2013 Design Trendsetters

Our first-ever list of the ultimate design talents who define fabulous seaside style.

Top 10 Coastal Design Trendsetters of 2013

Our first-ever list of top designers who make waves creating amazing style coast to coast.

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The Naturalist: Thomas Paul
Photo: Ngog Minh Ngo

Thomas Paul: The Naturalist

If there's a starfish on your sofa or a crab in your cupboard, you likely have Thomas Paul to thank. For more than a decade, he has populated his pervasive line of home furnishings with sea creatures and other images borrowed from natural history.

"It started with coral and just grew," he says. Octopus pillows, sea horse towels, crab plates—they've landed in coastal homes like beautiful maritime oddities left by a receding tide. He almost singlehandedly returned vintage renderings of fish and fauna back to the public imagination. But he has a way of making the old new again with fresh colors and off-center framing.

Paul's menagerie sprang from natural history illustrations he found at New York flea markets. The hand-drawn forms had seductive appeal to a generation raised on mass-produced goods. "Most designers don't draw things anymore," he says. "So there's a certain power to the one-of-a-kind." —Michael Cannell

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Develop your coastal cottage’s style by following these simple tricks.

Lacy curtains, fresh florals, and plenty of monogrammed pillows are just a few of the feminine touches that give this room its calming and sweet mood. Pieces scored at thrift stores and flea markets were refreshed with paint, then artfully applied to achieve the shabby-chic distressed look.