With color as her muse, designer Caitlin Murray is renowned for turning out edgy, high-glamour spaces that can only be described as total knockouts. Since moving from Indiana to L.A., Caitlin has fully embraced the California aesthetic, eschewing boring beige for everything pop-inspired and bright. After stints at firms like House of Honey and MASHstudios, Caitlin founded her firm Black Lacquer Design in 2014. Since then she’s racked up features with everyone from Sunset to Elle Decor, proving her unique brand of color-drenched chic has universal appeal. To discover how how she curates her perfectly coiffed spaces, we asked Caitlin to play a round of Playing Favorites. Read on to learn Caitlin’s best tips for mixing patterns, her no-brainer way to nail a vintage moment in any room, and her favorite design hotspots in Los Angeles.
What do you love about shopping on Chairish?
I love the feeling of perusing vintage and antique stores…from just exploring to scoring that perfect, one-of-a-kind piece. I’m kind of addicted to the thrill of the chase and Chairish makes it possible to satisfy that need to hunt in a really efficient and accelerated way. It’s incredibly convenient (maybe too convenient?) to be able to shop for unique finds from my studio.
Is there any particular product category where Chairish is your go-to?
I just looked at my order history, and it’s all over the place! I pull up Chairish when I’m looking for anything from smalls to credenzas, but I would say that I do quite a bit of scavenging for light fixtures on Chairish. Vintage Italian glass is my jam.
Can you share with us any big projects you’re working on in 2018?
We’re in the midst of a new-build in Redondo Beach at the moment. The clients are looking to evoke Slim Aarons/Palm Springs vibes whilst also paying tribute to Chinese influences. It’s a bit of a tricky union to actualize but I’m enjoying the challenge. Plus, it’s always such a fun process to see a project from the ground up.
You’re from Indiana. Any traditions from the Midwest that you incorporate into your design?
The Midwest has a reputation for all things traditional and beige. Though, I actually grew up in a house with lots of color and was always allowed full creative control of my own room – I guess I’ll consider that a tradition!
Favorite thing about designing with vintage pieces:
Vintage pieces have a way of adding instant soul to a room and a chic dose of the unexpected. For me, incorporating things with a history behind them brings personality to a space that might otherwise feel somewhat shallow.
Favorite way to add drama to a room:
Favorite source for design inspiration:
These days, Instagram!
Favorite paint color:
River Blue by Benjamin Moore
Favorite pattern (and how you love to use it):
Animal print is fab because it’s versatile, classic and essentially reads like a neutral. I recently purchased a Karl Springer style waterfall bench upholstered in faux leopard fur, and it goes gorgeously with the nearby antique Persian rug that has oxblood, red, tan and black accents.
Favorite design rule to break:
Mixing different patterns and prints! I like combining unexpected elements. How could you resist really?
Favorite color combo:
Right now, I’d say red and pink!
Favorite way to mix high and low:
I splurge the most on unique, statement pieces that will do some heavy lifting and elevate the design as a whole. To me, anything one-of-a-kind and impactful that you’ve really fallen for is worth the investment. Beyond that, I don’t follow any hard and fast rules in mixing high and low.
Favorite way to work a bit of vintage into a room:
My go-to way to accessorize a space is with vintage — especially lucite and brass. One of my favorite flea market finds is a 30” tall solid brass giraffe from the 1950s that I picked up for $40! And I recently found a super cool acrylic, oversized tic-tac-toe set on Chairish and snagged it for a client.
Favorite travel destination:
Anywhere in Europe and the Caribbean!
Favorite hotel to check in to:
I just got back from a trip to Italy where I stayed at the fabulous Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como. Other than it being ridiculously posh, the Italian level of hospitality is like nothing I’ve ever seen.
I’m on a black heart kick. Second most used is the kiss face followed by heart eyes!
Favorite weekend activity:
Catching up with friends. These days, we usually just gather at someone’s house for cocktails and chill time. I always try to make people play games.
A Color Story for photo editing
Favorite morning beverage (and how you take it):
I love starting the day with warm lemon honey water in bed.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
I get regular massages and facials, but I almost consider that maintenance at this point! And I’ll have a massive online clothing shopping spree every once in awhile…then inevitably return more than half—ha.
Favorite thank you/hostess gift:
Super fancy hand soap or a luxurious candle.
Favorite adult beverage:
Anything with quality tequila and a spicy pepper of sorts.
“I believe in plenty of optimism and white paint.” -Elsie de Wolfe
Favorite entertaining essential:
Pretty vintage glassware
I recently discovered a French artist who I’m crushing on named Karen Thomas. She paints hauntingly beautiful and whimsical abstract portraits of women.
Favorite TV show:
Favorite thing to collect:
I really have a problem with buying far too much vintage brass. My latest acquisition was a brass bamboo coat rack from…Chairish.
Local Favorites: Los Angeles
Favorite hotel to recommend to visiting friends:
Favorite local culture hub:
Favorite local attraction:
Hiking the hills of Beachwood Canyon
Favorite local flea market/vintage hunting ground:
Melrose Trading Post
Lead photo by Eron Rauch