Home: Inside CMA's Decorators' Show House

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Every two years the Columbus Museum of Art throws a grand event known as the Decorators' Show House. Since 1975, this has been the one space where interior designers throughout Central Ohio gather, each offering inspirations influenced by their history as well as the newest design trends. The result is a maze of rooms that portray a dizzying array of styles, colors, textures and well-adorned spaces. This is a scene that makes any design aficionado nearly jump for joy.

This spring's event did not disappoint. Although previous Show Houses were staged in homes donated by private owners, the Women's Board of the museum this year hosted the show in four subdivided galleries of the museum. Designers were invited to use pieces from the museum's collection to inspire their work—and the results were magical.

Here, we memorialize the work of many of the designers who participated. If it were not for a lack of space on the printed page, we would have gladly reproduced every angle of every room here for you. But whether you visited the show, or not, the opportunity to revisit—and be reinspired by their work—is simply irresistible. 

A Cocktail Cabaret

Neal Hauschild, Nth Degree

Hauschild focused the design of this contemporary wine room on a post-impressionist painting, called “The Rocket.” Ontario-born artistEdward Middleton Manigault created the painting to portray fireworks over the Hudson River in 1909. Tones of blue, gold, red and orange are highlighted throughout this modern bar space and mirrored in the oversized canvases seen here on the wall. “We reflected the explosive nature of the painting,” explains Hauschild. “The energy in this space is palpable.”

The Portal: A Unique Library

David Berg, David M. Berg, Ltd.

Berg chose a well-organized look for this expansive home library situated in the imaginary grand foyer of a home. Books were stacked by color and size to create a modernist design. Collecting books that fit well together, though, was not happenstance. “Over the last six months we've collected over almost 3,000 hardcover books,” Berg reported during the Show House tour. Regarding the black shelving, an ancient Japanese technique involving burning and polishing the wood was used to preserve it prior to construction. Antique oak flooring, taken from homes and country farmhouses throughout France, results in yet another artistic surface. “I wanted to create a warm and inviting atmosphere as you walk into your home,” says Berg.

Comfort Zone: The Bar

Sally McDonald, Susan Berg, Carolyn Fulwider, Shari Schwartz

Interiorworks by Sally McDonald

McDonald and her team of designers recreated a small New York apartment's sitting room where cocktail hour is about to be presented. Starting with a seductive wallpaper mural found at the High Point Market in North Carolina, the group designed a comfortable cocktail lounge using a desk as a bar, a leather wing chair and other seating space, including a small settee [not pictured]. Even though the room can seat six, McDonald and team surmise that “the crowd is always standing around the bar.”

Inspired by Employees Only

Courtney Jones, The Jones Studio

Inspired by an art deco bar in New York City's West Village, named Employees Only, Jones created a room that pushes the boundaries for the materials and textures that are used here. She created a space that accommodates both work and play, emphasizing clean lines and streamlined materials that highlight the workmanship of the local craftsmen involved. “We settled on a place for an afternoon of quiet work or an evening cocktail,” she explained.

Bold and Beautiful: A Workspace

Angela Bonfante, Angela Bonfante Kitchen Designs

“We believe in harmony when designing any space,” explains Bonfante. Each and every selection should complement other choices in the area and her kitchen design certainly exemplifies that philosophy.

In the Show House kitchen, calming tones of blue were chosen for the backsplash, including a combination of glass tiles, as well as decorative, handmade tiles that are used above the stove. Stained hickory cabinetry serves as the backdrop for an overall design that combines a traditional look with midcentury fun. Metallic wallpaper and gold finishes were used throughout, with feather lights and contemporary furnishings serving as accents.

Oh, Baby: A Modern Nursery

Lauren King Porteus, Lauren King Design

Porteus set out to design a contemporary, gender-neutral nursery with midcentury tones. A piece of the museum's artwork called “California Landscape,” a cubist work by Stanton Macdonald-Wright, set the stage for this nursery, which is done up in shades of white and black. “This is a space where a child can dream and play, grow and learn, and also rest,” explains Porteus. Vintage and contemporary furnishings were selected, while a unique wall was designed for emphasis.

Versailles: An Update

Neal Hauschild and Brenda Andracki, Nth Degree

A luxurious Parisian lifestyle inspired this grand design for a sophisticated, joint office space, replete with gilded finishes. Hauschild and Andracki sought to combine the highly decorative with clean lines, and the result was a fairly breathtaking space. Heavy draperies contrast with the more modern, tufted and centered, back-to-back sofas. The designers' focus on color, contrast, proportion and balance is evident here. Shown in the reflection of the windows are 10-foot bookcases stacked full with collectible books and other momentos. “Unfortunately, in the past 10 or 15 years we've lived in a gray and/or beige world, otherwise known as greige,” explained Hauschild. “However we do classic colors … black, gold, yellows, whites and greens, accentuating the collection of French art and French antiques collected over time.”