An Orange County Home That Proves the Power of Black Paint

This Southern California home from HGTV Magazine has the sleek shade to thank for its signature style.

Related To:

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

Photo By: Dane Tashima

The House

Shannon Wilkins and her husband, David, knew they wanted their Newport Beach, CA, home to stand out from the all-white interiors typical in Southern California. But they couldn’t deny that bright white paint would transform the dated rooms of the 1999 Craftsman-style ranch they bought a year and a half ago. So Shannon, a designer, whipped out her secret decorating trick: black paint. She used it on the kitchen cabinets, the walls in her office and — most prominently — the window and door trim throughout the home.

The black-and-white contrast is not only undeniably eye-catching, it’s also the perfect backdrop for Shannon’s groovy decorating style, which relies on cool vintage finds, vivid colors and worn kilim rugs. Shannon has experimented with black tile, black front doors and black grout in her clients’ homes, but she’s never had the opportunity to put the dark hue to work on a grand scale — until now. “There’s nothing scary or depressing about black,” says Shannon. “Use it the right way and it can actually emphasize all the color in your home.” 

The Family

David and Shannon with James, 3.

Family Room

Shannon and David replaced French doors with wall-spanning sliders and painted the wood trim around them black (Black by Dunn-Edwards). “It draws your eye to all the pretty greenery in the backyard,” says Shannon. To make the large room feel more intimate, she placed a colorful mix of old and new sofas and chairs around a burl wood Anthropologie coffee table. The vintage Turkish kilim rug from Juxtaposition Home was too small, but Shannon couldn’t pass up its sunset hues. “Vintage rugs come in odd sizes. My fix: Layer the right size jute underneath,” she says. 

Home Office

Shannon painted three of the walls black, then covered the fourth in black-and-white mud cloth-inspired wallpaper by Amber Interiors for Studio Four NYC. The faded wool rug is vintage from a local dealer, and the desk, an antique from Spain, belonged to Shannon’s mom. “I had been coveting it for forever,” says Shannon. “Finally my mom told me she’d give it to me as long as I found one to replace it. I was on a mission.” The sleek brass lamp is from Arteriors.


As part of the reno, the Wilkinses gutted the kitchen, installed new cabinets with brass pulls from New York Hardware and hung 2-inch-thick wood shelves. Worried standard subway tiles would look busy in the large space, Shannon chose elongated ones from Famosa that measure 5 inches by 16 inches. But the star of the room is the 10-foot-by-9-foot island topped with Statuario marble and paired with director’s chair stools from Serena & Lily. “When friends come over, they joke I look like a cooking show host standing at the island,” Shannon says. “But that’s what I wanted: a big surface with plenty of seating.” 

Master Bedroom

The painters had to use scaffolding to reach the window trim and paint the paneling on this 20-plus-foot ceiling. A dreamy 4 ½-foot-tall bronze chandelier by Townsend Design helps fill the space. “This room didn’t feel very cozy at first because of the tall ceiling,” says Shannon. So she layered rugs (the red wool one is from a trip to Paris), mixed a vintage woven bench with modern nightstands by Noir, added green lamps from Circa Lighting and topped the white bedding with a soft pink coverlet from Cisco Home.

Guest Bathroom

Shannon kept the existing wood vanity and Carrara marble top from the previous homeowners but changed everything else in this space, swapping out a bowl sink for a low rectangular one with a brass faucet, painting the walls blackish green and installing hexagonal tiles by Daltile with dark gray grout all the way up the back wall. “I wanted white tile but something a little different than a classic subway tile shape,” she says. The gray shagreen mirror is from One Kings Lane.

James' Room

The subtle cowboy theme was inspired by the 3-year-old’s collection of hats, which were gifts from his aunts and uncles in Austin, TX. Instead of a twin bed, Shannon picked a full-size daybed from RH Teen that looks like a comfy oversize couch. To warm up the decor, she added a rattan pendant by Palecek and an unstained sliding barn door. The handwoven Moroccan-pattern rug is from World Market, and the black swing-arm sconces are from Rejuvenation.


Located outside the family room, this area functions as an extension of the living and dining spaces. “We eat outside a few nights a week and all weekend,” says Shannon. The couple had large concrete squares poured in lieu of pavers, and there’s always a homey hodgepodge of seating around the table, which currently includes a pair of vintage powder-coated-iron peacock chairs found on Etsy and black reproduction Kartell seats from 

Shop This Look

More from:

Color Vs. Color