High Contrast—A Glamorous Mix of Style, Color, and Home Furnishings.

A cool, calm, and collected family home is a lesson in palette play.

Written by:Georgina McWhirter
Photographed by:Steve Henke
Cambria Ella quartz kitchen island countertop

Gray-marbled Cambria Ella™ on the backsplash and island unify the black-and-white elements of the high-contrast palette, while a trio of brass-trimmed pendants and a beveled edge on the island adds a touch of glam. Cambria designs shown: Ella and White Cliff™.

The moment interior designer Iris Dankner claps eyes on this striking home conceived by a builder and his style-savvy wife, she’s in love. “What I adore most about this house is the continuity of color,” she says. Think of it as classic monochrome…with a high-contrast twist. “It’s important to have a common design thread running through a home,” she explains. “The black and white here tells a dramatic story.”

Indeed. Take the study’s barn-style roof, its soaring pitch emphasized by deepest charcoal walls. Or the unexpected black of a bathroom door. Set against a budget-friendly lick of white paint or the minimalist sophistication of Cambria stone countertops, the juxtaposition of light on dark has loads of graphic charge.

To keep the vibe from skewing too stark when using such a bold palette, add transitional furnishings: items neither too traditional nor too modern. “Simplicity is key to this look, and different textures,” Dankner says. Think chandeliers with clean lines. White oak floors distressed by hand.

And for a dose of glamour? Go for gold. Milk-white stools in the kitchen are a canny choice as they disappear into the creamy backdrop of the Cambria stone kickboard, allowing the trio of light fixtures above—with their zingy metallic detail—to take center stage. Talk about eye-catching.

Butler’s Pantry

The walk-through butler’s pantry makes accessible but out-of-sight storage a breeze. “If you can attach an annex to a kitchen, do it!” says style expert Dankner, who heads up ID Creations by Iris Dankner. “One can never have enough counter space.” Such auxiliary zones are doubly handy when entertaining, as party prep can happen behind the scenes, leaving the kitchen free of clutter.


Living Room

“The living room strikes a softer, more romantic note,” says Dankner. “Yet the dark fireplace void carries through that impactful black, creating continuity with the rest of the house.” Seating and other furniture are transitional, a mix of two ever-popular looks—traditional and contemporary—that hits the sweet spot between streamlined and cozy. Woven of durable fibers, even ivory upholstery can be kid- and pet-friendly. (Try removable covers on sofas to make cleaning a cinch.) The pops of color in accessories (see the vivid green vase and turquoise planter) make all the more impact set against this pale backdrop. To highlight architectural features try a swath of dark paint contrasted against white.

Cambria Kirkstead™, a rich, buttery beige stone, clads the fireplace surround.

A bright white dining room with a Kirkstead fireplace surround

Cambria design shown: Kirkstead


To highlight architectural details—like this soaring ceiling—try a swath of dark paint contrasted against white for drama. Pair white accessories with black shelving (or the reverse) to match. “It riffs on positive and negative space,” Dankner explains.

A timber floor, wire-brushed for texture, warms the overall vibe, as do carefully chosen furnishings. “Today you see a great mix of styles and eras, new and old, all in one home,” Dankner adds. “Here, the antique-look desk and transitional pendant soften the graphic color scheme.”


Master Bath

A simple bathroom won’t date. But veer too plain and it becomes boring. Here, buff-colored flooring with a subtle herringbone pattern adds welcome detail, while a frameless glass shower creates the illusion of more generous space. Cambria Ella™ tops vanity counters for maximum durability. Dankner explains the appeal for designers: “I’ve always loved white marble but it stains. So to have what Cambria makes—a beautiful, tough, stain-resistant white stone with the look of marble—is so much more helpful to me as a professional.”


Cambria design shown: Ella


First impressions count! So do as these homeowners did and ensure the outside hints at what’s inside. “Here, the mullion-grid window panels, black-tile roof, and white facade give a taste of the graphic setting to come,” says Dankner. “Exterior and interior work in seamless harmony.” To soften architectural edges, just add greenery.

What I adore most about this house is the continuity of color. The black and white tells a dramatic story
Iris Dankner

Discover More

Get our beautifully curated collection of lifestyle stories, interior design trends, and expert advice sent straight to your home and email inbox with a complimentary subscription to Cambria Style magazine.

Ready to explore Cambria quartz designs in person? Contact a Cambria consultant or use our retail locator to find a professional in your area for project support and planning, material selection, or visualizing what’s possible.

Follow us on social media for daily design inspiration.

Get the Look

Explore the designs featured in this story.