What were those designers thinking? The Hampton Designer Show House

Before I was in the design business I would visit show houses and look at the rooms simply from a personal perspective. If the room happened to be decorated according to my taste and done up with colors I liked I would declare it a hit. If it was anything else, I would immediately dismiss it as ugly. I was quite the critic!

Now that I am educated to the design process and I have friends who participate in show houses, I look at the rooms with a totally different perspective. Such was the case at last weeks Hampton Designer Showhouse. Some of the rooms were simply beautiful and appealed to the masses. They were decorated in soft soothing colors with tasteful accessories that were appropriate to the Hampton location.

Design by Kate Singer, Linda Holt Photo

Design by Kate Singer, Linda Holt Photo

Some of the other rooms were very well done they just happen not to be my taste. Ironically it is those rooms that I give the most thought and attention to. I try to guess what the designer was thinking. I want to know what their inspiration was for the room. There are so many moving parts and decisions that go into creating a show house and sometimes the designer has to use what is available even if it’s not their first choice. I learned this when I participated in the One Room Challenge which was a virtual type of show house.

So no matter if I was a fan or not, I studied the rooms and here are a few of the common threads I observed within all the rooms of the Hampton Show House.

TEXTURE: This was my number one observation. Rich luxurious textures were a major theme within the house. I keep hearing opulence in interior design is making a comeback and many of the show rooms proved this to be true.

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Giant over scale chunky throws were in many of the rooms adding luxurious layered texture as well as thick textured carpets, fur, grass cloth covered walls and sumptuous fabrics. This room, designed by Melanie Turner, was my favorite room in the house. The fabric she chose for the window treatments was riddled with holes which added even more texture to her all white room.

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

Melanie Turner Design, Linda Holt Photo

pillows

Get out your giant knitting needles and get to work!

How cool are those giant cable knit pillows against the faux bois wallpaper?

Mabley Handler Design, Linda Holt Photo

Mabley Handler Design, Linda Holt Photo

The master bedroom designed by Mabley Handler was a sumptuous retreat filled with luxurious textiles as well as a shiny silver dresser, sleek leather chairs and textural grass cloth clad walls. Notice too the statement chandelier which looked like a wedding cake. The layers hanging down are fabric. I loved this room and had to use restraint because I wanted to touch everything, lay on the bed and roll around on the rug.

The black and white bedroom below designed by Elsa R. Soyars was interesting. Not only was it filled with lot’s of different textures like the sculpted rug, a velvet bench with a fur throw, linen and silks, it also featured a black macrame hammock directly next to the bed. This was one of those instances where I would have loved to ask the designer her thought process on the hammock (as well as her placement of a life size deer on the opposite side of the room).

Elsa R. Soyars

Elsa R. Soyars

STATEMENT LIGHTING:Big statement lighting is nothing new but this show house had some very unusual pieces.

Notice the big chunky macrame table skirt adding even more texture to the mostly all white room. Speaking of white rooms…the majority of the walls in the show house were either painted white or covered with grass cloth.

Marie-Christine Design, Linda Holt Photo

Marie-Christine Design, Linda Holt Photo

Another primarily white room with a chunky throw, pillows, a thick textured carpet and a geometric statement chandelier.

Statement lighting was in every single room including a powder room so small I couldn’t get a photo of much more than the light and a tiny glimpse of the ceiling and wallpaper.

Steven Stolman design, Linda Holt Photo

Steven Stolman design, Linda Holt Photo

LACK OF BRIGHT COLOR AND PATTERNS: With the exception of the powder room above and the master bathroom (below) there was very little color or pattern in the house. I would say the master bathroom though had plenty of both color and pattern for the whole house!

Tilton Fenwick, Linda Holt Photo

Tilton Fenwick, Linda Holt Photo

I will leave you with my final image of the kitchen. Just like the proverbial wedding gown at the end of the fashion show, the kitchen is the room that set the tone for the whole house. White, bright, beautiful and a wonderful mixture of textures.

Bakes and Kropp Design, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp Design, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp, Linda Holt Photo

Bakes and Kropp, Linda Holt Photo

So there you have it. My take on the 2016 Hampton Designer Show House. I hope you enjoyed my virtual tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five ways to bring show house style into your own home

I’ve always loved to visit designer show houses. Even though the rooms may be completely out of reach financially to copy, show houses are still a great place to get ideas that you can incorporate in your own home. You may be inspired by a color palette or by a window treatment or even in how the designer accessorized the room. There are always lessons to be learned if you look closely. Last week I was fortunate enough to tour two very different show houses; the Hampton Show House and the Holiday Hampton Show House. As different as each house was, I spotted several things the designers did over and over that are easily duplicated decorating ideas that you can do in your own home. Most of them are at little or no cost but will add that designer flair. Here are my top five tips to bring show house style into your own home.

1. Use a chair to display books and objects. I saw this done over and over again in almost every designer’s room. Chairs were used as little display tables and were stacked with books, art and decorative objects.

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

I think the image below shows a great way to display a small piece of art work that you just can’t find the right spot for on your wall.

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2. Add an orchid. I assume the designers used orchids because they require little care and will last for at least as long as the show house is open to the public but I would have say, just about every show room had a beautiful (usually white) orchid. Orchids are affordable and add life and beauty to any room.

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Elsa Soyars Interiors

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

Gil Walsh Interiors/Linda Holt Photo

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3. Add a geode. Gems are trending big time in interior design and geodes were spotted all over at the two show houses. I saw geodes on stands, geodes in book cases and geodes on top of stacked books. Not only are they beautiful but geodes add sparkle and color.

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4. Add something gold. Gold was THE metal of choice at both Hampton show houses. Gold for light fixtures, gold for hardware, and gold for accessories. Tobi Fairley used beautiful gold accessories on an orange dresser with gold hardware from Lexington Furniture. Notice too the white orchid and look at the chair just to the left of the dresser.

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Tobi Fairley

Lillian August used lots of gold in her room but I especially loved the two matching gold bookcases.

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Lillian August

5. Add photography. As a photographer, I have to say I was most happy to see so much photography used. There was quite a mixture between black and white, color, vintage prints and modern.

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Phoebe Howard design

With Instagram we all seem to be photographers these days so why not pick a favorite image and hang it in your own home? My tip to get a professional look is to blow it up big and have it professionally framed. It will look just like the ones the designers used.

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Patrik Lonn chose a statement photo over the fireplace of bright blue butterflies on a back ground of crumpled tin foil. (notice too the geode lamp and white orchid in the background).

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Above is a colorful Gray Malin photo. I feel like he is following me this Summer as his work was all over our Nantucket house rental this past Summer as well.

I’m sure you want to see more of each of these beautiful rooms and I will be sharing lot’s more in the next few blogs…including the room that most inspired me. In the meantime, I would love to hear which of these design elements is your favorite? Mine is the use of photography.

 

 

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