Take one look at designer Courtney McLeod’s work and you’ll understand why she’s known for her bold, confident use of color. Her one-bedroom apartment in Harlem is saturated in rich tones and filled with pieces that individually make a statement, but when paired together transform into a well-curated collection.
Courtney first moved to Harlem eight years ago, around the time when she launched her firm, Right Meets Left Interior Design. After spending 15 years working in real estate finance and private equity, Courtney decided it was time to pursue her other calling. “I’ve had a lifelong passion for design. In fact, when I was applying to college, I applied to business school and architecture school because I wasn’t sure which path I wanted to take.” Of her second act, Courtney shares that she actually feels like she never works a day in her life. “It’s an absolute joy to be doing what I’m doing.”
She’s called her current space home for about three and a half years. It looks out over the neighborhood’s Morningside Park, and from her home, Courtney has a view of trees and a pond filled with ducks, features she says feel like a luxury in New York City. As brands fully lean into trends that skew toward the soothing and earthy, Courtney’s apartment remains a jubilant bright spot.
At her firm, Courtney likes to design around her clients’ personalities, then add her unique filter. When it came time to design her own home, Courtney says, she aimed to transform it into “as pure an expression of joy from my perspective as I could create.” Upon entry, Courtney is greeted by Sherwin-Williams’s saturated shade Dynamic Blue, which continues into the living room.
Saturated color remains a theme throughout, from Courtney’s custom bright orange sofa, which is upholstered with fabric from Lee Jofa, to the hand-painted pink chair from George Smith. She adds, “I wanted a space where I walk in the door and immediately feel a sense of happiness, a sense of sparkle.” It’s clear she’s achieved that goal.
Turning to her bedroom, which Courtney refers to as her “enchanted garden,” that sense of whimsy continues amid the more neutral palette of gold and pink. Its walls are covered in a custom grasscloth wallpaper from Aux Abris, which Courtney says set the tone for the space. It’s a room that brings her immense comfort, especially as the city around her continues to cope with the pandemic.
“Most of the pieces in my apartment, I’ve collected over time or have made over time,” shares Courtney. She says her eclectic home works because it’s filled with pieces that she loves, ones that spoke to her distinct eye. “You bring them all together and they tell a great story.”
⚒ Do It Yourself
Design for you Bold colors and whimsical pieces aren’t for everyone. If you find you’re feeling nervous about what your guests might think, Courtney says, “who cares!” She firmly believes it’s important to design your home for you, to fill it with the pieces that bring you joy—not your friends, your in-laws, or anyone else who doesn’t live there.
Mix new with old and high with low Throughout her home, you’ll find both custom and thrifted pieces. Courtney recommends choosing pieces that you love, and adds that doesn’t have to mean “expensive.”
Dip a toe in Want to experiment with color, but feeling a little gun-shy? Courtney’s favorite trick is to paint the inside of a closet, especially one that you open every day. It’s a simple way to incorporate a shade that you love, but don’t necessarily want to be enveloped in all the time. Over time, if you decide you love it, try painting the whole room with the shade!
🛍 Shop It Out
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Acrylic console by CB2, $379, cb2.com
Dynamic Blue paint by Sherwin-Williams, sherwin-williams.com
Urn by Jonathan Adler, $395, jonathanadler.com
Peacock rug by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby from The Rug Company, $137/square foot, therugcompany.com
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest