I am so excited and honored to learn the bedroom I designed, for the transformation of the Beaux Arts style historic Frank E. Anderson mansion in Nashua for the New Hampshire Designer Showhouse, was featured in the November - December 2018 Issue of New England Home Magazine along with three other designers in the "ROOMS WE LOVE" section! My room is beautifully described by Paula M Bodha on page 68. She "got" my design intent and her description of the room was spot on! The Showhouse was a benefit for Home Health Hospice Care in Merrimack, New Hampshire and I was honored to be one of the 20 designers selected to transform a room for the fundraiser.
Click here to check out the article, it's on page 70. issuu.com/newnewenglandhomemagazinellc/docs/new_england_home_november_december__8ccfa624439287/70
New Hampshire Designer Showhouse - 2018 A journey through the process of designing a bedroom for the showhouse.
This year I was honored to be selected to design a room for the 2018 New Hampshire Designer Showhouse in Nashua, New Hampshire. The showhouse is a historic mansion built in 1906 by Frank E. Anderson, the President of Estabrook-Anderson Show Company, in the Beaux Arts Classical Style. The 90 Concord Street mansion is built of red brick and dressed in white marble and slate with iconic columns and balustrades. The showhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the "Nashville Historic District".
Open to the public for the entire month of August, 2018, all proceeds from ticket sales support Home Health & Hospice Care of Merrimack, New Hampshire. A hospice facility that supports people at the end of life who do not have the resources or insurance to transition comfortably.
The house is currently owned by Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, who typically uses the home for events, and fundraisers. Some designer showhouses are either, owned by an individual who works with the sponsoring organization and the designers and signs off on all the designs prior to work beginning such as this year's Pasadena Showcase House of Design, https://www.pasadenashowcase.org/, or is the same house used year after year just for the purpose of being an over the top designer show piece, like the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse in Manhattan owned by the Boys & Girls Club, which also uses the event as a fundraiser. http://www.kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org/
Since my showhouse is used by the school, a Catholic Liberal Arts College, I felt it was important to make sure anything I did to the surfaces of the room; walls, trim, ceiling, and window treatments, would make sense and have an appropriate feel once all the furnishings and accessories were removed. I could be dramatic and make a "statement" through the use of fabrics, lighting, furnishings, and accessories. My room was called the South Bedroom. A comfortable size room with 10 foot high ceiling, but it had a wall with two windows, and two walls that each had a closet and an interior door. Luckily there was one large wall with no openings, except a large radiator. Hmm, how could I disguise that!!
When I design a room, I usually pick one piece as the inspiration for the room and then every other design choice flows from there. Typically, I have also talked to the client to understand their likes and dislikes, style and color preference and so on. In this case, I was my own client, but since we were asked to give our room a name, I created a fictional client, a young woman, early twenties, worldly, witty, stylish, and unique, I called the bedroom "Cosmopolitan Twist".
I knew I wanted a four-poster-bed to honor the age and style of the house, but I did not want the traditional look in the posts and dark wood. I wanted it to have an updated look, with a light finish. I found exactly what I was looking for from Universal Furniture and their Dogwood four-poster-bed.
My next inspiration piece was a pair of pillows by Callisto Home. The blue and gold were exactly the right colors I had imagined for the room. I wanted the room to be bright, with shades of blue and metallic gold.
I decided I put wallpaper on the walls, because I didn't want to just paint them, and the walls were old and had some cracks and uneven parts. The right wall paper would hide these. I looked at SO many wallpaper samples, from very graphic, to floral, to stripes, and I finally found the perfect wallpaper from Osborne & Little, https://www.osborneandlittle.com/, Fresco, reminiscent of old plaster paint wall, but updated in shiny lemony gold, white, and silver undertones. It is gorgeous!!
Next, I wanted to find a large chandelier that made a statement, was bold, beautiful and had that "WOW" factor. Again, I looked at so many options, some by Currey & Co. some by World's Away, but none of them created that sense of excitement. Finally, somehow, my search led me to an ostrich feather chandelier by Los Angeles designer, Jamie Dietrich, http://jamiedietrich.com/. This was the one, and the color I choose would add the dramatic pop of color I was looking for, Fuchsia!!
To make the chandelier stand out even more, I decided I would paint the ceiling a dark, almost cobalt, blue with a Satin finish to make it shine just enough. Since the ceiling was 10ft high, I knew the room could handle the dark ceiling, and I had also painted the trim a nice white, and the cove molding between the trim and the ceiling a beautiful shade of gold that worked with the tones in the wallpaper.
With the finishes complete I needed to find a rug that worked with the design. Not too traditional, not too modern. PRG rugs in Nashua, NH, http://www.prgrugs.com/, had graciously offered to donate rugs for the showhouse!! After looking through every rug, do you get the sense I am a perfectionist? I found the right one!
As I started to look for other furnishings the style of the room was really coming together. I wanted some more updated pieces that still had a classic look to them. I found a great Klismos style chair, but in acrylic, from Worlds Away, http://www.worlds-away.com/. I had the seat reupholstered in a pink zebra print fabric and it looks amazing!!
I think it is always important to think outside the box in design and create pieces of art from found objects. I found a unique stick sculpture and just had to have it. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to use it in my showhouse bedroom, but I had the perfect place to put it and I knew I would figure something out. I wanted to pay homage to inspiring women, and travel, because traveling opens our minds and expands our view of the world in positive ways. Honestly, in the middle of the night one sleepless evening it came to me. Let me know what you think!!
I also looked around for unique art work from artists that would really suit the theme of the room. I found this great piece by Maisa Champalimaud of Portugal, https://www.maisachampalimaud.com/. I couldn't afford to purchase the original, but I contacted her, told her about my showhouse, and she had a print made and sent it to me. I love it and I think it is just perfect!!
Since I had designed the room for a twenty something year old woman, with a sense of humor, I added some fun pieces I found. The brass monkeys are from Noir Furniturela, https://noirfurniturela.com/, and the Audrey pillow is from Redbubble, https://www.redbubble.com/.
I also like to use craftspeople on Etsy, and I had custom lampshades made for the two table lamps I place on the bedside tables by http://cruelmountain.com/ and I purchased a beautiful fuschia alpaca throw from
https://www.etsy.com/people/WorldWakeUp, seen here loaded into the back of my car with many of the other accessories for the room.
The window treatments were the last items to be installed in the room. I worked with Barbara Burton of B. Burton Custom Decor, LLC, https://www.bburtoncustomdecor.com/, to find the perfect fabric and have them fabricated. I also purchased fabrics for the wing chair I had reupholstered from her and she made the lumbar pillow for me from the zebra fabric that I had also used on the acrylic chair. It is always hard to get good photographs of window treatments due to the back lighting from the windows, but when you see the room, you will see how they enhanced it. The windows were low compared to the height of the ceiling, so we raised the valance up higher to give the appearance that the windows are taller than they actually are. A trick of the trade!
Finally, it is time to show the completed room. I will do this through vignettes and finally in the head on view of the main wall. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
The final shot!
I really enjoyed designing the bedroom for the Designer Showhouse. I hope you enjoyed this blog post, and if you are in the area, head over to the showhouse to experience it for yourself!!
Wait! Don’t throw out Grandma’s old chair!!
I know you may look at those heavy antique chairs you inherited from your grandma and think there is just no way they will ever look anything but old and frumpy, but that's just not true. There are so many beautiful fabrics available, and many different ways you can choose to refinish the exposed wood, either by painting or sanding and re-staining, that it makes sense to re-purpose that well made piece of furniture. You can bet new furniture, in most cases, is not as well made. So go green, and help save the planet by getting creative and repurposing those old pieces. You will be suprised at how cool and unique they will look, and each will have a story behind them! I will be re-upholstering this old wing chair in two different fabrics, and painting the legs to use in the bedroom I am designing for the 2018 New Hampshire Designer Show House. https://www.hhhc.org/how-to-help/events/designer-showhouse/ Look for the reveal in a future blog.
Love the light gray painted wood, it makes the orange patterned fabric pop! SASInteriors.net
This chair was refurbished by an Esty shop called WildChairy, www.wildchairy.com. The use of two different fabrics and the placement of the pattern make it really stand out!
These chairs are by Chair Whimsy, chairwhimsy.com
Multiple ways to use fabric, you can't go wrong!
The black finish and use of french grain sacks on the pair of these chairs by Chair Whimsy is very classy.
Use of one simple patterned fabric on the front with a more detailed pattern on the back is beautiful on these chairs by https://missmustardseed.com/
thirdandgrace.com added drama with selective positioning of the geometric patterned fabric and gold painted frame.
Cowhide never goes out of style, chairwhimsy.com/
I love color! These really speak to me and the shape of the chair legs accented by the gold add dramatic flair! http://latapicera.com
Be Bold, Go Wild!!
Red Lacquer with dramatic black and white print makes this chair pop!
Nina Burke wing chair.
Another great example of how placement of fabric really makes the chair.
This before and after photo helps you see the amazing transformation, by www.chairloom.com/
Don'f forget settees, http://latapicera.com
A vintage settee custom upholstered in the @madcapcottage for @robertallendesign
Fabric choice and placement is important! For me the top two chairs work, and the bottom two, not so much. What do you think? Leave your comment below, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
You can attempt to reupholster yourself, but I know from experience it is a steep learning curve (no that's not me). I once decided to reupholster an old wing chair I found at a garage sale for $19, myself, while I was 7 months pregnant! It was fun, but it took me quite a long time, and I made mistakes along the way that I had to correct. So, I decided after that experience that I would hire an expert for any future reupholstery needs.
However, for those of you who would like to give it a go yourself I found this tutorial on how to do it yourself, http://modestmaven.blogspot.ca/2011/04/vintage-blossom-wingback-chair.html?m=1
Are you ready to save Grandma's old chair, settee, sofa, or ottoman, and all the wonderful history behind each piece by reupholstering?
AND, have fun with fabric choices and fabric placement?
GO for it.....
Be Bold, & Get Creative!
Why Hire an Interior Designer?
Photo By SimonTe Tai
I love the expression on this Llama, and I imagine this is the face many people might make when pondering if they should hire an Interior Designer; “Hmm, I think I can do it myself”, “Interior Designers are expensive”, “I can just go to Home Depot and figure it all out”, “I watch HGTV all the time and it looks so easy!".
I get it, some people can design their own spaces, but for those who just can’t, because they either don’t have the time, or they don’t possess that creative bone (it’s okay, we are all born with strengths and weaknesses), Interior Designers can help create the space you imagined within your budget. These are my top 7 reasons why you should hire an interior designer.
1. You will save money!
Toss aside the idea that interior designers are only for the rich and famous. It may seem hard to believe but, in the long run, an interior designer can save you money. A designer will help you plan, plot and coordinate every stage of your project, eliminating costly mistakes. In addition, a well-designed home will increase the value of your home when it is time to sell. Designers also have access to trade-only resources that are often not available to the public or are heavily discounted when bought through a professional and most designers will pass that discount on to their client.
2. Designers have a trained eye and will help focus your vision.
There is so much more to a well-designed room than simply filling it with your favorite things. Designers are trained to know scale, proportion, color, size and texture, and so will professionally assess your space to ensure it is functional, efficient, and beautiful. In short, a designer offers an extra set of eyes – eyes that are trained to see things you may not. A designer will also take your unique personality and style into account and design a space that truly reflects your aesthetic.
3. Your designer will help you plan (and stick to) a budget.
Setting a budget is the easy part. Deciding how you’re going to allocate it among the different aspects of your design project is a lot harder. This is where the designer comes in. There’s no use in setting a budget if you don’t know what products or materials cost. A designer has this information at his/her fingertips and so can work out a clear item-by- item breakdown of projected expenses before any work begins. A designer will give you a realistic picture of what can be achieved within the scope of your budget.
4. Hiring a designer will save you time.
When you add up all the countless hours (and gas) wasted by looking for samples, or buying items, and then discover they don’t work once you get home and you must then return them, hiring a pro is time-saving no-brainer. Your designer will research options from many available vendors, and bring them to you to review in the comfort of your own home.
5. Designers have contacts and they are good at liaising.
Interior Designers have relationships with other consultants, plumbers, electricians and contractors and can help you get the right people for your job and help keep the project on deadline. A designer will be able to build a stronger bridge between you and your architect or contractors early on and will help prevent design mistakes in your overall plan. Your architect, contractor, and sub-contractors need to be on the same page with your project, and your designer is the one who makes sure this happens. It is important that the lighting plan and furnishing plan needs be addressed before construction; if your sofa is going to be floating in the middle of the room, for instance, you want to make sure you have the proper access to plug points and so on. Each practice informs the other, and you can instantly tell a home that has benefited from collaborative approach.
6. Designers increase the value of your home.
There’s a reason why people hire ‘home stagers’ when they put their properties on the market. If done properly, staging your home will highlight its strengths and help downplay its weaknesses, making it more attractive to potential buyers. The job of the interior designer is no different, designers aren’t there simply to choose paint colors and hang pictures. They are skilled at figuring out the best way to utilize the spaces in a home, making each one more attractive to future buyers.
The return on your interior investment is comfort and an improved lifestyle, both of which will have an impact on your home’s desirability to others should you decide to sell it one day, but it is also important that your financial outlay be in proportion to the value of your property.
A designer will consider factors for maximizing your home’s potential that you may not even have thought of. The designer will look, for instance, at how the light enters a room, during what time of day the space is used most and who uses it. They’ll find ways to make your interiors accentuate the features of your home’s architectural style and they will ensure that every element of the decorating scheme works within the overall layout. This creates a sense of cohesion between the interior and exterior spaces, all of which adds significantly to a home’s appeal and value.
7. Designers are on top of trends.
Designers have their fingers on the pulse of industry developments, new products and suppliers, and the very latest in design thinking. They are exposed to new information and they bring this with them when they create new concepts for existing living spaces, be it converting an old bathroom into a modern wet room, or updating a classic home for the new century. A good designer is able to adapt cutting-edge trends to the client, never losing sight of their vision, yet ensuring that the design is functional and beautiful.
Convinced! Ready to hire an Interior Designer?
Give me a call and “Let’s have fun designing!”
I am passionate about Interior Design, travel, Italy, the ocean, sunsets, music, photography, and my family. In these blogs I share inspirations, experiences, musings, and photographs.
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