Classic Black and White Entryway

Designer Dahlia Mahmood used rich textiles, a glamorous chandelier and detailed archways to create this stunning classic entrance.

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Given the task to design an entryway fit for a grand estate, designer Dahlia Mahmood used a classic black and white theme to set the mood. Rich textiles, a stunning chandelier and delicate archways are just a few of the features that give this entryway an overall elegant finish.

What were the main items on the family’s wish list for the redesign of this space?

The young, high-profile couple that purchased this estate wanted a grand welcoming into their home. They emphasized that they wanted a serene color palette and an effortlessly elegant look.


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What was the single-largest issue you wanted to address for the family?

Before the redesign of the preexisting home, the walls were crowded with ornate molding painted in gold. The client was in love with the exterior of the home but grew uneasy every time she stepped into the interior. Over-the-top ornaments clouded her vision of the space. Our team, on the other hand, saw the great ceilings and the potential of the architectural elements. There definitely was beauty in this home, it just had to be rediscovered and refined.

How does the end result match up with your original vision for the space?

The client had noted that she wanted to keep the preexisting double doors because they were hand-carved walnut pieces imported from Brazil. We stood by her request but found that the doors faded in contrast to the completed interior. The color had diminished with age and had to be restored. With permission, our top-notch craftsman carefully sanded, stained and sealed the walnut, and the carvings turned out to look even richer than before.

What was your biggest obstacle in this space?

Designing this home, we decided to install large mirrors in the foyer to create the illusion of depth and reflect light from the grand chandelier throughout the open space. Mirrors at this scale, however, become very heavy, so we took extra precautions to secure them with steel brackets and a surrounding frame attached to the wall. A week after installation, Virginia was hit with its first major earthquake in years. The East Coast was shaken up, but the mirrors remained in place.

What surprised you the most about this project?

No matter the space or the size you are given to work with, there is beauty in any home, it is just a matter of finding it. Without a doubt, this home had the bones; it just needed a tremendous update. I learned to work through messy, outdated designs and bring out the best architectural qualities of a preexisting structure.

What are the hidden gems in your plan?

Upon entering the home, the foyer table becomes the centerpiece, your eye moving up to the baccarat vase of fresh flowers and to the custom, crystal rock chandelier. The client had a love of pearls and so this became the focal finish — from the Corinthian capitals to the molding wrapped around the room, every finish in the entrance was given a lustrous touch of glamour.

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