The House That Black Built

The House that Black built - Kitchen


It’s Striking, it’s Sophisticated, and it’s very Sexy

Describing her home as “Modern Victorian styling and a love affair with the colour black”, Chelsea (@thehousethatblackbuilt) really has created the most spectacular space. Being an all-black-everything kind of girl myself, I was lucky enough to ask her a few questions to find out how she goes about creating such beautiful rooms.
In this blog post we will share with you a little insight into Chelsea’s design process, from initial design concept through to finishing touches in a hope to inspire your next project. Enjoy!


Emma: "How do you go about planning a room, do you start with one inspirational object or idea and work around that, or make Pinterest boards or big physical visual mood boards?"

Chelsea: "For me, it tends to be one image/piece of furniture that sparks an entire makeover plan. I’ll want to decorate a room and it can take forever for me to find inspiration but once I’ve found that one thing, everything else always just falls into place. I’ll then research similar images and put a mood board together to grow the scheme to make sure it works as well in real life (or at least ‘on paper’) as I think it does in my head!"


Emma: "What are some of your interior design dos and don’ts? Do you have any pet peeves in decor?"

Chelsea: "I don’t personally like wishy washy decor. I like contrast - which is probably why I use a lot of black and white. I’m obviously not a huge fan of colour, I can appreciate it in other people’s homes - but I’ve just found that I can’t live with it personally. I also try to stick to Kate Watson Smyth’s (of @mad_about_the_house) design rule - something new, something old, something black and something gold (doesn’t have to be gold, does have to be metallic). I heard it a couple of years ago and realised that it was something I already did without realising and now I consciously make an effort to make sure I have all bases covered. It really does complete a room."


Emma: "I know you have quite a few brass Spark & Bell lights in your home, what is it about S&B lights that you’re drawn to? And why have you chosen brass over other finishes?"

Chelsea: "I do! And I LOVE them. I find lighting one of the trickiest things to buy. I think lighting should always be a statement and Spark & Bell is the perfect mix of modern and unusual but still classic and statement. I always pick brass/gold as I’m not really a fan of any other metal and as I have a lot of black already, black lighting wouldn’t really stand out. It’s also my favourite way of adding that something gold (see previous q answer)"

House that black built blog post

House that black built interior design

Emma: "Sustainability and reducing waste is obviously really important, now more than ever. Is this important to you and how do you do this? Do you shop small, use local businesses, up-cycle or buy second hand?"

Chelsea: "I’ve done this for a while without really being aware of it. I hate waste. I’m always looking for ways to use what I already have without having to buy anything new. I’m a BIG fan of up-cycling. We up-cycled our old kitchen cupboards as they were solid oak and no-one can believe they are the same ones. We also reused the bathroom suite that was here when we bought the house and it looks totally different with new tiles and a lick of paint! It started from simply trying to save money and being good to the environment was just an extra positive outcome but now I’m much more conscious of it. Shopping small is definitely something I’m trying to do more of and I love Instagram for this, it’s a great way to find out about small businesses you otherwise maybe wouldn’t have ever heard of - like Spark and Bell!"

House that black built kitchen


Emma: "I absolutely adore your hand-made cane webbing headboard (and will try it myself eventually!), have you made other items in your home?"

Chelsea: "Thank you!! Oh I’m definitely a huge DIYer. I’ll attempt most projects, from more simple things like painting walls and furniture, to panelling a whole room to building a new under the sink vanity in our bedroom - part of the same project as the headboard! I’m a creative person and love to get my hands dirty." 

House that black built bedroom set 2House that black built details 02

Emma: "What’s your favourite bargain you’ve purchased or reclaimed, or favourite item you’ve been gifted?"

Chelsea: "Oooooohhh. Gosh I have so many!! One of the most popular things on my Instagram are the bedside tables from The Sad Room. I bought them for £25 each from a local buy and sell. They were Tiffany blue to start with but amazing quality - so heavy and sturdy, and after a lick of black paint everyone asks me where they are from! It also means they’re original and I love having pieces that not everyone else does."


Emma: "And your most expensive item?! (Obviously you don’t have to say a price!) "

Chelsea: "Oooooh I really had to think about this one. If I’m going to spend it tends to be on very permanent items that I know I’ll get my money out of - our shutters, quartz Worktops’ in the kitchen, that kind of thing! I’m very sensible when it comes to money! "


Emma: "Just one final question to finish off nicely, are you able to tell me a little about what your next project might be? Looks like you've got a big Living Room project in the pipeline?!"

Chelsea: "So yes, the next project will be the lounge. We decorated it when we first moved in about 5 years ago but it’s not our style any more. It’s got some lovely Victorian features so we want to highlight those more and add in wall panelling like we did in The Sad Room. Neutral colours to put the focus back on the original marble fireplace (but of course lots of black too) and it be a calm and relaxing room as it’s where we spend most of our time. And then a big comfy sofa for all the Netflix marathons!!"


Massive thanks, Chelsea. You’ve got me really inspired, and I know the readers will be too!

To see more of Chelsea’s beautiful home, before and after images, and some of her how-to’s, head over to The House That Black Built

Emma X