It is truly remarkable to witness a showhouse coming together and the village of volunteers, artisans, and designers that donate their time and talent to make it all happen. We have just returned from installing our space at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League Showhouse which opens this week and I cannot wait to get back to the lowcountry in a few short days. The timeline of a showhouse is intense. From start to finish, we only have a few weeks to conceive, implement and install our visions. My favorite part of working on these are the friendships formed with other designers. We ended our installation by christening our Veranda with afternoon cocktails with our new Charleston design friends.
I had to really flex my creative muscles to figure out how to decorate an outdoor space without any walls as well as design around Mother Nature. We spent last Spring Break in the Bahamas and that provided the spark to begin designing this exterior room. Inspired by the coral pinks and emerald sea greens of Harbour Island, the Veranda is a throw back to grand old school Bahamian houses. A long banquette piled with pillows offers seating to accommodate many guests for Happy Hour or the perfect spot to curl up for an afternoon nap. Whimsical hanging chairs add another spot to perch with a Goombay Smash in hand. Drapery panels can be pulled to block the sun and rattan accent pieces add more dimensions to this outdoor room. A painted floor adds an unexpected touch underfoot while potted palms and hanging flowering baskets provide the finishing touches to this lovely haven.
|Renovations donated by J.E. Dunn Construction|
Last September, a dear friend invited me to visit the Pink House, a unique respite for breast cancer survivors and the Carolina Breast Friends organization. Inspired by CBF founder Kristy Adams-Ebel, this vision became the passion of more than 200 Charlotte women who are breast cancer survivors and members. The Pink House serves breast cancer survivors in numerous ways by providing Wellness Education, a Library and Computer Research Center, Fitness Center, Nutrition Center, Self-Image Services, Arts & Crafts Workshops, and Counseling Services. When I saw the Pink House for the first time, they were in the midst of the renovation that had been donated by J.E. Dunn Construction. They had done a magnificent job renovating this beautiful historic home, but had no funds to furnish the interior. We held a ladies only “Pink Party” in November to raise money for the interior. The generosity of the Charlotte community was incredible. In one evening, we raised enough to furnish the first floor of the house. From there, we approached several vendors and workrooms to see if they would donate their time and talent to help with the cause. Thanks to the donations of the design community, we were able to complete the entire house which opened its doors in May of the this year. We held another “Pink Party” this spring to celebrate the opening and raise funds to help CBF hire an executive director. We were completely humbled by everyone’s kindness and generosity. Not a single person we asked declined to help.
|Painting donated by Kate Long Stevenson|
We approached Kate Long Stevenson to see if she would be willing to do a painting in memory of a friend she had lost to breast cancer. Kate created the most beautiful abstract work and dedicated it to “memory of my extraordinary friend, Neil Maddux Miller. May her vibrancy, grace, and incredible resilience continue to inspire us all. “ The painting resides above the mantel that is now the focal point of the living room where Carolina Breast Friends will hold their monthly meetings. Neil’s law firm donated her office furniture for use in the Executive Office which was designed by local designer Lee Cooney. To see more of Kate’s work go to www.studiokate.net.
|Upholstery donated by Design Services, Inc.
Discounted fabrics provided by Cowtan and Tout, Schumacher, Lee Jofa, Kravet and Karen Saks.
Mike and Sabrina Polly of Design Services of Charlotte agreed to donate all of the labor for re-upholstery. We found several pieces at local flea markets and tag sales (such as the Mint to be Yours Tag Sale last fall). I had worked with Mike for years, but did not know that his wife was also a breast cancer survivor. It was incredible to see how his workshop turned other people’s cast off furniture into beautiful pieces for the Pink House.
|Drapery donated by Custom Window Treatments
New upholstery from Charles Stewart through Darnell and Company
Sharon Coppede of Custom Window Treatments is a breast cancer survivor herself. She agreed to donate all of the labor, lining, and inner lining for all of the window treatments in the house. The ladies that work in her design studio all donated their time to make the beautiful drapery in the above image. Sharon has joined Carolina Breast Friends and has started mentoring ladies who have recently been diagnosed.
|Lampshades donated by Lux Lampshades
Accessories donated by Circa Interiors and Antiques
|Needlepoint Rug donated by Stark Carpet
Blinds through Fine Designs, Inc.
|Orchids donated by Pamela Lovett|
For more information on the Pink House and Carolina Breast Friends, please go to www.carolinabreastfriends.org.