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28 July 2009

Judging the Hamptons Designer Showhouse 2009

Not that anyone asked me to. Or I should say "us" as I was accompanied by two discerning comrades-in-arms, David and Eric.

This year's showhouse - for the most part - was a testament to safe, good taste. Or safe bland taste. These are conservative times and it isn't surprising that many of the designers didn't make their room an occasion to splash out and employ all their derring-do. In a way, it's enough of a gamble for them to even take part in a showhouse as it is a costly venture for them, and lets face it, these are tough times for the design trade.

That said, what I hope for when I visit a showhouse is to be wowed, surprised, and inspired - in a word, a "show". Which is why I adored this terrace setting below....

with the bizarre Carol Channing umbrella...
Channing in "Hello Dolly!", 1964; photo by Richard Braaten

Even though David chose it as his worst, for me, it epitomizes Arnold Bennett's famous epigram, “Good taste is better than bad taste, but bad taste is better than no taste.” Amen.

David and I did agree on the winner however:

This heavenly master bedroom sitting room by Hamilton Design Associates. The eye-popping wallpaper by Suzy Hoodless,

pochoir print from the 1911 Les Choses de Paul Poiret by Georges Lepape

which reminds me of couturier Paul Poiret, would have been enough,

but the ebony Anglo-Indian colonial furniture upholstered in clear, bright hues and the huge Tina Barney photograph pushed this to the top of my list.

Eric's top choice, which was a close second for me, was Bradley Thiergartner's bedroom. A touch nautical, a touch "Death in Venice."

Special mention also goes to Nathan Egan for a bedroom all ready for David Banda when he's a teenager and Jennifer Garrigues' master bedroom.

For more info:
Hampton Designer Showhouse
179 David’s Lane
Water Mill, NY

Open Daily Monday to Sunday
July 26 to September 6
11AM to 5PM


Admission is $30 and includes a Journal

Click here to visit an online slideshow, courtesy of Newsday.

11 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am so pleased to see wallpaper riding high once more! So many glorious new designs out there now!!

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Pamela, I love love love wallpaper. Katie Ridder showed off a few of her swelligant patterns, but unfortunately she was only given a powder room and a small butler's pantry - I would have loved to have seen more of her.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Oh, I was going to say that the butler's pantry was good! And other than the rooms you posted (including that unbelievably darling gazebo. It makes me want to paint all my pots yellow) lots of neutral. Lots and lots of brown and white with a dash of....

But I digress - thanks for the tour.

little augury said...

I love the paper and scale-the room looks big-that photograph is good. I am going to trust you best pick since I will not see the show. thanks for the tour-la.

home before dark said...

It's a rainy day here. I'm taking a break from making miles of double welting for my upholstered media room project, I think more daring than anything I have seen here. (Probably in the bad vs no taste category). I love the wallpaper in the room you chose. The gazebo is, indeed, delicious. However, the whole thing makes me rather sad somehow. I wished they had had the "if no one is buying, let's show 'em some magic" kind of fun.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Home, next you'll be writing that you're passing time by knitting vermeil chain mail for your fireplace! I know I'm not the only one who'd like to see the results of your double-welt extravaganza....

home before dark said...

EEE, if I ever write to you and tell I have willingly joined the vermeil chain gang, you have authority to shoot me and send me post haste to the artful taxidermist. It soothes the mind to know should I eclipse that ill-defined but oh so definable margin of error that I'll be preserved with nary a feather to ruffle someone else's perfect in place brow!

Janet said...

That bedroom sitting room has me in ectasy. I don't think I could ever be bold enough to layer so much fabulous color and pattern like that. However that room is enough to make me want to throw all my notions of Scandinavian simplicty out the window and go running for those pattern books.

Anonymous said...

No offense to anyone reading this blog, everyone is allowed their own taste, but that was most certainly not the only room that was bright and refreshing and cheerful. In fact, I found it a little over the top and clashy to be honest...but rooms like Kate Singer's soft purple bedroom and Janna Bullock's sitting room mixed several colors, and did it correctly. And you'd have to be crazy to call Nathan Egan's bedroom "neutral." But the winner in my book was Kat Burki. Her dressing room was perfectly executed with calming green walls, bright green and blue pillows, and a sunflower painting with the brightest blues, yellows, and greens I saw in the entire house. Not only did she use color, she used it well, and in a classy and stylish way, all while keeping the spirit of the Hamptons alive - which is a really important factor than many are missing in their evaluations of the rooms. Yes the sitting room was bright and bold, but that shouldn't garner as much praise as it is receiving.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Dear Anonymous, I am so glad you weighed in - as you say, everyone is allowed their own taste and even that there are no absolutes as to what constitutes good taste. I too enjoyed Kat Burki's room, but thought the furniture arrangement didn't quite work. There were a few rooms - of course, my own opinion - that were close to being hits, but failed by being too expected, or had banal finishing details, or both...

And what was up with the African leit-motif? I am all for exploring and learning about other cultures, but I'm left wondering if there isn't something distasteful about it becoming trendy and the flavor of the day. any thoughts? EEE

Cavan said...

ok- I know I am late in the game for this comment:) but, I always am! I agree with anonymous above, tres chic kat burki room (I actually know her)the less formal living room (forgot the designer - but was a guy) was fabulous as well! Sitting room was strange in its furniture arrangement, the furniture was cheap and the patterns were in bad taste.