Home: In Black and White
A simple palette and clean lines form the foundation of a new family home in Baton Rouge
When Chris and Hannah Lewis decided to build a house for their family of five, they knew they wanted a clean-lined space with a West Coast feel, touches of midcentury modern design, and a simple palette. Where the couple diverged was on the choice of colors. She likes dark and moody; he prefers light and bright.
Using a house that belonged to friends as a model, Chris sketched a two-story, five-bedroom, 3 ½-bath house with an open, family friendly layout geared to indoor/outdoor living. With three young sons (a fourth son is now on the way), the couple envisioned a house with such things as a kitchen that connects to the main living area and sliding glass doors that lead to a patio and pool overlooking the lot’s quiet green space and pond. The couple then hired Gafford Builders and brought in interior designer Krystal Matthews of Krystal Matthews Design, whom they already knew, to fine-tune the details.
“Early on we had Krystal review the plans, make changes, add windows, make sure measurements were correct,” says Chris, who above all credits Matthews with deftly using a black and white palette that satisfies both husband and wife.
“I’m always able to find the middle ground,” adds Matthews. “There’s always a solution.”
Examples of that balance are found in every room. While the kitchen island and lower cabinets are painted entirely black, the upper cabinets, open shelving and walls are white. The same is true in the master bath, where the cabinetry and counters are black and the walls are white. The master bedroom has both a black focal wall and a black ceiling, but the two walls that abut the main wall are white. White oak floors and windows in every room also provide contrast to the black. Organic materials such as wood and stone bring a timeless quality to the mix.
Among the home’s most outstanding features are a foyer clad with 24-inch by 48-inch cement colored tiles that wrap around to the pillar-like fireplace rising the full height of the living room’s airy 22-foot ceiling, a linear metal stair rail and balcony overlooking the living room, a black kitchen island with enough seating for the entire family, and an elegant master bath that includes both a glossy black shower trimmed with gold and a white slipper tub.
Like the surfaces of the home, the main furnishings are solid and neutral. Color was added in the form of rugs, several of which Krystal brought back from a trip to Greece, and art. The find with the best backstory, however, is the master bedroom’s chain mail Arteriors chandelier. When the couple hesitated to buy the piece because of its cost, Matthews came across several being sold on ebay at a fraction of the price because they’d come from the set of the film “Black Panther.“ The supplier supported the provenance by providing video clips of the casino scene from the movie.
Despite the overall sophistication of the house, it is a base for a busy family on the go. A downstairs closet contains storage baskets to keep each of the boys organized, the living room’s leather sofa was sourced from IKEA for a kid-friendly price, and on cool days the glass doors are kept open for the indoor/outdoor flow that the family regularly enjoys.
“Krystal made it all come together,” says Chris. “We tell Krystal all the time it’s exactly what we wanted.”
At a Glance
Ceramic tile-clad foyer and fireplace, 22-foot living room ceiling, master bath with black marble shower trimmed with gold, butler’s pantry with easy access drawers and cabinets for kids.