The design, planning and renovation process of a kitchen for a showhouse is typically different than a real-life project. Many showhouses don’t have a homeowner that the designer must work with which allows the designer to have full artistic freedom to create something truly unique and different or to convey the designers personal style. That’s really the point of showhouse… for designers to be able to move outside the constraints of designing for a client.
This showhouse was different. We had “real clients” who would have a “real life” in the house after the month-long house tour was over.
First let me say that it’s an honor to be asked to design a room for a designer showhouse, but when it’s for Traditional Home Magazine, one of the most respected design magazines with a history of putting together fabulous designer showhouses, the bar is set a bit higher and the expectations as well.
From the Hamptons to High Point and west to Napa Valley, Traditional Home Magazine knows “how to put on a show”.
Renovation is a challenging business on a good day. Add in the stress of a very old house with “issues, an insane deadline and a jobsite that’s a 7-hr. plane ride away, believe me, you need a well-executed plan, reliable “boots on the ground” to assist with details and a lot of prayers. Speaking of prayers, you’ll never believe what happened to our cozy little banquette table area. More on that later.
To see what happens behind the gilded curtains of a show house read my series of posts on the process, the products and our partners who helped to make it all happen.
Part I – The Process
After accepting the “challenge” of a complete kitchen renovation, a site visit was the next step. It was a warm August day, my Kitchen Design Network partner, Lori Gilder and I flew to Napa to meet the homeowners, tour the house and get some preliminary measurements to be able to begin a working design concept.
What we walked into shocked even us and we’ve seen a lot of kitchens over our combined 50 years in the business. We were determined to rise to the challenge and tackle it head on.
Our homeowners “the kids”, were newlyweds and green to renovating old homes. They met us with open arms and more importantly open minds (did I mention the when we arrived, the husband was trying to sand the floors on his own.
NOT a good idea. Floor sanding is not a job for DIY unless you really know what you’re doing. They had heard we were the kitchen gurus and were excited to work with us, so we were off to a good start.
The bungalow house was the epitome of a fixer upper, in fact, it would have been a knock down in many places had it not been the historic downtown area of Napa Valley, CA.
The next step in the process to submit a design concept to the magazine for approval. Off to the drawing board we went. What kinds of things did we need to take into consideration?
Once the design concept is accepted there’s no time to waste. You have to spring into action with all cylinders firing. It was survival of the fittest with 6 -8 weeks to show time. Read more…