Countdown: Ten Best Rooms of 2014

At the end of every year, I like to look back at the spaces that have inspired me.  Nowadays, galleries of beautiful rooms are just a click away, and online idea books or pin boards are a way to keep them organized.  Yet, somehow, all the information that goes with an image tends to get “lost,” so finding the original source or article can take hours.  And then, there are those images that we see over and over again, so why bother tagging them?  Managing Pinterest feels like a full-time job — at least the way I’d want to cross-categorize the photos — which is the reason I resort to hard copy.

For me — a magazine hoarder, for no other reason than I just can’t part with them — the end of the year is an opportunity to re-visit the stacks in my library.  When I came across the pages I had earmarked this year, I noticed a pattern.  The rooms I loved all had a similar aesthetic — yes, still clean-lined, with neutrals and organic textures — but the overall looks have shifted away from all-white.  Every room I liked had black and brass, with at least one standout element that I covet.

So, here they are.  The ten rooms that inspired me the most in 2014, with my one favorite thing in each.

10.   Looking back to my favorite room of 2013, it was a stairwell filled with metallic finishes and black accents.  Since I ended last year with a stairwell, I’ll start this year with another.  This entrance has classical architectural features — note the fluted balusters on the stairwell.  The “black element” (that all my favorite rooms have) is the  backgammon-style runner, the same one Kelly Wearstler has in her Beverly Hills home. Favorite thing:  the Buddha on Plexiglas pedestal.  House & Home, March 2014:  Interior design by Christine Ralphs and Michelle Lloyd Bermann (Lloyd Ralphs Design)  photo by Stacey Brandford (image source).

source:  Pinterest | photo by Stacey Brandford

source: Pinterest | photo by Stacey Brandford

9.  In the sitting area of Ryan White‘s bedroom is a fireplace — painted black, it accentuates the character of his West Hollywood home.  Favorite thing:  Bronze antelope head.  Traditional Home, May 2014.  Photo by Michael Garland.

photo by Michael Garland

photo by Michael Garland

8.  Personal artifacts are displayed throughout this renovated barn near Polpis Harbor on Nantucket, like the wooden horse and shell necklace propped on the hallway console.  The rustic elements and neutral palette, along with the updated open post-and-beam structure, are why this home made my list.  I especially love the gallery of traditional nautical oil paintings on a nickel-groved wall in the living room, here.  Favorite thing:  Oversized abstract painting by an artist I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, Victor-Raul Garcia.  New England Home, July-August 2014.  Photo by Michael Partenio, interior design by Tom Sheridan.

photo by Michael Partenio

photo by Michael Partenio

7.   Without upper cabinetry, in this kitchen designed by William Hefner, the plaster hood seamlessly blends into the white walls and honed marble backsplash, allowing the steel framed windows, industrial lighting and the shiny brass island to stand out and yet still feel minimalist.  Favorite thing:  The Fantasy Blue paint color on the lower cabinets.  House Beautiful, February 2014.  Photo by James Ray Spahn.


photo by James Ray Spahn

6.  Rustic beams in a modern kitchen in Washington D.C. with heartwood custom cabinets and a single industrial black pendant.  Favorite thing:  The sleek, single-sided waterfall countertop on the island.  Elle Decor, September 2014.  Photo by Richard Powers, Interior design by Darryl Carter.

photo by Richard Powers

photo by Richard Powers

5.  A country colonial in Quebec was transformed with lacquered white floors — contrasting the black front door — mixed with vintage pieces, Kelly Wearstler pillows and artwork above the sofa by Nadia Myre.  Favorite thing:  A vintage find that I have in my own home — an early 1900s stoneware butter crock, serving as a planter with the sticks by the door. House & Home, May 2014  Interior design by Les Ensembliers.

photo by Andre Rider

photo by Andre Rider

4.  Coldplay guitarist Jonny Buckland’s New York loft is minimalist with dark neutrals and organic materials. While their dining room doesn’t feel like a black room, he and his wife claimed they “aren’t afraid of black,” and the rest of their home reflects that.  Favorite thing (besides the herringbone floors):  Brass hanging light fixture by Billy Cotton.  Interior design by Ashe + Leandro.


3.  The only non black-and-gold room on my list is this living room.  Novelist Holly Peterson redecorated each room in her Hamptons home with a different bold color, not just splashes, but full walls and upholstery in green, turquoise and purple (see the rest of the rooms, here).  The only thing black and white in the space is actually what set the room apart for me.  Favorite thing:  Photography above the fireplace by Migliori.  Interior design by Kimberly Hall.  Elle Decor, July/August 2014.

photo by William Waldron

photo by William Waldron

2.  Ali Yaphe of Y&Co had her home featured early in 2014.  With soaring ceilings and plenty of natural light, the dark, milled rift-cut oak cabinets with sandblasted finish, contrast with bright white upper cabinetry, and the black Cambrian stone fireplace anchors the open space.    Favorite thing:  Black Moooi pendants over the dining table.  House & Home, January 2014.  Photo by Donna Griffith, Interior design Mazen El-Abdallah, Anthony Fieldman and Ali Yaphe.


photo by Donna Griffith

1.  The library in Ellen Pompeo’s 1930s Los Angeles Villa sums it up for 2014.  Black and gold.  With dark oak paneled built-ins and Chesterfield loveseats in a dark leather, the blue velvet sofa, brass lighting and accents pop.  Favorite thing:  Herringbone hide rug.  Architectural Digest, November 2014.  Photo by Roger Davies; Interior design by Martyn Lawrence Bullard.


photo by Roger Davies

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