Susan Taylor
from susan

best room designs of 2020

We’re looking back at the style 2020 brought with some of our favorite projects of the year! It’s quite a list of creative moxie. Thanks to an exceptional team of designers, it was still a year filled with success and delight. Not too many professional photo shoots happened with our year of containment and social distancing, but we have our own favorite snapshots to help you visualize with us!

Personal Projects

2020 brought the completion of our personal beach house. Designing for yourself has its challenges! One of the strengths of Black-eyed Susan is in the final styling. It is a skill born of experience and an eye for perfect placement. (We even offer it as a separate service.) This room shows the final styling of layered art within a palette of natural tones, punctuated with black. It’s one of my favorite rooms for sure. Beach themed art, yet sophisticated and chic. Bohemian yet hip. I can say, the installation and styling is where all the rewards come together! (See more of this beach guest bedroom.)
Why not use three mirrors for the ultimate statement?!  After a day on the beach, three high maintenance gals can blow dry at the same time! Gold hardware, mirrors and faucets brings the room together with a modern warmth and luxury. The trio of mirrors becomes architecture as well as art. We color a little outside the lines! (See the whole beach house master suite.)
No installation would be complete without some daring antics from my “Sneelock,” Fred. (My husband was dubbed this fond reference by one of his biggest fans, my darling mother! Dr. Seuss names numerous impossible tasks in his book If I Ran The Circus, and it’s always, “Sneelock won’t mind!”) And so he fits the namesake as shown here, installing my gallery wall with a crazy made-up scaffolding of sorts. There isn’t much I can dream up that he can’t execute! It’s a dream team.
This gallery wall is comprised of collected art (from one of our first pieces of investment art to modern pieces) themed together by color and size. Laying out a wall such as this takes vision and a bit of trial and error on the floor ahead of time. We created a big impact enjoyed from several vantage points, carrying a beachy feel without a common feel. Love. This. (See more of this beach house living room!)
This oh-so-current approach to kitchen design is just delicious. Painted white cabinetry + brushed gold details + contrast painted door = #purestyle. Oversized white enamel pendents with brushed gold detail add the drama. Soft gray glass subway tile mimics the weathered gray of a high performance vinyl floor, resistant to water and sand. It’s a winning combination and a great place to finish off a day on the sand. (See more of the beach house kitchen and living spaces.)

Kitchens & Bathrooms

This bathroom was transformed from browns and oranges to this light and fresh palette. The bathroom is filled with clean lines and a sleek mix of materials: antique grey oak vanity, Italian Calcutta marble and polished nickel fixtures.
I don’t think I would ever leave this bathroom! The mother of pearl tile is on the whole vanity wall. It glistens day and night! Organic and luxurious, it is just plain dreamy. Imagine powdering your nose, here!  Plan to always feel beautiful surrounded by such natural beauty. Our clients love their master bathroom so much. It has become a perfect refuge both during quarantine and now. Enjoy the perfect, yet simple styling of soft pink orchids and  a natural gemstone. All bathrooms love a little stylish accent.
Another kitchen renovation proved dramatic with strong contrast as well as a bright pop of color and personality! Sherwin Williams Iron Ore was selected for the cabinets, and a two-tiered, angled former island was updated with this expanse of light wood with a marble inset.
Rich, gold-appointed bar stools were recovered in an #ohsosusan hot pink and chartreuse fabric for some real color joy! Open shelving, and exterior cabinet-mounted ipad and TV make this kitchen one to gather around and share family time and generational memories. Lovely and so fun to be a part of.
A secondary view and closeup of the barstools, electronic appointments and homeowner’s vivid art-honed marble floors replaced dark hardwoods for a strong contrast to the Iron Ore cabinets. Beautiful indeed. The renovation was drawn out due to Covid, but the homeowner came home to an all-new kitchen.
One of the most innovative rooms of the renovation was directed by the homeowner for her love of the family cats (4 to be exact!). A pull-out feeding station (lighted I might add); enclosed litter box with private side entrance; copper-lined drawers for food bins; and plenty of storage for bags of food and litter. It’s a little bit of cat heaven! Modern two-toned cabinets, oversized pulls and the same honed marble floor complete the room. Brilliant ideas and input from the homeowner and contractor, Polo Design Build.
One of the most exciting finds to compete the kitchen and mudroom for this project was the black and satin brass faucets and sink fixtures! This room enters into the SW Iron Ore painted kitchen and with the delicious brushed gold hardware, it was just the perfect finishing touch! (Note the oversized cabinet hardware: go for it! Don’t be afraid of this. Drawers, drawers, drawers, as many as you can fit!) What feline doesn’t deserve marble heated floors and marble countertops, detailed with a mosaic marble backsplash?! (I’m betting there are special cat treats in those containers too!). A secondary refrigerator is at hand for  party planning (soon, we hope!). It was so rewarding to be involved in this renovation. Style and function all wrapped up together.


Styling is the finish touch of any project in my design house. A favorite client and local small animal vet let me use my imagination to suggest several rooms of accessories, all selected from the Black-eyed Susan Home Store. In this case, her agreeable and adept husband stepped into the Sneelock role and it was an entertaining and creatively rewarding project. Styling surfaces is a service we offer to all design and retail clients and will bring satisfaction and personality to your space, creating a finished and polished room. Accessories, pillows, rugs, art and anything else that your heart desires! The console was sold from the showroom floor mere days after receiving, which always is a “happy/sad” moment for me! Voila! A completed beautiful space.

With my client working remotely from Chicago, we completed the master bedroom, living room, dining room, family room and kitchen using the garage code. Yes, she returned to a big reveal!

With remote presentations and photos, I styled the family room. This iron and glass coffee table called for something under the glass, leaving the entire top for practical use. I found the perfect tray that slid in under the glass and filled it with chrome painted stones, an interesting trailing succulent, grounded with several dried fern cuttings. She immediately said “no!” and I immediately proceeded to tell her, “Just humor me and wait to see it in person. And, P.S., I’m going to start praying you have a change of heart and you love it!” My prayers were answered and it made the cut when she came home! That is what I call perfect placement.

This palette is a fan favorite, based on all the clients and customers who spotted it on our worktable while in the design phase. Warm, soft hues of taupe/cream/greige with loads of texture. We had passersby actually gasp with ooh’s and ahh’s! Juliana and Amy designed the palette for a memorable new build in Buckingham, a manor house with a modern aesthetic yet timeless appeal. It’s a winner without a doubt. #purestyle

Living Spaces

This club room has a certain ease and sophistication that oozes casual cool.  It’s all about texture in this room. A neutral palette of greys and cream sets off  the natural wood, lush knits, luminous marble and old iron. The sofa provides plenty of lush lounging space, especially for the lovable Labrador Retriever Wally. He was with us during the whole installation, pretty much right in the middle of our walking space, as most dogs are. One of our favorite things is when the dogs start recognizing us. We’re like family! The massive reclaimed coffee table services everyone and makes a unique statement piece. To keep a restful tone, the accessories were kept to a minimum. When everything was placed just so and the draperies were installed, the homeowner came around the corner. She gasped with eyes wide open. She just stood there staring with a huge smile and said “this is what the room needed!” That is the rewarding moment for us, when we see that comfort and joy in our client’s eyes.
This club room is loaded with natural elements. The artwork inspired the color palette and adds a feeling of calm. The console is made of solid pine support beams salvaged from decades-old mills in England. The distressed rough-hewn planks are carefully hand selected. Vintage books, found curiosities and layering of beads adds the special touches we love. The room beckons you to curl up with a book or talk with friends in the cozy and supple leather chairs.


With a nod to a most beautiful historic Schumacher fabric, this pattern was selected for the master bedroom shams. Using sage, and taupe as the main palette, our client agreed to this fabulous recolored pattern from the Schumacher archives, resulting in a breath of beauty and fresh color. *sigh* Soft pink toned modern botanicals on acrylic brought the project full circle and it is a thing of beauty to behold! #colorcrush
Color makes my heart sing! It is such a joy to add saturated color into design and this room, an updated young professional’s former childhood room, was just that. *sigh* I am never afraid to use color and this was a big hero in my year. Chartreuse and magenta. Oh. Yes.
Deco channeled headboard is a modern backdrop and adds to the luxurious feel of the room. Crystal rod and gold metal lamps sit atop nightstands in a light quartz finish and a smooth stone top. An antique silver chandelier hovers above the bed and casts a warm glow. The linen embroidered drapery frames the windows and create an elegant hotel-like oasis.
Velvet and fur is a go-to combination in a bedroom. This blend of soft gold, grey and taupe is so lush, I just couldn’t keep my hands off the fabrics! A classic combination of three euros and one long lumbar is sophisticated and provides just the right amount of pillows. A cheetah fur throw is always a good idea, and you can quote me on that.
There is already so much in the works for 2021, we can’t wait to share! With new construction, whole house renovations, an art collection installation, and an entire showroom redesign at the home store to start things off, there will be plenty of style coming your way this year.