without?
Artwork, especially if it is by a local artist; vintage, unusual items that I find at antique malls and estate sales; and beautiful lamps and light fixtures
Hypothetical: You have to choose only three colors to use throughout your home. What are the three colors?
Black and white and a deep, moody shade of green
If you could squeeze your design philosophy into five words, what would they be?
Collected, warm, balanced, functional, meaningful
Thank you, Lindsey, for sharing your insights, inspirations and impressively diverse design portfolio. To learn more about Lindsey’s work, visit lindseyblackinteriors.com.
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