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My Inspiration Behind The Flower Magazine Baton Rouge Showhouse Bedroom

Updated: Mar 7

I was so excited when I got the call last year about participating in the Flower Magazine Ivy Showhouse in Baton Rouge. It really was one of those pinch-me moments, because I am very familiar with the magazine and the high caliber of design talent that usually participate in their showhouses - many of whom are authors (a career goal for me) and I have their books!

For weeks, I wouldn't mention it to anyone, just in case it was all a dream. haha

The home is a modern interpretation of a traditional Georgian style home with a lot of the classic and timeless features you would expect. The home was developed by Vincent and Jewel Centanni of Ivy Residential Concepts, who also happen to be the homeowners.

You can learn more about their vision for the house HERE

I was even more excited once I learned who the other designers are, most of whom I have known my whole career and have admired their work: Arianne Bellizaire (who also happens to be a friend of mine), Benjamin Johnston (also a Houston interior designer), Kara Cox, Ashley Gilbreath, Amanda Smith Fowler, Chad Graci, Susan Hable, Lisa Palmer, Laura Roland, Ware Porter, Megan Molten, Rachel Cannon, James Farmer, Will Huff and Heather Dewberry.

Group photo of all the Designers and Chairs Barry Dixon and Mary McDonald

I selected the bedroom 3, one of the last few rooms remaining on the floor plan I was sent. This was perfect for me, because I prefer to do very small rooms that are tucked away when I do showhouses. This way I don't have to worry too much about creating something that will necessarily flow with the rest of the house.

I was asked a week or so later if I would also do the bathroom next door, and I happily said yes.

The Inspiration

Since the showhouse was for Flower Magazine, who are all about featuring gorgeous flowers in their publications, it made me think of nature, so I knew right away that I wanted to go with something nature inspired.

Here was my first design board that I dubbed "Moody Botanical".

Most items from the show house sponsors (my wishlist), which is always a goal when you do showhouses.

Original design board with embroidered wallpaper

Original design board with the wallpaper used in bathroom being considered for the bedroom

I remember being so disappointed when I learned that I would not be able to have the original wallpaper, which was actually a very unique embroidery on grasscloth material, and the 4 poster bed I wanted to use. I also learned that the artwork, as stated by the showhouse art gallery sponsor, had to be selected very close to the showhouse opening date, and I was a bit scared to take the chance, in case they had nothing that would work with my room. So those got nixed, as perfect as they were.

I had to go back to the drawing board, without losing the overall theme.

Then I thought about the Porter Teleo Inkblot paper, how much I love it, and how the Rorschach motif actually reminds me of butterfly silhouettes, perfect for the nature-inspired vibe I was going for.

I have worked with Porter Teleo in the past for client projects, and since they were not a showhouse sponsor, I figured it would be a long-shot to ask them to sponsor the wallpaper for the bedroom, but I thought, "why not give it a shot?". Imagine my amazement when they said YES!

So we were back on track with most of the original design in tact.

The new design board with pretty much everything installed.

Revised design board

The Design Development

Once I had nailed down the wallpaper and rug, and some of the major pieces from sponsors, it was time to work on the layering. Every room benefits from layering. It is just as it sounds - starting from the foundation pieces, and building on that, keeping a close eye on scale, balance and proportions.

I wanted to keep the theme of nature without going too overboard, and I dubbed this iteration "Nature's Curiosities".

With the verticality of the pattern in the wallpaper, I knew right away that I wanted the bed to either be a 4 poster bed or a canopy bed so the wallpaper doesn't over-power the space. It's a gorgeous pattern, but I wanted it to play its role in the design without standing out above everything else in the room.

I fell madly in love with the lines of this bed, but didn't love the material it was covered in. In keeping with nature, and being a lover of animal prints, I scoured my resources for a faux croc skin in the perfect shade of green, and jumped for joy when I found it.

I wanted to layer all shades of green, just like you would see in nature. There is a lot of green in the room if you look closely. I knew that my accent color was red, so to avoid a christmas explosion in the room, I balanced it out with a lot of black.

When it came time to choose artwork, I wanted one bold floral piece as an ode to Flower Magazine. There is something about the large floral piece on the large wall that seems perfectly appropriate for the showhouse.

The rest of the artwork were butterfly dioramas (the most beautiful butterflies ever), butterfly print over the bed and the green abstract on the wall with door to the closet.

You will notice my Entwined Dolphin Mirror above the dresser which always seems to work in every room I design. Haha. I mean, I have used it more than anything else in my career. I just love it so much.

The bird lamp, from my own collection, was brought in to add that whimsical touch - as if the room was lacking in whimsy. Haha

The other accessories, all from my own collection helped to add personality and charm. Even the books were about nature and bugs.

Learn about my design thought process HERE

The Sponsors

When it comes to showhouses, it is a great opportunity for a designer to build up some street cred, and stretch their limits a bit - basically doing things that you don't always get to do when working with clients. But they can be extremely expensive, and this one was no exception from the other two I have done in the past.

Even with sponsors, you don't always get access to the things you would like to use for one reason or another, and this showhouse was no exception. You also don't want to limit your design by only using what you can get for free, so that often means spending out of pocket to achieve the vision you have in mind. Again, no exception here.

This is why I am extremely humbled and thankful for the sponsors who provided me with products completely free of charge.

Some were loaned to me, some were at a reduced price from the trade price I would have normally received, and some gave the products to me outright.

Here are my room's sponsors. There were several others for the showhouse overall.

Porter Teleo (wallpaper in bedroom). They were not one of the showhouse sponsors, but they graciously offered the product at no charge. What a blessing that was, as this is a very high end paper. It is too bad we had to remove it after the showhouse. Of course, labor to install and remove the paper is at my cost.

Fabricut (drapery fabric and trim, wallpaper in bathroom, wallpaper in closet). Fabricut is one of my main fabric and wallpaper suppliers, and they have been a sponsor in the past for the One Room Challenge bedroom I completed a few years ago (wallpaper, drapery fabric and trim in that space as well). Always so generous and all products offered at no charge.

Bella Notte (Bed Linens) - Offered on loan for the showhouse.

Currey & Company (The chandeliers in both bedroom and bathroom (not shown), the dresser, the sconces (we didn't end up using), the bedside lamps). All on loan but we ended up purchasing a few of the items for personal use.

Dillards (clothing inside of closet, shoes, handbags). Closet not photographed. All were on loan. We had a wonderful shopping day with a personal attendant at Dillards. Every girl's dream! It was so much fun!

Coley Home (chair and ottomans). I don't think they were an official sponsor, but they were introduced to us through the showhouse team. All items given to us.

Universal Furniture (two small side tables that are not shown in photos) - Those were also given to us.

Two Pages (woven wood shades). These were given to us.

The Rug Company (rug). The amazing Monarch Fire rug is a design by legendary fashion designer Alexander McQueen. This rug retails for $33600! So gorgeous and I love it so much! It was loaned to us and was returned after the showhouse.

Modern Matter (hardware in bathroom). Offered to us at a discount.

The Trades People and Support Team

Like every other project we do, we cannot do it without our support team. We are so thankful to work with some of the best. Some we used for the showhouse were new to us because we were in Baton Rouge - not our home turf. Namely the wallpaper installer and the floral designer, Hummingbird Floral Studio.

One we wanted to highlight is the hand-renderer Braeden Newman. This takes some serious skills to to do this all by hand, and we are so grateful for the time and talent that went into this.

Hand Rendering By Braeden Newman

The Experience

The one thing you will hear showhouse designers talk about is the camaraderie involved when a bunch of designers come together for a common goal. We don't always get to talk to each other during the planning stages, but somehow, we always seem to come up with designs that flow from room to room, while still incorporating our unique point of views.

The entire team involved was on their game. From the core team, that includes the editor in chief of Flower Magazine, Margot Shaw, to the PR Team Brendan Von Enck and Kayla Wall, to the developer and owners, Vincent and Jewel, to the Chairs Barry Dixon and Mary McDonald, and of course the Designers, it was the experience of a lifetime.

Why A Showhouse?

The truth is showhouses are expensive to do. Especially when they are of such a high caliber. Even with sponsored products, there is still the cost to install and remove the products, freight fees, storage and delivery fees, product costs because not everything is sponsored, and more. In this case, we traveled to Baton Rouge several times, and each time we rented a car, stayed overnight at a hotel and other miscellaneous things.

The best way to look at is as a marketing investment into your brand.

We don't always see the direct ROI (return on investment) from clients immediately, but what it does for us instead is help to advance us to the next level on our career trajectory.

Without showhouses, I don't know if I would be as far along in my career as I am today.

My first one was for ASID in The Woodlands. I still give it credit for "putting me on the map".

There were homeowners involved, but they didn't keep any of the pieces. I still own a lot of these pieces today. Bubble Chair anyone? Haha

Casa Vilora Interiors - Showhouse - The Woodlands TX

The next one, also for ASID, was in Tomball. There were also owners involved. They also didn't keep any of these items, and I still own most of it to this day.

Casa Vilora Interiors - ASID Showhouse - Tomball

These showhouse spaces are still memorable to a lot of people who have followed me for a while, and that is my main goal - to create memorable spaces that showcase my distinct design point of view.

While I would love for the homeowners involved to buy all the pieces, or even the patrons to the showhouse, I personally think it is a bit short-sighted to design for that purpose.

To me it is a long game, and there is no point in participating just to design for the owners if their style does not represent the type of design I want to be doing. So I take the risk of spending the money to design what I want for my design point of view, to get the attention of the clients who do want to achieve a similar aesthetic. They get to experience it firsthand by visiting the showhouse.

There are exceptions to this of course. I would never take the risk with a kitchen or bathroom because you can't just take those apart at the end of the showhouse. No major permanent part of the house for that matter.

In the bathroom for the Flower magazine Showhouse, the owners had already made their selections for the bathroom that I designed. The flooring, shower tile, vanity style and countertop were already chosen.

Bathroom 3 Flower Magazine Baton Rouge Shwohouse

My job was to incorporate decorative finishes that would complement the permanent materials.

Final Thoughts

I bet the next time you see a designer post something about participating in a showhouse you will see it a bit differently. Haha.

It is not just about the finished work. There is a lot that must happen behind the scenes. This is true for every project, but of course showhouses have that added pressure of the expenses involved and the temporary nature of it.

I hope this helps you consider visiting designer showhouses in your area. Not just for the eye-candy, and getting design ideas, but maybe a consideration for hiring one of the designers whose work you resonate with.

I think often times people think that these designers are out of their budget range and they don't consider even asking how they work and can we talk about a project I am working on. We as designers all work very differently, so it is worth a conversation.

Veriniuca Solomon Stye Collection Nightstands in Emerald Hair on Hide With Nailhead Details and Custom Butterfly Hardware

The showhouse is featured in the Flower Magazine March/April issue.

Cover Photo Designed By Arianne Bellizaire

I'd love for you to pick up a copy on newsstands now.

If you would love your very own personal "showhouse", reach out for a consultation.

Spring Promotion in full swing with a reduced rate on consultation fees.

Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!


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