From rooms reimagined to innovative uses of color, these vignettes added extra wow factor to the year in design
1 of 10Thomas J. Story
Put the wow moment on the floor
Tile on the kitchen backsplash? Beautiful. Tile on the kitchen floor? Show-stopping. This kitchen from our August issue taught us to look twice at the surface beneath our feet and consider making our biggest style statement there.
That’s not a high-end (and pricey) wallpaper, that’s a clever take on painted stripes that looks like high-end wallpaper. Designer Kyle Schuneman let us in on this secret in our February issue: Painting the stripes on the diagonal is an updated take on the classic vertical or horizontal pattern. If you use painter’s tape to both protect what you don’t want to paint and measure the width between the stripes, it’s a fast project.
We’re all for carefully-plotted gallery walls, but taping up family snapshots with rice paper (or washi) tape has undeniable charm. This is a great idea for rentals, kids’ rooms, offices, or any place you want the freedom to remove and rearrange your photos with zero fuss.
Each member of this family featured in our June issue contributed something major to their communal weekend cabin’s design. From the electrical plans to the textiles on the pillows, it’s inspiring to see how harmonious democratic design can be.
In our September issue, five designers reinterpreted rooms from vintage issues of Sunset. It was a good reminder that great design—like a triple-sided fireplace that neatly partitions two rooms without cutting them off—is great design, no matter the decade.
Calling the kitchen the new living room doesn’t go far enough. When designer Brian Paquette added a double-width banquette to the kitchen he designed for this year’s Celebration Weekend home exhibit, it was an a-ha moment: The kitchen is now the lounge.
Our favorite image of the year came from our July issue, which featured a Laguna beach cottage with this knockout bathroom in black. It’s dramatic, it’s sexy, and it’s a great way to make a sometimes forgettable utilitarian space look just as good—or better—than the rest of your house.
Designer Brian Paquette saturated this year’s Idea House, featured in our October issue, with color inside and out. Even the ceilings and trimwork got more than the standard white-paint treatment, like in this bedroom where different shades of aqua create a cocoon.
Your home is your sanctuary—and all the more when you purposely create it as a device-free place. We were inspired by the mindfulness (and willpower) of this family, featured in our January issue, to carve out some no-tech rooms of our own.
It’s not that we thought stair risers were boring (OK, maybe we did), but we had no idea they had this much potential until designer Brian Paquette decoupaged this staircase in our Idea House. A high-style DIY is always a win.