May 2017 Show house – Alnwick Hall

May is always show house month. A grand estate or historic home and property that is generally in a distressed state is chosen to be redecorated and restored to its previous grandeur by interior designers who bid for the chance to do a room.  This year the “Mansion in May” in New Jersey was Alnwick Hall – the Abbey at Morris Township and there were 41 interior spaces plus several garden areas.  So many were so beautiful, it was hard to pick a favorite.  The ceilings, too, were jaw-dropping!  What do you think?


IMG_2492 IMG_2482 IMG_2481 IMG_2478 IMG_2453IMG_2503 IMG_2539


New York City Mansion WOW

A few weeks ago I was in NY and went to visit the Kips Bay Show house.  I love visiting show houses because there are always so many creative ideas, along with unusual ways of using products.


Proceeds from the Kips Bay show house each year benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club across 10 locations in the Bronx.


This year’s house was the Arthur Sachs Mansion on East 66th Street and Park Avenue and was a gem.  This lavish brownstone is almost 140 years old and recently underwent several renovations.


Some of the areas that you will see in the photos include an unusual travertine over the fireplace that was imported from Istanbul, a fabulous marble bathroom floor, an outdoor bath setting on the NYC balcony, and a dramatic sitting area space.

IMG_0725 IMG_0728 IMG_0731 IMG_0745

Show house favorites

baby uphol. wall photo_blue


There are always favorite rooms in every showhouse.  Here are a few of mine.


In the billiards room, the original wallpaper (now 100 years old) remained on the wall and was painstakingly restored.  It was in impeccable condition and definitely suited the room.  The furniture was designed with fish leather from Iceland, and a grand 24-light chandelier from Baccarat hung in the center with coordinating sconces throughout the room.


A sitting room (one of many) was entitled “Afternoons of Wine and Chocolate” and was a study in contrasts.  The walls were a rich Merlot tone while the sofas, cabinet and other furnishings contrasted in white.  It was very fresh and elegant.


There was a beautiful bedroom inspired by American Art Deco which was predominantly monochromatic in gray and silver but had some pops of color.  There were gorgeous silver upholstered wall panels which were tufted with Swarovski crystals and a chandelier with bling.  This was my favorite room.


“La Petite Rose” was the baby girl’s nursery decorated in blush and neutral tones.  The walls were painted in taupe which offset the high gloss blush ceiling, and pink velvet was used on several upholstered pieces.  There was a beautiful canopy drapery surrounding the paneled crib, which was the focal point of the room.


I loved the fresh green and aqua color scheme on the outdoor pieces.  The color was so alive, especially on a gray day when I visited.


Showhouses always provide an inspiration!

More Show house trends

Blue – There were many blue tones used throughout the house.  Some of the blues included dark shades like Benjamin Moore Bellbottom Blues, blueberry Hill, Fair Isle Blue, and Dark Harbor.  Lighter shades used were heaven on Earth, Breath of Fresh Air, Mystical Blue, and Blue Lace.

Accent colors – Benjamin Moore accent colors were Tropical Oasis, Perennial, Orange Froth, and Apples and Pears.

Large patterned prints, such as an embroidered bird designs and large florals, were noted on draperies in several rooms.

Geometric shapes – All shapes were popular on area carpets, ceilings, mirrors, pillows and furniture fabrics.  The Greek key design continued to be a popular accent and was seen everywhere!


black rug greek key mirror puzzle rug

Ceilings – Most ceilings were treated in some way.  There were designs, textures and various paint techniques.

ceiling swirlsceiling

Wall coverings – Wallpapers of all designs and textures were used throughout.  In the billiards room, the original wallpaper (now 100 years old) remained on the wall and was painstakingly restored.  It was in impeccable condition.

Next time, I will highlight some of my favorite rooms.

Blairsden Showhouse thoughts and trends

When you approach the mile-long drive leading to Blairsden, your anticipation builds and you know that what you are about to see will take your breath away.  The trees form a canopy over the drive, and when you arrive at the entrance, there is a 300-foot-long reflecting pool lined by busts of the first 12 Roman Caesars. Blairsden was the grand country estate built by C. Ledyard Blair in the late 1800’s and completed in 1903.   Mr. Blair occupied Blairsden until his death in 1949 when it was then sold.

The Women’s Association of the Morristown Medical Center selected this impressive home as their 2014 Show house.  The mansion features 14-foot ceilings with elaborate plaster moldings; paneling of walnut and mahogany and other woods; and more than two dozen fireplaces, each one unique in its own right.

Many of the rooms were just incredible!  Some themes and trends:

  • Gray – Gray was without a doubt the neutral in this show house.  The wall tones ranged from Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray, Cliffside Gray, London Fog, Stonewashed and Mt. Rainier Gray.  Accent colors that paired up with gray included vivid coral, bright yellow, purple, and teal.
  • Draperies and Curtains – Window treatments were prevalent in almost every room.  The trend towards clean lines continues with soft fabric roman shades and draperies dominating.
  • Banding was seen on draperies in several rooms.  Bands were about 4-5 inches thick running vertically down the inside of the panels in many designs.  The Greek key design continued to be a popular accent.
  • The pictures below are some examples of banding and how it can be used effectively with a textured fabric.

My next blog will feature additional trends and ideas from this magnificent estate.

drape_band2 photo_band3photo_drapes