AN INSIDE LOOK INTO THE WORLD OF INTERIOR DESIGN AND DECORATING IN THE HAMPTONS
BY JENNIFER MABLEY AND AUSTIN HANDLER OF MABLEY HANDLER INTERIOR DESIGN

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hampton Designer Showhouse - Top 5 Rooms

We enjoyed visiting the 2009 Hampton Designer Showhouse, and we wanted to share our favorite rooms with you and recognize the very talented group of designers behind them. Here are our Top 5 Favorite Rooms, plus an Honorable Mention. Speaking of which...


Honorable Mention: Lower Level Bedroom

We liked Elizabeth Bailey's lower level bedroom right away, with it's eclectic mix of furniture and art, subtle grayish blue hues and bright pops of pink. And then we learned that the designer, a former protégé of noted designer Amanda Nesbit, had been selected to decorate this room by winning a design competition held by Traditional Home magazine (the sponsor of the 2009 Hampton Designer Showhouse). And on top of that, Elizabeth used environmentally products, such as organically produced bedding, to low-VOC paints. Well done!


Fifth Place - Master Bathroom

In our opinion, this room by Brian Brady and Franco Biscardi does exactly what a master bathroom should do...Relax you from the moment you walk into the room. The chaise invites you to come in and lounge, and the soothing blue tones of the room evoke a feeling of being surrounded by water. We loved that they incorporated something alive in the room by placing a small tree in the corner by the bathtub. The highlight for us was their use of our favorite Holland & Sherry wallpaper: Mosaic - Glacier. We can't help but say "Ahhhh...."


Fourth Place: Guest Bedroom III

One of our favorite rooms in last year's Hampton Designer Showhouse was Kate Singer's lower level sitting room, so we were looking forward to see what she would do with the bedroom she designed this year. She didn't disappoint: The bedroom featured a great selection of furnishings, and her signature balance of color, in this case lilac on the bedding and accessories, and chartreuse on the pillows, lampshades and decorative prints above the bed. And the mirrored bedside tables put the perfect exclamation point on the room!


Third Place: Library Hallway

Southampton designer Carole Reed certainly makes a wallop of a statement in the small library hallway. With just a few carefully selected pieces, she makes the space come together, and her ability to edit the area allows you to focus on each important piece of the puzzle. But this comes as no surprise, given that Carole is the former curator for the House of Blues. The rich reds, creams, browns and blacks balance out perfectly between the stunning Paton Miller painting and the Odegard rug, which is so spot on that looks as though it was custom-colored to match the painting. Yes, this space definitely has a designer's eye and a curator's touch.


Second Place: Upstairs Hallway

We have to admit that we felt a tiny pang of jealousy when we saw Victoria Stuart Burke's upstairs hallway (which is probably the biggest compliment one designer can pay another!). Whoever said you can't make a statement in a hallway was clearly dead wrong: Here, with no furniture and just wallpaper, paint, some decorative shelves and coral pieces, this hallway makes a concise and stunningly beautiful design statement, more so than a lot of the other rooms in the house. We shouldn't say "just wallpaper," because Victoria's organically-shaped geometric wall covering is gorgeous. We need to have it in our life! If we were going to hire someone to design our house, we would pick Victoria based on this hallway alone.


First Place: Screened Porch

Brad Ford's screened porch may use very quiet neutral tones, but what it lacks in color, it more than makes up for with the subtle yet strong elements in the room. The dual suspended love seats that face each other in the center of the room are an architectural masterpiece, perfectly crafted and visually stunning. And if Brad's modern answer to the tired porch swing is the centerpiece of the room, Jennifer Prichard's porcelain chime installation on the inside wall is an equally striking backdrop. She created hundreds of hand-formed conical chimes that are also suspended from the ceiling, are are truly magical to hear when the wind blows through. This amazing collaboration resulted in our favorite room.


So there you have it, our top five rooms in the 2009 Hampton Designer Showhouse. And, as much as we enjoyed taking a break from designing a room in the showhouse this year, seeing these beautifully designed spaces is getting us excited about getting back on the horse next year!

9 comments:

  1. Well, I do really like the bathroom, even though I don't understand why you would want to lounge on a chaise in the bathroom. I would prefer to adjourn to another room after a bathroom visit, personally... but it is pretty. The hallway with the busy wallpaper is also beautiful. Somehow the simple and soft and serene colors compliment the busy design of the wallpaper. Not as overwhelming as a whole as one might think from a swatch. The library nook is adorable, though maybe too manly for my taste. Looks like something Papa Hemingway might have in his ski chalet. It would need to be a little more contemporary for me to really cast my vote for it. The porch I do not get at all. The wall o' chimes is weird and reminiscent of the beaded doorways my dad's hippie friends had in heir apartments when we were kids. The suspended sofa idea has always appealed to me but it also terrifies me. How useful and how safe is it... especially for an indoor/outdoor room in a seasonal community? The pink backgammon board was a nice touch, but the chairs and the little acrylic table clashed for me. Old, traditional, sturdy, useful, and comfy meet cheap garage sale afterthought? Too harsh a description, but that is the gist of what that photo evokes from me.

    These are merely my opinions, as you requested. I am not at all artistic or design-y. I am pragmatic and structure-minded and organization-obsessed. What do I know from your schtick? At least they are not your rooms I am commenting on... just your favorites from the rooms you saw. That makes my harshness more ok, right?

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  2. One thing that might help to know is that design showhouses are like the equivalent of a runway fashion show during fashion week...It is a designer's chance to make a statement that is more whimsical than pragmatic, to create something over the top because, for once, there is no client directing us! The rooms that are designed are not always meant to be taken literally, but more as an inspiration of ideas...And among those grander concepts of whimsy, there are usually smaller nuggets that can be taken away and used as inspiration for a real room or house. And while we did have someone purchase the entire contents of a room that we designed in design showhouse that we participated in a few years ago, I would be worried about someone who would want to live in a fully-decorated showhouse! That's just a bit too much design for our taste!

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