The Junior League of Hartford’s Show House officially opens to the public with a celebration on Friday, April 27, 2018.
By Ronni Newton
The sprawling waterfront estate at 126 Waterside Lane in West Hartford made a striking statement in its “before” photos, despite wall coverings and fixtures that were outdated and rooms that were mostly bare of furnishings, but now that 21 area designers, artists, and landscape professionals have worked their magic, the home has been transformed into a magnificent show house.
Kristen Fritz, who has handled public relations for the past few Junior League Show Houses, said that this is “the best one ever.”
The Show House is the signature fundraising event for the Junior League of Hartford. To date the organizations has raised more than $1.6 million, and current fundraising is focused on the mission of “empowering women and girls to overcome obstacles.” Show house co-chairs Meghan Guerrer and Lissa Johnson said that the designers were asked to reflect that mission in their designs.
And the results did not disappoint, with each designer interpreting the theme in their own way, creating rooms that are retreats, inspirations, and powerful statements.
“Live your life unexpectedly” is the tagline for the foyer created by West Hartford-based designer Kellie Burke, of Kellie Burke Interiors.
“It’s not about a designer place for a magazine, but about creating a feeling of empowerment for young women today,” she said. The room shouts: “Be brave, as wild as possible, but at the same time it’s about entertaining.”
Burke said the dramatic space was inspired by her life, her travels, and the 70s. It’s a combination of antiquity and the gilded age, mixed with the “mod fun-ness of Don Draper entertaining” at the “flapper bar” that graces one wall. There’s fur, glass, chrome, and even graffiti incorporated into the design.
The nature of a show house is that each room stands alone, and the just off the entryway Edith Whitman (Edith Whitman Interiors, Avon) stands in stark contrast to the entryway, boasting the house’s original deep brown paneling accented by light-colored furnishings and bookcases filled with collectibles. There is also a collection of law books, and Whitman said the room is a tribute to her late husband, who was a law professor.
The living room, designed by Galway Stallard of Avon, oozes relaxation with its soothing tones of blue and white. The show house program suggests that although it’s a pale color, the blue mist sofa is a great place to relax with a glass of red wine. “Go ahead, the sofa is covered in a crypton fabric.”
Kristen McCory of McCory Interiors combined the house’s good bones with architectural touches and dashes of color, including shell pink lacquered walls, to create an ideal entertainment space.
Jennifer Moreau (J. Moreau Designs) discovered an artisan-quality hand silk screened wallpaper, with a pattern reminiscent of birds, that set the tone for the sun room space she designed. The “New Hope Gray” walls blend with gold and cream in a room that invites re-centering, resting, and reconnecting. “Everything in this room is from local artisans,” Moreau said, most of whom are women. One of the most striking elements is a pair of “live” wall hangings, created with air plants and succulents.
Just off the kitchen, which has not been re-done, is a sitting room that designer Erica Sabatie Moses has dubbed the “chill room,” mixing furnishings from the 50s and 60s, including orange acrylic chairs, for a space-age vibe. Art by Vicky Healy, who was born in West Hartford, hangs on the walls.
The home was built in 1985, and the 80s style was clearly evident in the “before” photos of the bathrooms. Ann Wolinsky (AKB Design) gutted the powder room, built a new, raised vanity, and added snakeskin-textured wallpaper to the long, narrow room.
In a second-floor bathroom, designer Leslie Artibani-Lair painted everything white – including the formerly-beige floor tiles. She said she used porch paint, and it’s surprisingly durable.
Kathy Hayes (The Inside Story LLC) has filled the second floors hallway and alcove with art, the work of seven Connecticut artists, in a space deisgned to “have a seat, take a moment to relax, and see something new without ever leaving home.”
A bedroom by Erika Laurito and Deborah Cadogan is a peaceful space with a soothing blue-gray palette. Laurito said she retooled the closet doors so the mirrors were on the exterior, adding architectural elements to add interest. Detailing was added to the ceiling as well, to give it “architectural pop.”
In start contrast is another of the bedrooms. “Boho beach house,” designed by West Hartford-based Blaze and Bloom’s Katie Wickham, Jennifer O’Connell, and Tracy George, is inspired by “water, woods, and sky.” The focal point is the bed, a mattress perched on a box spring made from pallets with a canopy crafted from pipes. Everywhere there are “fairy lights,” and shoreline-themed accessories.
A second floor office designed by Sharon McCormick combines stark black, bright white, and sunny yellow for the “sophisticated CEO” – a woman who is glamorous and worldly.
The master bedroom, designed by John Dusseult and his team at Ethan Allen in Canton, is designed for a “powerful, pierce woman.” It boasts rich purple walls, a poster bed, and a seating area surrounding the fireplace. A terrace with a wicker chair overlooks the lake.
The adjacent master bath has been transformed with paint by Kathie Ferguson. Window treatments draw the eye to the spectacular view.
Jennifer Czerwinski updated the master closet by adding pattern to the floor, and updating the wall coverings.
Also upstairs is a “woman’s refuge” tucked into a cedar closet. There are pillows, books, found objects, and music – courtesy of a record player spinning a turquoise Van Morrison album. Designer Katie Attianese said it’s a space to relax, breathe, and be alone.
Several exterior spaces were decorated as well, with a deck transformed by Michele Mader and Grace Gulli to be “tranquil, yet sophisticated” with upholstered furniture and a propane-fueled fire pit. The back garden was designed by Candace Kearney of Wild Rose Landscaping, with a stepping stone path and sayings intended to inspire women of all ages, with plantings in a color scheme of pink and white with pops of yellow and red.
The first floor’s breakfast nook is home to a Vivid Hue Home pop up shop. The Farmington-based gift shop is showcasing its colorful one-of-a-kind gifts and home accessories. The Junior League of Hartford’s Clothes Horse and an artisan boutique offer shopping opportunities on the second floor.
The Show House officially opens for tours on April 27, with an Opening Night Celebration from 6 to 11 p.m. that includes Big Green Truck Pizza, beer on tap from Hog River Brewery, and wine and cocktails served by the Liquorist.
Tours will be offered through May 20 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-8 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Junior League will hold a Derby Party at the home on May 5.
Show House is a fundraiser for the Junior League of Hartford. Funds are raised through ticket sales and sponsorships. Guests can also shop for gift items at a boutique, and many of the designer furnishings are also offered for sale.
A variety of tickets options are available and can be found by clicking here. Contact [email protected] for more details as well as group pricing. For more information about the Junior League of Hartford, visit their website.
This is the Junior League of Hartford’s 14th Show House. The last one was held in 2015, at 64 Orchard Rd., West Hartford.
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