Color & Chocolate: A Sweet, Surprising Design Story

James sent us an email with a behind-the-scenes design world story that is out of the ordinary. It's one that shows the power of reaching out when you admire someone's work, the remarkable kindness and generosity of a designer and how a little sweetness (in this case, chocolate) can go a long way toward a more beautiful, colorful home...
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Here's the story behind the design, from James: Around the end of 2009, I was in the process of purchasing a condo. By the time I got to the closing stage, I started looking for design inspiration. Having grown up in a house with all white walls, I knew the first thing I would do is paint the walls. So I started looking online for inspiration.

When I went on HGTV.com's Designer's Portfolio section, I saw a lot of rooms/condos with paint schemes that I loved, and realized that many of them were from the same designer - Andreas Charalambous of FORMA Design. Having recently graduated college, I knew that I couldn't afford a designer or even a consulation, so I figured what the hell, and I emailed him. I told him how I was buying a condo and how I really loved the work he's done, and I attached some photos of the condo and asked for any sort of guidance he could give me. I also added that while I couldn't give him money, I could give him chocolate (at the time I worked for a huge chocolate company).

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He emailed me back and said how no one's ever offered him chocolate before and mentioned that he'd be in my area in a few weeks and wouldn't mind stopping by for a consultation, no charge at all. Flash forward a few weeks, he comes by for 2 hours, tells me his thoughts on furniture/design and helps me pick a paint scheme, and asks for nothing in return (although I did give force him to take a bunch of chocolate that I set aside for him).

Over the course of the next year, I kept in close contact with him over email, during which he gave me his thoughts on (and OK'd) every design decision I made, and helped me develop my own sense of style for my condo. What I have now is a modern condo that I am incredibly proud of.

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After hearing James' story, we contacted Andreas to find out if he would mind if we shared it with the Apartment Therapy readers, and kindly, he said yes. He replied: I thought James' interest in our work and his appreciation of it was better than any monetary payment - though the chocolate did make everyone in the office, and all our clients who came to the office for meetings, very happy.

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Such a fun, unexpected story to hit the inbox - kudos to James on his home and cheers to Andreas for his generosity with his talent!

If you'd like to see Andreas' portfolio of projects and learn more about his work, visit FORMA Design's website and Facebook page.

Images: James Morgan

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