By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
RISMEDIA, January 27, 2009-(MCT)-Walk into the American Red Cross 2009 Designers’ Show House in southern Florida and it looks like business as usual. A French parcel-gilt turquoise chandelier in the living room. A custom-made chest inlaid with mother of pearl imported from the Middle East in the “Glamour Girl” bedroom. A totally remodeled kitchen with countertops of French blue limestone, Jenn-Air appliances in oil-rubbed bronze and a pair of barrel shade chandeliers from Jacques Garcia for Baker.
Despite the high-end glitz, the show house also delivers a few inexpensive ideas you can steal and plenty of fantasy to tuck away for when the good times start to roll again.
“To me, these showcase houses are like the runways of the fashion world,” says Joseph Pubillones, a Palm Beach, Fla., designer who created “Midnight at the Oasis,” a bar room in a Moroccan theme with tented ceiling and wide horizontal striped walls inspired by the mosques in northern Africa.
“You have to do things that are a little unexpected and untried. You have to push the envelope to convey a message or concept. It’s about a concept, a kind of wow. It’s not about a literal translation to your home. You can see it and take away an idea.”
Whether the ideas are high in the “wow” factor or concepts you can steal, we have nine things you shouldn’t miss in the 2009 show house00Providencia House, the 11,000-square-foot West Palm Beach, Fla., home owned by Tim and Florence Harvey.
1. Foyers need drama. The entry should let your visitors see a little into your soul or at least reveal some of your personal style. Lon Morris, of Lon Morris Interiors in New York, winks at Palm Beachers’ love of shells with the over-the-top bust, “A Sea God,” from Christa’s South in West Palm Beach. The bust is encrusted with amethyst and quality sea shells and sells for $6,900. Foyer walls should also make a statement like those Morris painted with brush and rag and seven layers of glaze.
2. Enjoying outdoor life. The southern climate is perfect for outdoor rooms, and on the second floor terrace Palm Beach designer Jennifer Garrigues illustrates how people live in South Africa.
“They all live on verandas and it inspired me because I love Africa and the animals so much,” she said. “In Kenya and the south, this is the way they live with white curtains and accented with color.” This space, which Garrigues said was long and narrow like a train, was wide enough to be broken into three areas-one for dining flanked by two conversation areas.
3. Wallpaper isn’t just for walls. It’s a designer’s trick to wallpaper the insides of bookcases to add interest and cover imperfections, but West Palm Beach designer Lisa Erdman makes it work especially well with this oversize pattern in the master sitting room. The walls are painted with Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue (No. HC 144) from the low VOC Aura line. Erdman cut the color 25% with white paint to tone it down.
4. Collections should make a statement. Palm Beach designer Jack Fhillips’ dining room was inspired by the Hollywood Regency style he was exposed to while working on Veranda magazine’s Beverly Hills show house. “There’s a certain hipness, a little luxe that’s a little different from Palm Beach and Florida,” he said. The lines are clean with focus on the artwork, such as the Square within a Square painting by Richard Serra, used over a 1940s console that he lacquered black and gilded. Collections also look better when used en masse. Fhillips used his collection of selenite crystals. He loves their texture and the way they change color. Why not paint your furniture to create a black-and-white room?
5. Scaling down high style. The dining room may look like a departure from Fhillips’ typical Palm Beach style, but some of his details are evident-such as use of menswear fabrics and tape-bordered drapes. You don’t have to use the linen menswear fabric on the chair seats, but you can use a similar look and copy the embroidered detail. The embroidered tape on the edge of the linen drapes comes from Samuel and Sons, but Fhillips said you can achieve a similar look with grosgrain or dressmaker ribbon from a craft store.
6. Bathroom makeover on a budget. Joseph Cortes, of HomeLife Interiors in West Palm Beach, kept budget in mind when transforming the old-fashioned bathroom with Formica cabinets that adjoin the bedroom he designed. He installed Flor carpet tiles ($60) over the flooring, a Caesarstone quartz countertop ($1,500), two sinks ($300 each), a Plexiglas cover over existing big bulb light fixture ($250) and drapes ($500). He hired a faux painter to update the walls and cabinets ($500). Total cost: $3,350. You can steal his idea and save more by buying less expensive drapes and countertops and painting yourself.
7. Make big impact with wallpaper. Large prints in wallpaper are a hot trend, especially those papers with shimmer or flocking. Cortes applied shimmery large-scale wallpaper by Studio Printworks in San Francisco on an accent wall to break up the dark paint he used in his “Pearl Essence” theme bedroom. And check out the flocked paper from Osborne and Little that Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., designer Angela Reynolds used in the bathroom next to her “Glamour Girl” bedroom. You can re-create a similar look with large-scale damask patterns at grahambrown.com for as low as $5 and $20 a double roll on sale. Another great idea: Look on the window shelves in Cortes’ room to see how he covered books with the same wallpaper for a high-end look.
8. Kitchens need a break from stainless and granite. Scotty Rawley and Melissa Zober of RZ Design Group in Palm Beach used Jenn-Air’s appliances with a rubbed bronze finish, which Rawley calls “the new stainless.” Unlike their orangeish appearance in the advertisements, they look almost like wood. Instead of granite, they used French-blue limestone from Haifa. Rawley estimates the kitchen makeover at $150,000. But here’s a budget idea you can steal: Have walls you want to hide? Drape them with sheers like they did to cover the brick walls in the breakfast area.
9. New heights for the bedroom. Who says you can’t use a chandelier in the bedroom? Cortes added drama and light to a bedroom with dark walls with this Hollywood chandelier by Brandon and Egmond from Carriage House at the Design Center of the Americas in Dania Beach. It’s coral reef-inspired in a nickel finish and would cost about $11,000 from a designer.
© 2009, Sun Sentinel.
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