Benjamin Moore’s AC-26 Ozark Shadows (and a bossy basic) saved this meeting room!

I love small businesses. I mean, I know I am one, so that makes sense, but when a professional photographer and a letterpress owner /graphic designer  said they needed a bossy basic for a new meeting space, I jumped at it.

They each have their own offices, but they decided to go in on a nice room in a central location where they could meet with clients. This is the room before. Not huge.

Bare windows

You can see from the view what an adorable neighborhood lies outside. It’s really a brilliant spot for a meeting room. Bare roomIn the upper left picture, you can see a little anteroom. We had to deal with that, too.

The look we wanted: sophisticated but not stuffy. Expensive (professional photographers and personalized stationery aren’t cheap; the room had to convey that). Modern but not scary. Stylish. Minimal. The last one was no problem, since space and budget were limited.

We set the priorities as:

Benjamin Moore's AC-26 Ozark Shadows1.    Floor
2.    Paint
3.    Rug
4.    Meeting table & chairs
5.    Sideboard (for anteroom)

I suggested replacing the icky carpeting with a super dark brown hardwood floor. We lucked out: there was a lovely, weathered old floor underneath that revolting wall-to-wall, which we (the royal “we;” the clients did the work themselves) stained.

Paint colors were the next order of business. You know I’ve been gray-obsessed as of late, but even so, I thought a rich gray was the right move for this space. Fresh but sophisticated, soothing, not overwhelming. Allows clients to focus. Benjamin Moore’s  AC-26 Ozark Shadows was the big winner, with OC-17 White Dove trim.

All I did was make recommendations, and they implemented them. That’s the beauty of a bossy basic; it’s a lot of bang for the buck if you’re willing to buy things on your own.

Here are the afters. The anteroom:

Stylish anteroom

The client thought to use Ikea cable hanging systems on the wall That makes it easy for the designer to display sample invitations and stationery. There will be some kind of coffee thing on that white piece, which is Italian.

Pictures on cable system

And the meeting room:

Grey room with green rug

I love it! After we hit on dark brown for the floors, gray walls and an apple green rug popped into my head. A key with gray is to balance it with warm tones so it doesn’t get too cold. Thus the Natural Woven Roman Shades from Smith + Noble.

You’ll recognize the table and chairs, of course: the Saarinen Tulip table and Eames aluminum management chairs. (Knockoffs, I believe, but I have mixed feelings about those, so I didn’t pry.)

Gray meeting room

The George Kovacs aluminum pendant light and was extremely well priced – around $200.

Etched glass door

The final touch – which the clients thought of themselves – was to have the door etched in a pattern similar to the Madeline Weinrib Brooke rug. The light through this door makes such a beautiful pattern on the floor of the anteroom that I suggested replacing the animal print rug with something solid (or with an overall texture but not a large pattern). The shadow will become the pattern.

Best wishes, guys! I don’t know how anyone could NOT hire you once they’ve seen your gorgeous meeting space. Oh yes, and your work, too :)

Before picturesAnnie Elliott – aka bossy color – is an interior decorator and design blogger in Washington, D.C. She’s also the creator of the “bossy basic,” a one-time service that jump-starts the interior design process in your home.


  1. Mary says

    It turned out great. And I happen to love the table & chairs. Knockoffs or not.
    Not many folks can afford the originals.

  2. says

    It’s amazing how much bigger the space looks after everything was done! You did a great job with the colors and layout. And the clients are brilliant for thinking of etching the glass door- such a great touch.

  3. says

    Hi Annie – I’m glad I saw your pictures of the AC26. I not loving it in artificial light but in the natural light it looks beautiful. I’ve noticed the taupes having yellow oxide colorant in them can alter alot from one light source to another.

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