Monday, June 11, 2012

House Tour: The JLH Showhouse in Connecticut

Being such an interior design enthusiast, I love a decorator's show house more than anything.  To be able to view the 'before and after' of a house.  To see the exquisite design from fabulous decorators.  To view the ingenious creativity from such talented designers. 

I used to observe from a distance show houses like Kips Bay in New York City  or Elle Decor's 'The Modern Life Concept House' in NYC (read more here) ...

Jamie Drake Kips Bay Show House 2007, Photo Nick Johnson

Lee Kleinhelter from Pieces Boutique
at The Modern Life Concept House , Courtesy of Quintessence

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Christopher Coleman
Elle Decor The Modern Life Concept House
Courtesy of Quintessence
When I moved to Connecticut, I joined a women's volunteer organization, the Junior League of Hartford.  We promote voluntarism and raise money to help people in need in our community.  Every three years, we hold our biggest fundraising event, the JLH Decorator's Show House.  It's not only incredible to be a part of such a wonderful women's organization, it's a pleasure to see the fantastic creativity of local Connecticut designers come together to create our very own show house masterpiece. 

This year, the selected house was located in Hartford's historic West End- a beautifully preserved, fine residential district with breath-taking estates from the 1890's through the 1920's.  The house, located on the tree lined Scarborough Street was 7000 square feet with 9 bedrooms, 3 fireplaces, 5 full and 2 half baths.  The estate spanned over 2 acres of beautiful grounds.  The neighborhood alone provided a terrific setting for the house.  The house itself, while still structurally beautiful on the outside with magnificent architectural detail on the inside, was worn down and in much need of some decorator love.  

Here are some photos of the many wonderfully designed rooms from our JLH show house.  
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Kristin McCory of Ammatti Design (Photo Courtesy New England Home)
Kristin McCory of Ammatti Design redesigned this exquisite entry way.  What impressed me most (and the thousands of visitors that toured the house) was the finished floor.  This started out as a scruffy light oak hardwood floor.  Kristin designed the floors in the pattern above.  The floors were hand stenciled and stained .  In person, it almost appeared to be individual sections of wood inlaid into the design. 

Richard Ott (Photo Courtesy of New England Home)
The living room was completely transformed into an English Country style space by Richard Ott.  Richard has amazing attention to detail.  There was a breath-taking baby grand piano located on the other side of this room and during the opening night of the house, Richard hired a professional pianist to play beautiful classical tunes into the room.  What a welcoming into the first floor of the house. 

Photo Courtesy of Ronni Newton | Farmington Patch

Galway Stallard (Photo Courtesy of New England Home)
The sun porch spoke directly to my personal style.  I love the modern design and the turquoise accents.  Mother-daughter team of Keatha McCue and Cynthia Kranz have a custom design boutique and retail shop in Avon, Connecticut.  This was an amazing transformation as just a month earlier, we hosted a 'Bare Bones' sneak peak of the house to offer the public an opportunity to see the 'before' aspects of the house.  This patio is where we set up the donated keg beer for the event and it looked more like a college party than a sophisticated sun porch.  {Proof below}
'Before' view of the sun porch

Photo Courtesy Ronni Newton | Farmington Patch

Peter Robbin| Robin Jones for LCR (Photo Courtesy of New England Home)

The dining room floors were stained a dark brown, almost black (from oak).  This immediately transformed the space into a modern and chic atmosphere. 

Photo Courtesy of Ronni Newton | Farmington Patch

The house, built in 1921, still had the original servants bell located under the dining room table (where house owners could simply press the bell using their feet under the table to ring for help when needed).  The ceiling was painted in an unexpected lavender- brilliant.  And though it's not visible in the photo here, to the right, there was a wonderfully relaxing 20th century modern Meis daybed with a huge picture window over looking the vast back yard (think football fields!)

The powder room on the first level was a little nook under the stairs.  Ann Wolinsky of AKB Design (Avon, Connecticut) transformed this space with fabulous soft pillowed tiles with ornate dots.  It almost appeared as if the walls themselves were covered in billowy fabric.  So unique!  And it had many visitors talking about it. 
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Hoye and Huber Design
This is what I love most about a show house: each room is designed by different designers with unique tastes.  While Richard Ott's room transpired Old English style, this sleeping porch (designed by Hoye and Huber Design) was literally like stepping into Marrakesh.  It conveyed a bohemian chic personality.  Just beautiful! 

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Sharon McCormick Design
This sitting room area oozed elegance.  It's hard to tell from this photo, but the ceiling was decadent.  It almost appeared like aged leather.  In actuality, it was covered in a Lee Jofa Anaglypta wall covering (this is a quality type of textured vinyl wall covering that is easy to hang and can be painted) that had been decoratively painted.
Photo Courtesy of Ronni Newton | Farmington Patch
Sharon McCormick was the master mind behind this space and she held nothing back in her tasteful attention to detail.  I loved the sitting chairs--upholstered in a textured navy chenille with a darker navy contrast welt.  As with any room design, the ultimate vision and creative aspects of the design originate from the designer themselves, but a lot of other creative people help pull the room together.  Sharon has an excellent blog that show cases all of her professional work and you can read more about the development of this specific room here

Here's the 'before' picture of the sitting room: 

JLH Decorator's Show House (Photo Courtesy of Sharon McCormick Design)
A few more 'after' photos of Sharon's room:  

Photo Courtesy of Sharon McCormick Design
Photo Courtesy of Sharon McCormick

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Collaboration by Period Design, LLC and Hahn Interiors
This children's playroom was truly magical.  The entire right side of the room were beautifully designed shelves that held sections of play toys, including a blackboard for children's freehand art or doodles. 

Photo Courtesy of Ronni Newton | Farmington Patch

Another favorite from this room was the closet...Designers Karen Candee and Helen Hahn used a half door to section off the lower portion of the closet.  This created the perfect space for a puppet stage.  So unique and adorable.  I wanted to sit and veg in this room and play.  I can imagine that my three year old would have been head over heels about this room. 
Cynthia Mason Interiors
Walking into this room was like entering a huge safari tent.  The entire room was draped in this wonderful fabric--rustic yet refined.  Perfect for a little boy's space.  The drawer pulls were sticks themselves.  And Cindy (of Cynthia Mason Interiors) captured a view into the little boy's mind with an opening to the tent and a world of adventure beyond (The mural on the wall is by Patrick Ganino).

Take a peek of this rooms 'before' photos from Exuberant Home

Photo Courtesy of Cynthia Mason Interiors

Photo Courtesy of Cynthia Mason Interiors

Thank you to New England Home for the marvelous pictures from their Blog.   There are even more from them here.  And you can see another recap of the showhouse from The Farmington Patch here

Here's a photo of the JLH Showhouse itself.  I was on the JLH Special Events Planning Committee and I sketched a copy of the house for our table cards at our Fundraising Auction | Gala.  It was truly fulfilling to be involved with such a wonderful series of events for such a wonderful cause.  And I am in complete 'design awe' with the transformations our talented Connecticut designers made to each and every room.   They had only 6 weeks in their spaces before the house opened to the public and they worked magic.   

If a show house comes to your area, I highly suggest you jump at the chance to attend.  Chances are you'll not only get your design-fix, you'll also be helping a wonderful cause!


Heather from Vivid Hue Home


Beth S. said...

So THIS is what you guys worked so hard planning all of those parties for! Love seeing the actual inside of the house!

Anonymous said...

That entry floor is AMAZING!!! Thanks for this great post- I love stuff like this