Trends in spotlight at Designer Showhouse


Jewels on The Bay Designer Showhouse.
Where: 2145 Alameda Ave., Sarasota.
When: Through Feb. 16. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday; noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Tickets: $25 at the door; 941-780-1790.
Home price: $3,385,000; Nora Johnson, Michael Saunders & Co., 941-809-1700.

A showhouse done by professional designers is a useful and enjoyable way for the public to learn about new home furnishing trends and see how national trends are applied and altered to suit local homeowners looking for a new turnkey house or to remodel an existing one.

rDESIGNHOUSEWhat are the hot new wall colors? Is wallpaper making a strong comeback? Do homeowners still want granite counter tops, and what’s a “tower of power” in the kitchen? Are you part of the national trend of homeowners all across America ditching the bathtub in favor of a huge walk-in shower?

If you have questions about what stylish 2014 rooms could look like, there’s every reason to tour the 19th Annual Jewels on the Bay Designer Showhouse, which is at 2145 Alameda Ave. in Sarasota through Feb. 16. A $25 ticket gains you access to a glamorous 7,000-square-foot home on Sarasota Bay that has been transformed by 23 area design professionals.

PHOTO GALLERY: Jewels on the Bay Designer Showhouse

And if you covet the house itself, it’s for sale at $3,385,000, furnishings and designer services not included.

One of the boldest new looks in furniture is the inside-out stitch that is on a pair of Verellen wing chairs in the living room, designed and installed by Patricia Estes of Pecky. These chairs, upholstered in Belgian linen, have their seams exposed much like a person wearing a shirt inside out. It’s a boho-chic look that takes the edge off formal or traditionally styled furniture and people either love it or hate it.

There’s no debate about the slate-gray color of those chairs, though. Gray is the color of choice for interiors and exteriors in 2014. And the cashmere gray paint that designers Susan Scholz, Holly Dennis and Kelsey McKiernan used on the walls in the guest retreat has been the hit of the showhouse.

House captain Terrance Leaser got so tired of people asking about the color that he discreetly put up a small sign in the room naming the color and manufacturer.

In the library of the house, designers Joyce and Jeff Hart, of Bee Ridge Lighting & Design, dressed the room in soft and comforting pearl gray. The accent color is amethyst. Their room also features two trends represented in other parts of the house — grand-scaled mirrors with ornate frames either mounted on the wall or leaned up against it, and light fixtures that make a design statement.

As you’re touring this house, look up, because the pendants and chandeliers in each of the spaces represent some of the best in lighting available for residential use — modern, traditional, funky, vintage or just plain unusual and appealing. Homeowners are looking for lighting options that are artistic, and this house has a great assortment to consider.

Three designers — Robert Henry, Cheri Neary and Tom Stanley — worked with strong Asian influences in their spaces. One room is contemporary and the other two are more vintage and eclectic. What they show is that Asian as a style or accent continues to endure. It’s not a trend, it’s a classic treatment that’s ageless and timeless.

Kitchens are always paramount to tour goers who want to see what designers consider important. The kitchen and breakfast area in the Showhouse have been styled by Louise Stewart, but the essentials are what the homeowners, Allison and Peter Scanlan, already had. Their selections reinforce trends, such as double wall ovens (add a warming drawer and microwave and you’ve got the tower of power), stainless-steel appliances, a French-door refrigerator, white cabinetry and dark granite, a center island and an open-concept floorplan that flows into the family room. The trend today is for two pantries (one walk-in and one slide out) and a nearby laundry that is spacious and multi-tasking.

In the Scanlan home, young designer Aldo Boldi found innovative storage options that everyone can appreciate. For hardware in the kitchen and bath, the trend is toward super-shine chrome and nickel, either matte finish or polished. Brass is making a comeback nationally, but we’re not seeing it in Florida. Most folks are over oil-rubbed bronze.

Other trends that tour-goers will see throughout the Designer Showhouse are the return of wallpaper, hardwood flooring, bold and beautiful area rugs, the use of black and white as a theme (Terrance Leaser’s sophisticated gender-neutral bedroom and Robert Henry’s sleek and contemporary media room), en-suite bedrooms, clean-line and non-fussy furniture, a dressing room, padded headboards, custom lampshades, a double-height foyer and statement staircases.

There’s plenty to admire and evaluate in the 2014 Showhouse, and you might even warm up to those raggedy Belgian linen wing chairs.


Marsha Fottler

Marsha Fottler has been a newspaper and magazine lifestyle, food and design writer since 1968 first in Boston and in Florida since 1970. She contributes to regional and national publications and she is co-publisher and editor of a monthly online magazine that celebrates the pleasures of the table called Flavors & More. (941) 371-8593.
Last modified: February 7, 2014
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