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Patrick Landrum, Interior Designer,
PL&D/Patrick Landrum Design

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“Savvy Showhouse Sense”- Six Pointers to Enhance your Designer Showhouse Viewing Experience…

Revised July 30, 2012

Spring and Summer define the Showhouse season!!

Interior Designers all over the country from San Francisco’s Showcase benefiting The Financial Aid Program of San Francisco University High School to New York’s Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse to The Hampton Designer Showhouse benefitting Southhampton Hospitol, are strutting their stuff, and showing their talent, knowledge and pure creative talent.

Having participated in more than 10 Showhouses as a designer, and Designer Chair on one, I know the ins and outs of how these spectacular spaces come together. 

It might surprise you to learn that very seldom is there any communication between designer’s on what is planned or designed for the spaces unless there is some shared element such as an open entrance or pass through.

Some projects have a set of loose suggestions such as a theme, or less often a color palette- but for the most part we are on our own. So how do these Showhomes so often look as though they were meant to be one singular project, or how can so many separate creative types presumably competing for the same clientele come up with designs and ideas with common conceptual threads?

The easiest answer is in fact the most correct. We as designers have our eyes, ears, noses and hands on the pulse of what is new in materials from the floor to the wall to ceiling and all between.

We also love people, and how they live, entertain, share with, and experience the world around them. When we are honored to be asked to participate in a Showhouse all this comes together in a showcase of who we are and what we can share with you the viewer and hopefully soon, you the client.

With such high stakes for the designers, I would like to offer a few ideas to enhance your showhouse experience. These six pointers not only will help you spot trends in Home design but will give you a glimpse into the mind of the Interior Designer…(Ha… I almost said belly of the beast!) Enjoy…

1. Look for creative use of space- including multi purpose rooms, innovative floorplans or furniture arrangements and specialty furnishings.

2. New or “yet to be released” products- For the most part designers pay for all the items in their rooms, including construction, installations/takedown, and deliveries. Vendors with new products love to offer them in trade for the incredible exposure. These can be fabrics, windowcoverings, furniture pieces, lighting and more!

3. A story behind the room- some designers myself included enjoy writing a little narrative about the room we are doing. This is especially helpful in sharing creative solutions to design dilemmas.

4. Colors and color combinations- Color always tells a story and you will get an eyeful here…more often than not you will see some combos you have never seen much less thought could work…or maybe a complete lack of color!

5. Contradictions- We designers love to shock, tickle, or otherwise get a rise…what do you see that goes against the grain of what you have been reading in the Design Trade mags, or seen on HGTV?

6. Lastly look for similarities- these are the elements that will become trends either locally or globally. Like them or not…it will happen.

Now that you are armed with the tools let’s take a look at some rooms and see how you do on your own!

Hamptons Showhouse Home page

See photos of the Hampton Designer Showhouse here

Browse the Kips Bay Show House on The New York Times website here

Interview with Kips Bay Showhouse Chairman Charles Pavarini III

Highlights of the San Francisco Showcase 2012

1 comment:

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