Wednesday, September 2, 2009

hampton designer showhouse: fabrics of a feather...

one of the best reasons to go to events like designer showhouses and other display opportunities is in keeping with why all new experiences are good - they open your eyes to another way of doing things, and expand your frame of reference in a variety of ways. in many cases, you're presented with ideas you might never have tried, or even seen tried. it reminds me of when my grandmother used to take me and molly shopping and we'd violently HATE something on the hanger, but she'd insist we try it on, saying "sometimes you don't know until you try."

one of the things i saw at the hampton designer showhouse that spoke to me was the use of fabric on different pieces of furniture within a room. i noticed this concept in a couple rooms, and i'm excited to direct you again to heather clawson's complete coverage of the robert stilin-designed living room, as well as the poolhouse by lillian august. you have to check out heather's poolhouse post - i could live forever in there (the house, not the post) - beautiful and muted, but livable and cozy too. tell me you don't want to crawl into that bed.

in the photos shown immediately below, from habitually chic, you can see how each of the chairs in this room were upholstered in a wonderfully soft, slate-colored woven fabric, and although there were a few different style chairs, they looked nice together, unified by the sameness in the fabric chosen.

here's another example, where the two couches facing each other in the poolhouse had different shapes, but the same buff linen upholstery. it definitely added to the heavenly serenity in that space.

i love that by using this approach, the room isn't overly coordinated, but still looks intentional - there's a calmness to it that i really related to upon seeing it, and i don't know that this specific thought about fabric would have occurred to me had i not been there to see it and respond to it.

a few days later, i was at homegoods and saw two chairs i really liked, and i immediately noted that the chairs were slightly different in shape, but that the frame details and the fabric were the same. if i were in the market for something like this right now, i'd go for these, and all because of a style i realized i like only by seeing it done in the showhouse.

an alternate way of using this approach would be to flip the equation and use identical or similar pieces of furniture as the sameness, and use different fabrics. looking at chairs online the other day, i came across the two below and found the look soothing in its sameness but electric in its variety. it's an interesting combination, for sure. in a certain type of room, though, they work, and it's largely because one of the elements (in this case, the chairs' frames) are the same, so it grounds the look.

i guess being opened up to new ideas and broadening one's sensibilities are reasons why it's worth paying the $30 admission to something like the hampton designer showhouse - because you take lessons and thoughts with you that can have a huge impact on your home for many years to come. my grandma was on to something -- you really don't know until you try.

exterior showhouse photo from; interior designer showhouse photos from; "cheery chairs" photos from

1 comment:

Erin said...

I've never had the opportunity to visit a designer showhouse. Seems like a place to be full to the brim with inspiration!! And your grandmother was so just don't know until you try!

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