In music, the impact of fortissimos are given more power when the pianissimos are softer. This aspect holds true in art whether its a Beethoven symphony or a Rembrandt portrait. Contrast creates tension and adds intrigue.


In this way Donna uses tone and texture the way Beethoven used forte and piano. She uses neutral and soft tones like a master colorist, and texture and surface like a sculptor. Keeping her tonal palette limited and contained, she is able to give a slight flourish of color the highest impact, be it a vase of lavender flowers, a work of art, or the stunning blue sky in a window. Donna uses warm tones strategically to inspire welcoming energy and amiable conversation. It’s a discreet and serene energy. It also allows her direct and flow the energy at will.

To wit: The way she uses the whole room to act as a frame for the colorful art piece in the sitting room above. The accents of dark tones––the black marble table-tops against the paneled wall, the black table and lamp shade in the foreground, the dark wood coffee table, the dark wood paneling––impart a feeling of gravity and density. Then, Donna counterbalances the dark with light tones––the couches, the matching sphinxes, the drapery, and the white marble––until the end result is a sympathetic parity. Even against the backdrop of dusky paneling, Donna deftly manages to make the room feel open and light.

In the room below, Donna makes the windows the artwork and frames the room around the intense blue beyond the glass. The scale of the windows is enhanced with the monumental drapes. There are threads of subtle color throughout, from the tapestry of the foreground chairs to the pale mauve of the couch and chair in front of the window. Again, the palette is warm and inviting yet speaks in a whisper. The feel is a classic glamor and grace but the leitmotif is, as always, comfort.

DL_Living Rm w_staircase & Blues

Below, Donna lightens the palette and offers the subtlest suggestion of pink in the blushing peach of the walls and couch and upholstered chair. The light tint of the rug, drapes, mantle, and furniture turn the room’s polarity toward the black and the gold of the credenza giving it ample space to dance.

As always, Donna is about the details: The curtain swags, the wall-to-wall turkish rug, the moldings, the way the gleam in the marble, bronze sculpture, metal jewel box, and wood all interact and balance one other. Every appointment in the room is carefully considered and tactical.

It is what makes a design a Donna Livingston.