The Black Whale

The Black Whale Project

Compass black whale

See our latest wall feature addition.

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The Black Whale in Downtown New Bedford, MA happens to be the biggest Blank Canvas of my career so far.

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Hard to believe a little over a year ago it was down to these bare bones.

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Collaborating and building relationships with these other small local businesses on this project was extremely gratifying.

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My obligations went further than just designing, I also took on the role of painting  the Restaurant. Most people don’t realize the majority of the work I do is actually basic painting. I stepped completely out of my comfort zone when I was asked to help design it. .

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I was given a lot of creative license by the Owner, Albert Santos and Manager, Luis DaSilva. We worked together and It was a pleasure working with them both.

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It started with a vision then just evolved over the length of the project. I really wanted to incorporate some of my signature style which is large scale wall murals.

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This wall that runs along side the train tracks was the perfect place.

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Custom painted wall art in this rich navy creates visual interest, depth and movement. The fish inspired mural took several attempts before getting it just right!

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Custom Canvas Art produced by a local downtown shop called Spinner Publications worked with me to achieve the large scale wallart. Click here for more Behind-the-Scenes footage of this project.

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Sorting through hundreds of historical prints, we searched for the perfect 3 photos to modify,  It was important to have this feature wall  reflect the history and diversity of the city with its many languages of the The Black Whale spelled out from Around the World.

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My love for rustic was introduced  wrapping  this weathered pine in a chevron pattern around the bar. The wood creates texture and warmth, a nice contrast with the blue and gray tones.

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I hand selected the pine from 2 local sawmills.  Robert Pires of Bob’s Building worked patiently with me, bringing my vision to life.


After much dispute, I decided to colorwash the weathered pine to soften and brighten the look and give it a more nautical feel.

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I used the floor as my jumping off point, selecting the Lager Vinyl Planks with a rustic quality and selecting my color scheme from colors that were in the flooring. It had pretty blue grays and orange tones that I wanted to bring out.

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One thing I’m known for is utilizing that 5th wall so these ceilings had to have COLOR! The tinted blue ceilings give the illusion of a larger and more open space and was perfectly suited for this seaside cafe.

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All the flooring and tiles were supplied and installed by New Bedford Tile and Carpet.  The Bathroom  was a  combination of Island Palms chevron glass in a pop of orange and porcelain plank tiles for 3/4 walls. The cast wave sinks were custom made by Sonoma Cast.


I used Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter for the walls and Sherwin Williams Medatative for the tinted blue ceiling. The neutral walls allow for the accent colors to really pop! The crown molding gives some nice architectural detail and helps break up the colors.

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The Orange accent ceiling over the bar was painted in Benjamin Moore’s Potters Clay casting a warm glow in contrast to the stainless bar racks.

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My Blank Canvas didn’t stop there. We had to fill this outdoor patio with some color. Lisa and Jackie from Fairhaven’s  Gotta Have It  was such a big help in helping me select the perfect  furniture in just the right pop of colors.


I went into this project not knowing much about Restaurant Design at all. I’m grateful I was given the opportunity but more importantly, I’m thankful to other seasoned professionals who were so generous and eager to help me along the way.

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This job has prepared me for the next 3 Restaurants I’m currently working on. If you haven’t made it by The Black Whale, be sure to stop in and let us know what you think.  The food is just as amazing as the atmosphere!  Thanks for stopping by the Artful interior.

Special thanks to Aly Morrissey of for your beautiful photography.


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