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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Show House Reminisce

Ever since I covered the CharityWorks' Green Designer Show House, I have been thinking about doing a show house. I have not done one in a while. I wish I submitted for the Green one but I did not. Show houses have been off my radar for a while even when asked to do one. Now I am reminiscing about the last one I did for The Loudoun Arts Council. What a fun time that was. The house was amazing ~ Rust Manor. A beautiful mansion surrounded by acres of green grass, lush trees and complete with stone road leading to it. The mansion was gifted to the Audubon Society by the Rust family. The Loudoun Arts Council and Audubon Society teamed up to do the show house. Unfortunately the house was in a bit of disarray and needing quite a bit of TLC. The goal of the Audubon Society was to be able to rent the beautiful mansion for weddings and such to gain extra capital to run their programs. What a great idea then to team up with The Loudoun Arts Council and do a show house! Bring in interior designers to attain their goal. I was selected to do the library. Above is the design concept rendering. Here are the before shots.

The bones of the room are magnificent. The built-in bookcases are lovely. The windows boast amazing views. The mantel was significantly damaged or I would have tried to selvage it as it was original to the home. I sadly had to remove it. In this show house, we were asked to incorporate the art work of the local artists whose work has been recognized by the Arts Council. Most of the designers, including myself, also paid homage to the Audubon Society. We also respected the incredible architecture of the home as it is breathtaking. The paint color options were selected by the Show House Committee as they wanted flow to be taken into account. They chose well ~ the first swatch in the Benjamin Moore Historical colors ~ buttery yellows and pale greens. I selected the lightest buttery yellow tint. Here are my after photos (double click on them for the full affect).....

This French inspired design began with the art of conversation with the primary focal point of the fireplace and the secondary focal point the art on the wall opposing the fireplace. The sofas were positioned to be able to see both and face each other for intimate interaction. The palette began with fabulous fabric on the ottoman from Beacon Hill. From the hues on the fabric, I selected the butterscotch area rug from Odegard. I color matched the rug hue for the paint to back the bookcases. Painting the bookcase backs added depth and richness. I also placed a mirror back in a portion of the lowest bookshelf to add a bar stocked with Port wine. Antique wine glasses and crystal and silver accessories completed it. I used traditional pieces from TCS upholstered in sumptuous fabrics from Robert Allen/Beacon Hill. The throw pillow fabric is also from Beacon Hill except the blue and gold striped one ~ that is a Highland Court silk that I adore. The casegoods are from Norwalk. The portable lamps are from Lenox and Waterford. The art work is stunning. The landscape paintings were done by Ed Cooper. The pastels were done by Libby Stevens. I simply hung them on decorative hooks with wire covered in fabric. Almost all of the items that were for sale in the room were sold. Wonderful as that is one of the ways money is raised in almost any show house. I remember it was a Fall Show House and particularly cool on some of the days. Many people came back to my room after they saw the entire house ~ they simply wanted to hang out in there. They told me how inviting and warm the room was and wanted to sip tea lounging on a sofa. That was the best compliment! If I had tea, I would have served it! It was a lovely event and I adored my room. I am itching now to do another show house. Hmmmm.... I should do something productive with that itch.

I am joining the Metamorphisis Monday party at Between Naps on the Porch and Blue Monday at Smiling Sally's. Hop on over to see what's happening there!

I just found out that Julia from the wonderful Hooked on Houses posted about my room in this show house on her blog as well! Wow, is that cosmic or what??!! Great minds..... Thanks Julia ~ you're the greatest!


  1. What a stunning room! The colors are perfect! Those bookcases are beautiful! Love the curtains too, oh and the sofas, and the mantel! Great job!

  2. Oops! I posted about your library makeover for Met Monday, too. Sorry to anyone who got a sense of deja vu! I'll link to this post so my readers can come here to see the rest of the photos.

    (Love the art gallery wall.)

  3. Oh, Paula! From pen to paper to hands on. How very lovely! I love the freshness and goldeness of this room. Honey, you're so good! :)
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  4. Did I see this somewhere else today. What really caught my eye is how the gothic lights poped with dark book behind and how the new mirror picked it up. Interesting comparing the mirror in your rendering to the actual mirror.

  5. What a beautiful room, love the colors used.

  6. How gorgeous. I love the built in bookshelves as well.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Clicking to follow you . Come by, I look forward to getting to know you better.


  7. great job Paula! Let me know if you ever want to do a bathroom or kitchen and I'll be happy to do the tile/stone work with you. I'm dying to do a show house...

  8. What a transformation ! It looks so inviting.

  9. Lovely room! Those curtains are such a transformation!

  10. You really did an incredible job with the room. Very nice work! Have a great Blue Monday.

  11. Thank you so much. All of you are making me feel really good!

  12. Paula, this is absolutely amazing. I cannot believe that is even the same room!

    Those bookcases are magnificent, and your design sets off the architecture of that room to perfection.

    Robert Allen... love his fabrics!

    Love the paintings. They are wonderful.

    This room is at once elegant and yet I feel like I could be comfortable in it. Love the colors, too.

    Thank you for sharing this. It was a treat!


    Sheila :-)

  13. I'm drooling over those drapes. Happy Blue Monday to you, Paula!

  14. This is one of my most favorite transformations of yours. It was even more beautiful in person. I was happy to see it again today!

  15. What a stunning room Paula. The bookshelves are divine.

  16. WOW Paula! Love this room. And the art is fantastic.

  17. What a beautiful transformation! Absolutely breathtaking! Happy Blue Monday and have a wonderful week! Sherri : )

  18. WOW fabulous transformation. So fun to see what was and what is... gives home/dreams/ideas to what could be!! Thanks much for sharing.

  19. Paula Grace -- this is incredible. Floor to ceiling incredible.

    The textures, pairings, colors, proportions, everything is so perfectly put together and nothing short of stunning! This room ought to be published :) and enjoyed!

  20. Thank you all for your wonderful comments. I'm on cloud nine :)
    Paula Grace

  21. It looks super functional without looking industrial or sterile. The countertops are amazing and I love the paint. Great job!

    Deirdre G


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