By Gail Ravgiala
A decorators’ show house can be fun for viewers because of the variety, independence, and out-of-the-box thinking designers demonstrate. There is no client, so there is no program. It can be freeing, but it is also why most show houses lack visual continuity. Everybody doing his or her thing can result in a bit of a mishmash.
So it was delightfully surprising to preview the Cape Designer ShowHouse in Osterville, Massachusetts, and find that while creativity was in full evidence, the house had a rhythm and flow that said Cape Cod summer. Clearly, the location of the house, just across from Nantucket Sound along a road lined with quintessential seaside shingled houses, resonated with the some 20 designers involved in the transformation. Though only one of them, show house co-chair Margie Huggard, had ever met the owners, a couple with three children whose connection with the Cape-style house goes back to 1910 when the wife’s great grandparents first inhabited the place, it is easy to imagine them using every inch of the newly decorated space.
The theme is basic white with pops of color, mostly rich vibrant shades of blue and green. On the casually elegant front porch, designer Frank Hodge added a variation of Nantucket Red to the floor, a color picked up from the floral Carleton V curtain fabric that inspired the room. Sisal rugs frame conversation areas at each end of the long rectangular enclosed space, one around a cozy sofa, the other focused on a round dining table and chairs painted white. Accent pieces are a mix of old and new that imply a family history.
The porch opens to the living room where the sight of the crisp white upholstery feels like a cool breeze on a summer night. Even the piano is painted white. To this, designers David Nault and Paul White of Weena and Spook added texture and sand and wood tones with sisal rugs, a rustic model ship’s hull, and a pine chest of drawers that serves as a bar. Martina Nehrling’s magical painting above the mantle adds whirls of bright blues and greens.
In the dining room by Susan Tuttle of Surroundings Custom Interiors, glossy white woodwork offsets walls painted deep blue for a soothing effect. Curtains are deep blue and green and paintings by Billy Megargel are as rich in texture as they are color.
More dramatic transformations come in the butler’s pantry, which doubles as laundry room with the washer and dryer cleverly hidden away; the kitchen, which underwent an amazing facelift by decorative artist Kathryn M. Piscuskas, who painted the cabinetry white, added new marbled white Silestone countertops, and created a swirling mosaic backsplash in off white and sand tones that remind us of the nearby beach, and the family room, where a wall came down to make one large room for entertaining and hanging out by the pool just outside the sliding glass doors.
There are four bedrooms on the second floor, each entirely personal and beautifully done. The master bathroom by Water + Main is worthy of a resort spa.
The show house opens Friday June 12 for a 16-day run through June 28. Proceeds benefit WE CAN, a nonprofit organization based in Harwich Port, Massachusetts, that is dedicated to empowering Cape Cod women of all ages to successfully navigate challenging life transitions by providing support, mentoring, and services.
WE CAN Designer Show House, June 12-28, Monday-Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Tickets, $35 in advance, $40 at the door, $30 for of 15 or more. Tickets, information, and directions: wecancenter.org/events/cape-designer-showhouse/
Great design is always at your fingertips! Read Design New England’s May/June 2015 issue online!