Celebrate the best of the West at Sunset in Menlo Park this weekend

by Linda Hubbard on May 31, 2013

Where once there were work spaces and a loading deck at Sunset’s 85 Willow Road building in Menlo Park is now a house. Well, almost a house.

For this year’s 16th annual Sunset Celebration Weekend, taking place June 1 and 2, five up-and-coming designers from around the West created spaces inspired by Sunset home pictorials from the 1940s through the 1980s. The theme is Reimagining the Sunset Home.

This is a different approach from previous years when Sunset built a stand-alone house. Also new is editor-in-chief Peggy Northrup, who came aboard in April.

“It’s exciting to see it come together,” she said amidst pre-opening construction. “To think it will all be trampled this weekend!”

Sunset heated garden benchAs our group moved  between Sunset’s north and south Willow Road buildings, we stopped outside one glass-enclosed office that was adorned with Sunset covers. Quipped Peggy: “The camping covers are our equivalent of a naked Jennifer Aniston on gossip magazines. Both increase newsrack sales.”

One still-under-contraction-space was being turned into what designer Erin Hiemstra termed an “unplugged den.” “No electronics allowed,” she said. “My inspiration was a romper room.”

Among its distinctions: a wall of plants, artworks, and books (pictured) as well as a giant wooden map of California created by artist Scott Coppersmith, who the designer “discovered” at an Alameda flea market selling California signs. The map is illuminated by light bulbs showing the major cities.

Outside, designer Daniel Nolan is creating an outdoor living room that will remain after this weekend’s estimated 20,000 plus visitors are long gone. Among its features is a heated Helios bench (pictured), another of which will be raffled off over the weekend. Daniel describes his landscapes as very architectural in style. “There are an abundance of sharp edges,” he said, adding with a smile, “Quite consciously, almost everything has a thorn.”

Sunset Celebration Weekend takes on June 1 and 2 at 80 Willow Road in Menlo Park from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. In addition to the Reimagining the Sunset Home design areas, there will be  celebrity chefs demonstrating recipes, how-to seminars on home, travel, food, and garden, as well as cheese, food and chocolate tastings. A complete schedule is available online. Admission is $18 general; $16 for seniors; kids free. Tickets can be purchased in advance online.

Photos by Dennis Nugent

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