AMES, Iowa — Samantha Kragel, an Iowa State University senior in interior design, has won second place in the residential category of the ninth Sherwin-Williams Student Design Challenge.

More than 750 students entered the annual juried competition, which asked students to select a minimum of three Sherwin-Williams paint colors and use them as the inspiration for a conceptual residential or commercial interior space.

For her winning project, “Wanderer,” Kragel, of Marion, chose five colors from the company’s 2019 color forecast palette of the same name. She used one focal color in each of her three renderings — a bedroom (“Dark Clove”), a living room (“Caramelized”) and a kitchen (“Origami White”) — complemented by a mix of the other colors throughout.

“I tried not to look at how Sherwin-Williams defined that palette and went with the emotions I felt instead,” Kragel said.

“I see this home as belonging to a gatherer, someone who travels the world and collects treasures along their way. They have a free spirit, a love for botanical environments, and are not afraid of bold color and pattern,” she said in the narrative submitted with her entry.

Kragel — who completed a residential design internship with London Walder Interior Design in Chicago last summer and is a commercial design intern with INVISION in Des Moines this summer — used the project as an opportunity to stretch her design muscles, she said.

“I tend to stick with symmetry, but I wanted to make this space feel more realistic; the rooms we live in are not all big, open squares. The living room still wound up very symmetrical, but the kitchen is more whimsical, and the bedroom is asymmetrical with the bed off to one side, a nook window and a staircase.”

Kragel used SketchUp software with a V-Ray plugin to develop her renderings. She believes her customization of all accessories and other elements, as well as her use of color, helped her project stand out: “I pride myself in not using Photoshop very much; every piece in my renderings has been altered in some way and placed strategically to make it look like someone actually lives in the space. I think that was really successful.”

Kragel will receive $1,000, and her work will be featured on the Sherwin-Williams for Design Pros Facebook page and in a future issue of the company’s STIR Magazine email newsletter.


Samantha Kragel, Interior Design senior, sakragel@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu