Designer Spotlight

By Kate Riley January 27, 2010

kyle tyra officeMany months ago while I was planning my own home office remodel, I wrote about how I was inspired by Tyra Banks’ office.  You’ve seen this image before, but here it is again. 

I adore everything about this office space, including the writer’s desk, the intense blue on the walls, the white cabinetry, bold print panels, and the  traditional accessories infused with modern color. 

kyle tyra close up







This office was designed by 24 year old L.A. designer Kyle Schuneman.   Kyle wrote to me several months ago thanking me for the link and we’ve corresponded ever since.


Last month Kyle gave advice in Real Simple magazine in an article entitled  “Decorating with Brown”.  Personally, I think brown is a color many struggle with because it can quickly become dull. 

kyle living room

Not for Kyle.  Now this is how to decorate with brown !  You can read his other helpful tips in the Real Simple article right here

When I saw Kyle’s name mentioned as one of the twenty interior designers promoted on House Beautiful’s Next Wave List, I was extremely excited for him.  He has incredible talent and will no doubt be in the spotlight for many years to come. 

Kyle was kind enough to answer a few questions I posed to him.  Here’s our mini Q & A.


CG:  What are your favorite go to designer/retailers for fresh and modern looks without breaking the bank?

kyle headboardKS: I have a huge internet bookmark list of every great design source for all budgets. 

Some great budget friendly ones I love to use are Urban Outfitters Apartment for fun inspiration, the Blue Bell Bazaar store at Etsy for great vintage finds, and One Kings Lane for constantly changing sales from major retailers.  I also love using ShopStyle  which combines lots of different websites so when you search for an item you can see what many offer in that vein and you can search by price or sale as well.  Most importantly, I just constantly scour major websites for their evolving sale items and places like Overstock or Urban Home can surprise you with awesome deals as well.



CG: What are your suggestions for inexpensive ways to add interest to a room with texture, color, or pattern ?

Adding architectural elements is key.  Moldings, chair rail and beadboard – all these things are really inexpensive but customize your space and add detail that boring boxy rooms need.  Paint is a great way to emphasize things as well.  I love doing subtle changes on fireplace walls (like a shade or two darker) than the walls or the insets of archways painted darker to make these elements pop.  Layering materials creates texture so putting a metal tray on a great farm table with some mirrored vases will create a depth you couldn’t get if they had all been the same material.


kyle thomas paul rugCG:  I notice you have a real passion for patterned rugs, like ThomasPaul.  Should a rug be a starting point in the design, or be an afterthought accessory once colors and furnishings are chosen ? 

KS:  I love rugs – I love the idea of using them as your biggest pattern.  Thomas Paul is good but Angela Adams is my absolute favorite.  It’s a great starting off point but a good rule of thumb is to always think of your fabrics/rugs first.  You can always paint match to a color on a fabric, and a lot of times you can find a color combination you wouldn’t think of on an existing fabric, but its much harder to find a fabric to match your already painted room.



CG: I adore your use of ceiling tiles as a stunning wall treatment.  What’s your philosophy on accent walls as focal points in design, whether using paint or wall coverings ?

KS:   I don’t like to paint a wall a different color just because (and usually because your too scared to paint the entire room) which I know was a trend for awhile.  It needs to make sense and if it’s just on one wall like I did for this bedroom, then layering with lots of items and furniture makes it feel much less obvious. If this room was wrapped in ceiling tiles on all four walls it would be total overkill so when you love a patterned wallpaper or have an interesting wall treatment that you know might be too busy, a focal wall is a great way to showcase it.

kyle bedroom

kyle ceiling tins



kyle rackets


CG:  I know you’re not shy about transforming found objects from second hand stores.  Can you give us an example of one of your before and after pieces ?    

KS:  I love finding different ways to frame mirrors because mirrors are so great in design.  I love finding old windows and fitting them with frames especially in a dark space – it creates an architectural detail while bouncing the light around and opening the room up. 

I also used old tennis racquets as mirror frames above a bed to create interest and at about 5 bucks a pop for an old racquet at a flea market they were cheap cheap cheap for the amount of impact they make.



Now you CG friends know how much I love a good furniture revamp.  Take a peek at this chair transformation Kyle sent me last year.  It’s a 1950’s vinyl Sears & Roebuck that Kyle transformed with a bold geometric print. 

kyle schuneman before and after chair


Beyond interior design, Kyle is a talented prop stylist and set designer.  His latest client is none other than Target.   

kyle prop styling


kyle schuneman



Kyle has been featured on HGTV, DIY, and The Style Network.  To view more of his portfolio and press, visit his website here. 

Kyle also guest blogs over at the Love List.  Visit here for more of his advice on décor and design. 

Thank you Kyle for answering my questions.  We’ll certainly be watching for more of your incredible designs ! 

 All images via


  1. Kate!! I LOVE that you’ve introduced us to Kyle, his work is fabulous! I will definitely be checking out more of his portfolio – a lot of the rooms you featured just made it into my inspiration files. :) And, to echo the others, the brown room is amazing!

  2. Oooooooh! I love all the creativity – he has “my” style for sure – I’m lovin it!

    Maybe he could do some volunteer work for a non-celebrity like me? Ha!

  3. Loved every room as well. Beautiful. He looks like he is 14. Amazing he has gotten such respect from such a competitive industry. Kudos to him and his amazing taste. Great interview. Holly

  4. Great post(again) and very generous of you to feature a designer you admire. I still say no one designs a home office like Kate Riley Eshoo! Your home office is inspired and I like it much more than Tyra Banks’!

  5. Great interview! :) I like the brown room a lot, and the chair revamp is fabulous! I can see how his experience with sets/props helps with his design process. His rooms have some great details. Thanks for introducing us to him, Kate! :)

  6. Thanks, Kate! This is so relevant to me as I’m getting ready to paint our living/dining room walls and am torn between a tan or darker brown color. I am planning on accenting with blues and chocolate browns.
    Kyle is a very talented, young man!

  7. Awesome, thanks! We are going to paint my parents’ plain white walled apartment and I had a cafe au lait type color in mind for the walls!

  8. The brown room looks fabulous, but WHERE do you get that lamp in the room with the ceiling tile wall? That lamp is gorgeous. Thanks for doing that interview.

  9. Ooo, I love this new “Designer Spotlight” feature – fun to read!
    That is great advice on making the rugs/fabrics your starting point. I think I’ve always painted first… and then I struggle to find the perfect fabrics to go with!

  10. Wow…such talent at such a young age. I actually love brown. I have expresso leather couches in my living/family room and we love them. I’ll be watching for this young man.


  11. Geez, how talented is this kid?! He’s only 24? The photo of the brown room totally solved a design dilemma of mine- my bedroom is shades of brown, but it’s just looking too neutral. I think adding a bold graphic print like the large brown damask on the chairs would work wonders. Thanks!

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