When it’s time to elevate your space, go ahead and incorporate this season’s trendiest color, eye-popping white, in your overall design

Open up any home decor magazine and you’ll find spaces designed and decorated in layers of white. White is white hot! It can be soothing, soft and romantic. It can also be electrifying and sexy.


So I was thrilled when my client, Sayumi Anthony, who owns Sayumi Bridal, asked me a year and a half ago to design her new salon at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort. She wanted a very different kind of boutique showroom: chic, like something out of San Francisco or New York. Contemporary. Minimalistic. And primarily white, with only one pop of color.

In other words, Sayumi Bridal is the perfect opportunity for me to show you how to transform your favorite room into a white-hot space.

Let me give you a quick description of the salon. This place caters to Japanese couples who fly to Hawaii to get married. The salon prepares them for beautiful wedding photos. They have their hair and makeup done, the bride chooses her gown and bouquet and the groom chooses his tuxedo, then they get a limo to their chosen locale and have beautiful photographs taken. This isn’t your typical bridal shop, where relatives accompany brides to shop, so the salon didn’t need a lot of furniture.


The existing space was outdated with wood paneling; dark wood trim on the ceilings and walls; and colorful, weatherworn carpeting. With Sayumi’s instruction of keeping the walls void of art and fuss, I decided the remodel would incorporate layers of white texture for interest.

Sayumi’s inspiration for the overall look was the W Hotel. Enough said! I knew that the pop of color would be apple green, just like the green apples that greeted me at the front desk the last time I checked into the W in New York City.

Now, how can you take what I did at Sayumi’s Bridal Salon and incorporate it into your space?

Tip 1: Create movement with your color. If everything in a monochromatic room is flat and one-dimensional, it can feel very cold. Here we have a minimalistic space, but it feels interesting and alive because of movement in the wallpaper, and the flowing wedding dresses on display.

Tip 2: Enhance your primary color with a contrasting neutral. With so much white, I chose to go with black flooring. It gives the salon a sense of drama and heightens the white throughout the space. The silver and pearlescent flecks in the flooring add sparkle and movement and will also minimize the wear and tear that you get in a commercial space.

Tip 3: Light it up. A fantastic way to elevate your space and enhance your color is with lighting. In this setting, the detail and texture of the focal wall are absolutely enhanced by the wall washers shining down on it to showcase its lines. The beautiful new ceiling is highlighted by elegant light fixtures from Honolulu Lights, which add an artful element and mimic the softness of the wedding dresses.

This month, Sayumi Bridal celebrates one year at the Waikiki Marriott. Congratulations, Sayumi! Her clients love the look of her space, and you’ll love yours too, if you follow these tips to create your own white-hot space!


Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. She recently opened reStyle Hawaii, an affordable, style-conscious consignment warehouse with upholstering and repurposing services at 420 Keawe St. To find out more, go to www.cathyleestyle.com.