I received a phone call early in July (on my birthday, in fact) from Anita MacKinnon, the Junior League of Boston Show House coordinator. She called on a Sunday in the early evening, to tell me that I was selected as one of the designers to participate in the upcoming Show House, and asked if I would consider taking on a space other than the ones that I had submitted proposals and design boards for. I was thrilled and skeptical at the same time, as I hadn’t seen the space that I would eventually tackle. A week later, I met Anita in Newton at the Potter Estate to survey the Back Entrance. The Cons: cracked and crumbling plaster walls; linoleum flooring; flourescent lighting; ten doors/doorways that lined the hallway all at uneven heights; dark stained woodwork that had to remain unchanged; and a very large radiator in the middle of the hallway. The Pros: 11-foot ceilings; the restriction of changing the original woodwork (while a Con at first, I thought hmm…money saved); a first-floor space, which hopefully would result in good visibility; an entrance/hallway would not entail window treatments nor major furnishings (again, money saved). I wasn’t entirely convinced. Anita then informed me that I’d have another challenge. The designer assigned to the stairwell was artist, John S. Coles. John would paint a mural along the stairwell walls, and my challenge would be to come up with a cohesive design and color scheme. John’s design would be my starting point. Anita told me I would get the chance to meet John a week later a Designer luncheon, and would be able to see his design rendering then. In my mind, I had imagined a landscape mural, or something with a Victorian aesthetic, but at that point I had to wait and see.
It was a bit of working backwards for me, not having a clean slate as many of the other designers did with a single room with a door. But this was no different than taking on a client who wants you to incorporate their existing furnishings into a room design. Before seeing John’s design, I started conceptualizing, sketching, pulling samples and Pinterest-ing. I’ll share that process in upcoming posts, but for now, will show you my final rendering.
Just a reminder. The last day to purchase tickets online for the 2012 JLB Show House is Friday, October 12th. After that, tickets can be purchased at the door for an additional $5.
images: (1) “Before” photo by Eric Roth; (2) Rendering by Cecilia Walker