Design Home & Decor — 08 March 2019
Show House designers share tips, from their spaces to yours

By Patti Roth

City & Shore Magazine

With a square toilet in a sultry powder room, a wall tiled in seashells and ruby-red lips as the focal point on a hand-tufted area rug, a spectacular waterfront South Florida residence earned its status last month as a showplace – and source of ideas.

Designers from around the nation were set free in assigned spaces at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach, offering an array of styles. We strolled each room and found take-away tips, techniques – and designers delighted to share.


Sometimes, a noteworthy object can inspire the palette of a room. Or maybe, it’s wildlife. Jennifer Garrigues of Jennifer Garrigues Interior Design in Palm Beach recommends browsing images in a bird book, for example, for color cues.

For a guest room entitled “Exotic Retreat,” Garrigues selected a glossy turquoise paint for the walls and rounded out the space with other rich tones a peacock would wear proudly.

Down the hall, Danielle Rollins of Danielle Rollins Interiors in Atlanta blended coral hues with elements of brown in a bedroom designed with a flirty ’70s vibe. A framed scarf in the room reveals a similar palette, suggesting perhaps the fabric played a role in the designer’s inspiration – as does the inside of a seashell, which sat on a side table displayed amid a station for pouring drinks.

For a petite powder room on the first floor, Mark Williams and Niki Papadopoulos of Mark Williams Design Associates in Atlanta veered from the expected light, bright and airy approach. An emphasis on deep dark hues evoked a sultry, sexy and sophisticated ambience, from the Roman shade to the metallic walls and square-shaped toilet, equipped with such features as a heated seat and foot warmer, speakers and assorted programmable personalized settings.


Peter Dunham of Peter Dunham Design in Los Angeles used a strong-patterned fabric on the walls of a first-floor card room entitled “Blue Paradise.” While the fabric featuring overlapping blue, gray and indigo squares provided plenty of visual pizazz on its own, Dunham topped it with a variety of framed art emphasizing feminist themes. “Walls set the soul of a room,” Dunham says. “It sets the identity.”

Jessica Schuster of Jessica Schuster Design in New York evoked a flowy, free-form 3-D element on the sleek white walls of “Ode to the Modern Woman.” The vibrant room in the first floor also included a sleek rounded-edge desk, royal blue chairs and hand-tufted area rug embellished with red lips. For a dimensional effect, Schuster transformed a flowy hand-drawn sketch into panels affixed to the walls and Venetian plastered the same hue.

In an inviting upstairs reading lounge with brown velvet walls, Jason Arnold of Jason Arnold Interiors in Nashville sent a swath of full-length espresso-hued drapes along a side wall. A peek behind the fabric revealed the drapes not only offered elegance, warmth and texture, they discreetly hid a flat-screen television hung between a pair of windows.

For a spunky dressing room that opens out to the pool deck, Tina Anastasia of Mark P. Finlay Interiors showcased a striking textured accent wall featuring thousands of flat seashell pieces from the Philippines. The multihued mosaic effect was accomplished mounting mesh-backed shell-filled squares from a French wallcovering firm, Anastasia said.

Attitudes & Approaches

Feel free to blend high-end elements with cheap items, says Billy Ceglia of Connecticut-based Billy Ceglia Designs. In a cabana bath, Ceglia chose a graphic black-and-white wallpaper and luxurious fixtures. Over a deep vessel sink, he hung an inexpensive rectangular mirror with a plastic black frame. Perfect and practical.

Garrigues appreciates a design that takes you away from the ordinary when you walk in. “Make it magical,” she says. For her “Exotic Retreat,” that approach includes strong saturated hues, mix-and-match vases with flowers splashed around the room, and sparkle – from a bedazzled accent pillow to silvery threads woven into a blanket.

Take advantage of the tops of rooms, says David Phoenix of David Phoenix Interior Design in Los Angeles. In a family room with a fireplace and emphasis on light, neutral hues, chunky pecky cypress beams – also painted in a light hue – provided a rich overhead focal point.

While rooms typically feature a doorway that’s squared or rounded, Schuster’s “Ode to a Modern Woman” skipped those traditional profiles and went for a wavy top.

Meg Braff of Meg Braff Designs in Connecticut also focused attention on door frames. In a sunny guest room with yellow “Rainforest” wallpaper, Braff painted all door frames in perky bubble-gum pink.

Even everyday functional elements are potentially exceptional when displayed with a designer’s eye. A supply of towels stacked in an acrylic stand resembles a work of art in Anastasia’s poolside dressing room. Neatly rolled like burritos, bundles are piled in a delightful color-coordinated ombre pattern. “It’s an easy thing to do,” Anastasia says. “Even if you open your closet, it would be fun to see it like that.”


Repeating a design element enhances visual appeal. Amy Meier of Amy Meier Design in California used that technique in the logia for elevating a set of previously non-descript windows over the barbecue. She framed the windows with quartzite in a rounded pattern repeated from the archways leading out to the pool deck.

Repetition also factored into the landscaping. Andres Paradelo of Paradelo Burgess Design Studio in Palm Beach lined the pool deck with six potted olive trees, offering eye-pleasing symmetry.

More ideas to steal

  • Mount drapes and shades from the ceiling – instead of the tops of windows – to elongate the effect, Braff says.
  • Use trees and other plants as an outdoor “wall” for privacy and noise reduction, Paradelo says.
  • Off-whites and other light, airy tones, such as those dominating the master bedroom designed by David Mitchell Brown of Palm Beach, are emphasized when a contrasting dark element is incorporated into the mix, such as a dark headboard behind a bed dressed in creamy hues.
  • To enhance a light, bright ambience, especially when natural sunlight isn’t always available, employ reflective and translucent elements, Brown says. In the master bedroom, Brown included a see-through Lucite desk and polished steel nightstands.
  • Add interest to a room by layering it with destination areas, such as a plush sofa for lounging, a table for playing cards and a credenza for mixing drinks, Dunham says.

PHOTO (by Nickolas Sargent): In an inviting upstairs reading lounge with brown velvet walls, Jason Arnold of Jason Arnold Interiors in Nashville sent a swath of full-length espresso-hued drapes along a side wall at Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach.

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