Several of you have asked whether I’m going to blog about the process of preparing for a show house. Why, yes! Yes, I am.
I see that look of skepticism on your face. I admit it: I haven’t been the steadiest blogger of late. Sporadic. Unreliable. (Busy.) But this is important and fun, and frankly, I don’t want to disappoint you.
So here we go: an 8-part blog series, with a post every other week, chronicling the lead-up to the ASPIRE HOUSE.
We first learned about the show house from Moki Media’s Sherry Moeller in October; she’s handling all of the publicity for the project. A walk-through for interested designers was scheduled for Monday, October 22. So we signed up, grabbed a tape measure, and drove out to McLean.
Show houses usually take place in homes that are for sale. Sometimes the houses already exist, but sometimes, as with this show house, it’s new-build. So this is what the house looked like when my Senior Designer Amy Beaupré and I visited:
Yep. 9,600 square feet of, “Use your imagination.” The esteemed interior designer Mary Douglas Drysdale was heading up the designer selection committee, so she and her Great Dane Clifford (he’s more of a pony, really), greeted us with in-progress floor plans, and off we went.
As we walked through the spaces, our first task was figuring out whether we even wanted to apply for a room. If we got in, the experience and exposure could be terrific — you might even meet your next client — but participating in a show house can be incredibly expensive and labor-intensive. I’ve known designers who have spent $40,000 or more, and that doesn’t include the hundreds of billable hours lost to sourcing, ordering, negotiating, installing, and staffing the house.
Second, we needed to determine what our ideal room would be. To apply, we needed to provide our top choices — but there’s no guarantee that we would be assigned the space we applied for. Theoretically, we could apply for the library and be assigned the butler’s pantry.
As we walked through the house, a vision began to take shape. This would be a spring show house. What about a sunny, inviting bedroom? What about soft colors and an abundance of patterns? What about a garden-y feel? What about creating a room that we would be delighted to spend time in?
The die was cast. Next time: the application process. Our design direction, our submission, and our strategy. And more interesting pictures, I promise ;)
Annie Elliott Design is based in Washington, DC. Annie’s design work and insights have appeared in numerous local and national publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Washingtonian Magazine. **NEW DATES** The ASPIRE HOUSE will be open every Wednesday through Sunday from June 13 – July 12. See you there!