Meet Our 2014 Fresh Faces of Design Winner

Meet the rising star who beat out a crop of talented designers.

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After an extensive selection process involving 100+ submissions from talented designers across the US and weeks of online voting where HGTV fans cast hundreds of thousands of votes, we have a winner. Drumroll, please.  Everyone join us in congratulating Caitlin McCarthy, the winner of our Fresh Faces of Design competition!

Caitlin's genius small-space solutions and approachable high-meets-low design style wowed HGTV fans who voted her design tops in the small space category, then won over the judges who crowned her the winner overall. Here are a few photos of Caitlin’s award-winning downtown Los Angeles loft plus the judges' POV on why she swept the competition:

Becky LaFranchi, Communications and Interior Design Manager for Ikea USA, had this to say: "When designing a small space, every detail is important, each decision impacts another, and the ability to edit is key." Caitlin pulls together a beautifully balanced, collected-over-time look that tells a story but is well edited and doesn’t feel cluttered:

Art and Books

Artistic Details

Personal touches -- like knick-knacks, books and art pieces -- make a home feel really personal.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

Jillian St. Charles, Vice President of adds, "You don't see many luxe-looking galley kitchens. This very functional space combines materials and judicious use of color in a way that’s really engaging."

Small Kitchen With Teal Runner Leading to Narrow Dining Room

Galley Kitchen With Pendant Lights and Exposed Brick

This galley kitchen connects two ends of the apartment, and in doing so, remains flawlessly neutral and unadorned. A small patch of exposed brick adds character and texture to the small space.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

Brian Patrick Flynn, Interior Designer and Founder of FlynnsideOut Productions was impressed with Caitlin’s mastery of scale and the way she incorporated the loft’s century-old architectural elements, like the exposed brick and original hexagonal tile floor:

Upholstered Chair With Green Trim, Gray Throw Pillow

Vibrant Green Trim on Upholstered Armchair

Kelly green trim on the armchair brings a refreshing pop of color to this bedroom.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

All the judges could agree that Caitlin's design is approachable and deftly combines bargain finds with glamorous touches, like these Thomas O’Brien Hicks pendants that illuminate the hallway-turned-dining room:

Round Pendant Lights With Brass Trim in Hall

Nautical-Inspired Brass Pendant Lights

Large globe light fixtures are a great way to make a big impact in a small space. The brass trim on these have warm nautical feel.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

Off the dining room is the loft's main bedroom. Doorless white walls give the loft a cohesive feel that helps the small spaces flow one into the next:

Gold Mirror Beside Bed in Tiny, Open Bedroom

Small White Bedroom Features Gold Mirror, Ornate Headboard

Breakfast in bed takes on a new meaning when the dining room is right around the corner from your bed. Thanks to a gold-framed mirror and an unadorned window, the tiny bedroom feels a bit larger and brighter.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

The jewelbox of a bedroom conceals a real gem: a boutique-worthy glass-doored closet:

Shoe Storage Closet

Closet With Cabinet-Style Shoe and Accessory Storage

This closet is the dream of all well-heeled homeowners. Cabinets with glass doors and interior lighting showcase the shoes and accessories like artwork.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

But that isn't the loft's only surprise — what looks like a built-in in the living room is actually… 

Contemporary Living Space With Exposed Brick and Built-In Closets

Loft Living Room With Contemporary Seating

Built-in cabinets provide both extra space and style in this sophisticated contemporary living area.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

a Murphy bed that cleverly tucks away when not in use. Genius!

White Room With Gray Bed, White Bedding and Zebra Print Rug

Murphy Bed in Chic, Urban Living Space

The hideaway Murphy bed in this urban living space is both practical and stylish. A custom closet with recessed lighting creates a dramatic feel, and clean lines give the sleeping nook a boutique hotel vibe.

Photo by: Jessie Webster

Jessie Webster

Judge Becky LaFranchi summed up this petite pied a terre best, "Caitlin's design proves that small-space living can be both stylish and comfortable. It also feels very individualized, and not at all cookie-cutter, like you might expect a tiny space to be." Brava, Caitlin, congrats on your win! 

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