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How To Create An Award Winning Home: 4 Tips From Our Neutral & Natural Project

Design is our passion, and we love creating spaces that are beautiful, liveable, and full of unique details. And if they also happen win an award? Well, that’s just the cherry on top.




Part of the Sandalwood community by Pardee Homes, our Neutral & Natural project was just awarded a Golden Nugget Grand Award for Best Interior Merchandising of a Model Home priced $500k to $800k! These prestigious awards (the Oscars of the home builder community) honor the best in home design, planning, and development in the US and internationally.


Taking a simple color scheme of black & white and injecting it with lots of personality, our award-winning home makes a strong impression as soon as you enter. From bold and graphic lighting, to streamlined furniture, to curated layers of textures and elegant materials, we made an award-worthy home – and today we’re sharing what you need to know to create your own impressive interior.


Keep scrolling to see our 4 tips for bringing award-winning style to your space (and shop all the pieces you need).


And be sure to check out all the spaces in this home: The Entry, Living Room, Dining Room & Kitchen, The Main Bedroom Suite, Guest Bedrooms, and the Club Room & Outdoor Lounge. And CLICK HERE for a 3-D virtual tour.


Create A Strong First Impression 


From the moment you enter this home, you’re immediately greeted by striking pieces, from a sculptural light fixture, which delicately hangs over the space to a custom chevron pattern in the hardwood floor that brings in interest and helps define the space. We also kept this entry very open and airy (and in a color palette that is reflected throughout the home). Whether you have a large open entry or something much smaller, creating a space that feels welcoming and sets the tone for your space is a great way for your home to make an introduction. And adding in bold art and a console table is always a good idea.


A statement-making light fixture is a great way to add light and visual interest to an entry. If you don’t have a high ceiling, opt for a ceiling-hugging flush mount that provides plenty of head clearance.



Don’t Be Afraid To Go DARK


This isn’t the first time we went dark and dramatic in a kitchen (See Bold & Black: A Kitchen Reveal). For this space, we wanted to draw in your eye and help create an area of focus within the open layout that includes the living and dining areas. Rich, espresso finish cabinets and a counter and backsplash in an equally dark polished grey stone definitely make this kitchen stand out, while a long horizontal window on the backsplash wall helps bring light into the space and breaks up the heaviness of the wall.  Open shelving is a great way to display serving ware, art, and collections that will add a unique touch to your home – along with texture and a variety of materials.


When going dark in a space, be sure to balance it with natural light, mirrors, or lighter colored furnishings to keep it from feeling too heavy.

Add Accessories & Art TO ELEVATE

In the Living Room, it’s the finishing touches that really make the space come to life. While we kept more of the furniture simple and streamlined, we used art and accessories to add personality.  The built-in shelves are filled with graphic art, marble bookends, vases, and pieces from nature, creating an eclectic grouping that adds pattern and graphic shapes. And a large scale piece of art over the fireplace is a textural touch. Utilizing accessories that are unique to you, like family photos, collected objects or antiques will not only elevate your space but also make it totally personal.



When styling a bookshelf, start with large pieces (like art and stacks of books) and place them in an alternating s-shape. Then fill in with smaller items to create a visually pleasing display.

Use Texture To Create Calm


To create a Main Bedroom that felt like a soothing place to escape to, we opted for varying textures – starting with a sand-colored grasscloth wall covering which instantly makes the space feel warm and enveloping. Adding in additional texture in a neutral palette- through the cane bed, soft bedding and throw, and tonal white art above the bed – keeps the space interesting and tactile. Natural textures and materials will always have a serene feel, so they’re ideal for a bedroom, or anywhere you want to impart with a sense of calm. Pillows, a rug, and window treatments are also easy ways to bring in different soft textures to a space.


If you don’t have the budget for using textured wallpaper in your whole room, you can always frame a large panel (or two) to achieve a similar effect.


  1. Bobby, LOVE ur designs!!! But West Elm is way overpriced for furniture and Knick-knacks: Pottery Barn on sale, Crate & Barrel, Bed, Bath & Beyond,…

  2. I’ve loved all your designs on QE. The show made it well worth getting Netflix! I’m so glad you have this website and send these informative emails as well. I love these 4 tips. Being quarantined so much has made me want to renovate and/or redecorate to make my home serve all the many different purposes I enjoy. I’m hoping to completely renovate the basement for company with a living space full bath and kitchenette. So I look for tips about that but really just overall creating a home you don’t mind being quarantined in!!! God Bless you! You enrich lives!

    1. Thanks so much for your support! Improving your home will definitely elevate your quality of life and bring more joy during these times. Good luck! xx -B

  3. Many Congratulations on the win. Well deserved, and thanks for the tips to help us achieve these looks on whatever budgets we may be on. Perfect ?❤️XX

  4. Congrats! And a question about styling a bookshelf… what do you mean by placing large pieces “in an alternating s-shape?” I cant quite picture what that looks like. Editing and restyling our existing items is such a good way to stretch a budget and refresh a space, so appreciate your tips.

    1. For mw-
      If you put your finger on the top right corner of the tallest picture on the top shelf and trace a capital “S” through all 3 shelves you should see how the pictures were placed first, using that S-shape, then filling in with the other items. It’s brilliant!

  5. love you design, trying to get it in my space ,for some reason its always disappoint, something is always wrong ,how to get the balance between to much staff and too minimalistic ?

    1. It really depends on your personal preference and your style. I always try and fill shelves with a mix of large and small items that fill the space but don’t feel visually overwhelming. Thank you for reading! xx -B

  6. First off Congratulations on your award.
    Your designs are beautiful, thank you for sharing!

    Luba W King

  7. Congratulations on the win! So well deserved!
    I love your make overs on Queer Eye and lobe following you and your designs on your other platforms.. I love looking at these beautiful spaces and also learning a few design tricks from an expert!
    Keep being you! Much love from Brisbane, Australia ??

    1. Thanks so much for your love and support! Stay safe and inspired. xx -B