Saturday May 6, 2017
Today Andrew and I visited the Columbus Museum of Art to check out this year’s Decorators’ Show House. According to one of the volunteers, this was the first time the event was held inside the museum. Each Interior Designer was assigned a room by lottery, and then they just had to make the most of the space. By ‘room,’ I mean partitions set up to create different size spaces. There were 13 rooms created by various local interior design companies, and some of the items inside each room were for sale. There weren’t many of the items we could have afforded, save for the odd book or martini glass. We were surprised to see there was even a kitchen among the assortment of rooms. The only room missing to make this a complete house was a bathroom (and perhaps a laundry room).
I told Andrew that it would have been fun to ‘play house’ in this pseudo house by ordering in some food, chilling some wine, and enjoying the various spaces. For all I know the museum may have already done that as there were some special evenings early on when the Show House just opened. It should be noted that the whole point of the Decorators’ Show House, which was coordinated by the Women’s Board, was as a fundraiser for the museum (hence the pricey $25 a head price tag). I figured Andrew might be a bit reluctant since we’ve never paid that much to tour any house (though Falling Water & the Hearst Mansion are quite pricey), but he agreed to accompany me anyway. After strolling through all 13 rooms, I can honestly say it was worth every penny and wouldn’t have minded spending longer. Andrew said he wished he would have brought his fisheye lens, while I wish I had brought my Lumix camera, but thankfully our camera phones seemed to have sufficed. [non-flash photos were allowed.]
The first room we were shown into was the Portal, which was the home Library. All the 3000 books were arranged by color, which may have struck some as a unique and particularly artistic design, but I’ve seen photos on Pinterest where ordinary people do that. Although I love the aesthetic, I prefer to arrange mine by Dewey Decimal. I would say that was my favorite room, but there really wasn’t any furniture save for a table in the room. If there had been more space, an overstuffed chair in the corner wouldn’t have looked out of place.
Moving on we were shown to the bar or ‘The Contemporary Cocktail Cabaret.’ I was envious of the wine collection, which took up most of a wall. It was definitely more wine than I could drink in a lifetime. Anyway, that has nothing to do with art, so I should probably talk about the various design elements. I liked the metallic chrome pig and the yellow glass baubles on the table (Chihuly?). I also liked the table shaped like it was a slab of wood, when really it was made out of metal or something. I’m pretty sure the two glass bowls on it were Chihuly.
The next room over was actually called ‘The Bar,’ probably because of all the liquor bottles on the credenza. Not sure whether or not I like all the books stacks underneath it. I believe the volunteer said it was modeled on a Manhattan style apartment, so space being precious, that’s probably the only place where they could be stowed (and is probably where I would have put them myself). I like the head planter, which is definitely something I wouldn’t mind owning (I have a slightly smaller version I picked up inexpensively at Franklin Park Conservatory last year).
Next to the bar was the ‘Bold and Beautiful’ kitchen. Both Andrew and I admired the hand-painted tile backplash, something I wouldn’t mind having when we renovate our kitchen, but first I’d have to find a tile artist. Recommendations anyone?
Moving on we were next shown to the ‘Urban Artisans’ room which had a wall of musicians made out of scraps of wood. I commented on the glass hammer. What do you get the handyman who has everything? A glass hammer of course, or perhaps that would make a nice award for a carpenter.
Then we were shown to a nice cozy living room in ‘Bold Luxury Living.’ If I am not mistaken, this was the room with a pair of ceramic Great Danes, both wearing mens’ ties, which I thought was a nice touch. I also liked the pair of black ceramic hands which could be used as art on their own (as they were), as baskets, or perhaps seating for those whose are slightly on the tiny side (I might have just about been able to squeeze into one of them, but I doubt it would be very comfortable).
Next over was the 'Scandinavian Inspired Bedroom.' My favorite piece was the ‘dome chair of bleached wood and raw linen.’ Not sure of the price tag, but doubtless not in our budget.
We don’t have kids, so the Mid-Century Modern Nursery was a bit wasted on us, but if we did have a baby, we’d probably want a nursery much like this one. I love all things Mid-Century Modern. I sometimes think I was born in the wrong era (but I did really love the 80s!).
After putting the kids to bed and finishing up a nice evening in the ‘Bold Luxury Living’ room, my bedroom of choice would have to be the French Boudoir. Besides the fact that I love the word ‘Boudoir.’ It makes me think of the time Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen once designed a room on “Changing Rooms” nicknamed ‘a Tart’s Boudoir.’ I love the faux doors and windows and 3-D painted walls in this room. The walls were painted with a square pattern and shaded in such a way to make it look like the walls had dimension. According to our guidebook, ‘What appears to be woodwork is, in fact a photo-realistic wallcovering of geometric molding – a technological take on historic French boiserie.’
On opposite ends of the room were doors behind which was a view looking over Paris, only it’s not real. It’s an enlarged b/w photo lit from behind. The other pair of elongated windows/photos (on either side of the bed) aren’t lit, but are equally as stunning.
Andrew might have chosen the “London Chic” Private Retreat next door. He spent quite awhile studying the various old maps of the UK framed and mounted along one wall. That’s definitely a May family trait – pouring over maps, old or new.
If you can’t sleep, or need another room in which to entertain, the ‘Employees Only’ room fits the bill. According to the guidebook, ‘It is both library and lounge, a place for after-hours libations or an afternoon of quiet work and focus.’ It’s a tie for my favorite piece. The chandelier was absolutely stunning and definitely something I wouldn’t mind having in my house, but I also loved the rug. At first glance it looks just like an everyday black and white rug. However, as explained to us by one of the volunteers, in its former life, it was one of those well-worn red Persian rugs that had been bleached and then dyed black. I definitely prefer that look to the traditional red, and how clever!
‘Study in Geology’ is another gentleman’s study with a haired hide rug similar to the one in the Urban Artisans room (only we were allowed to walk on this one). I liked the shape of the table in the back corner of the room and all the wood and organic design; perhaps a bit masculine, but it was a room designed for that aesthetic.
The last room before leaving this very impressive show house was ‘Modernized Versailles.’ I told Andrew if I could only own one piece from this room it would have to be the tiny (portable) ‘Port ‘bar. I love all the tiny glasses (smaller even than shot glasses).
When I get a minute I can’t wait to take the volunteers’ suggestion to listen to the decorator’s commentary on each room. They suggested taking a photo of each plaque to get the number to punch into our cell phones and listen later.
I’m really glad I got a chance to visit and see the Decorators’ Show House, especially since it’s only there for such a short time (18 days). I hope they do it again next year, and if we’re feeling flush cash-wise, maybe I’d even attend one of the special events.
If you get a chance, I’d highly recommend a visit while it’s still there. If you can’t make it there, be sure to check out my photos on flickr (I still need to make them public, but in the meantime you can always check out my pics from Artiscape). Here’s a link to my flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/authorwannabe/