Probably, this is just a happy coincidence. Possibly, we suppose, a subconscious leaning. Unlikely, we're pretty sure, an official design directive.
Max Lemman's industrial-cool condominium in Seattle's Eastlake neighborhood is decked out in striking black and white on all three levels, including the rooftop deck.
So are his three four-footed roomies: puppy Navi, and kitties Victoria and Bandita.
"They're my little entourage of tuxedos," said Lemman, who lives here with his girlfriend, Ashley.
This is Lemman's first home. He knew instantly it was the one.
"I've always liked higher ceilings, no walls, no doors," he said. "I walked in here and said, 'I'm gonna go to the bank.' "
Lemman also knew instantly whom to call for aesthetic assistance: interior designer Barbara Hyde Evans, who — more conveniently than coincidentally — is the mother of his former college roommate, Sam.
"We worked together," he said. "Barbara did a lot of the legwork. She said, 'We want modern; we want cool. You're young. You're a dude.' "
Step one, Hyde Evans said: They consulted a stylebook. "That makes it so easy to get to the style that's truly him."
Step two: "It also helped to refer to Sam," Lemman said: " 'Would he like this?' We have the same taste."
Step three: a widespread, brilliantly bright cover-up.
"We painted all the walls white," Lemman said. "They had been three shades of gray and green. The bathrooms were yellow and red."
Elsewhere, Hyde Evans said, "It had great bones and industrial things, like that surround on the fireplace. We just painted the fireplace black."
With black and white establishing the overall modern tone, design threads started to unspool: The chrome of the counter's Bertoia bar stools also shows up upstairs, in the master bedroom's four-poster bed; vibrant bursts of tangerine emerge in unexpected ways and places (an orange bike shifts into a work of operational art on a wall near the kitchen); and, Lemman said, "There's one iconic chair in each room."
In the living room, at times, there actually are five — one navy, wool Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair, balanced symmetrically and colorfully by four purposefully portable, stackable orange Panton chairs, which are just as at home in the nearby, highly adaptable office.
"The office plays multiple roles," said Hyde Evans. "Pull up the Panton chairs, adjust the extended arm of the Prouve lamp, and the work desk acts as a dining table for intimate gatherings."
Here, Hyde Evans retained the original wood ceiling but painted the corner black and "installed shelves to give depth and architectural interest," she said.
When company comes to call, the daybed pulls away from the wall to act as an extra bed — and even that work desk/table turns portable.
"When we're entertaining, we move the table to the living room to get the view," Lemman said.
Ah. That view. From the companionable, cohesive upper deck, 100 shades of watery blue and treetop green take over as nature's accent colors.
"I bring my computer out and work," said Lemman. "The cats run around on the roof. The dog will find a stick."
Said Hyde Evans, "We stuck with the black and white out here."
That's true for the decor (plush cushions poofed on Crate & Barrel seating, a bar table and stools from Tirto Furniture, super-hip stringed lights) and for the three four-footed residents that enjoy it.