The season of love is the perfect time to reflect on love in all its forms–including how love and romance can be interpreted into an award-winning design.
In 2018, I was invited to design a space for the “Showhouse for a Cure” in Milwaukee. Proceeds from this event benefit breast cancer research. Not only was it for a great cause, but the idea of taking a blank slate of a room and turning into a warm and welcoming space intrigued me.
I ended up selected the third-floor landing–a not-very-inspiring hallway. In fact, none of the other designers wanted it–it was a throwaway space. But I saw potential to turn it into “A Milwaukee Romance.”
Inspiration struck when I learned the showhouse’s homeowner planned to turn this circa 1880’s house into an event venue. That got me thinking about weddings and how the landing could serve as a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos.
Benjamin Moore was donating all the paint for the showhouse, making selecting Heritage Red for the back wall a no-brainer. I could envision both white wedding dresses and tuxedos popping against that color.
How else to portray love and romance in the space? In a moment of brainstorming (no bad ideas!) I simply Googled “Milwaukee Love Story” and up popped this gorgeous wedding photo image:
Further investigation revealed the name of the photographer–the Uttkes. I connected with them and they obtained permission from the couple for me to use it in my space.
No wedding is complete without gorgeous blooms and I found them in collaborating with Milwaukee Flower Company. The owner, Sally van der Wyst, and I decided only full-blown roses in shades of soft pink would do. She found the linear gold tone vases. Now the design was incubating and serendipity was beginning to manifest.
While researching tables fora client, I found a beautiful console table with a triple-ring design at the base–reminiscent of his and hers wedding and engagement rings. Next, I discovered a drum shade chandelier with a brass ring detail.
I now had enough together to take my design concept board to the Showhouse Committee for approval:
While painting the wall red was a hard sell with the homeowner at first, I eventually received approval to proceed with my design.
I still needed the rightchairs and rug to finish the space. The rug was another serendipitous find–Oscar Isberian offered to loan me one of their gorgeous area rugs. The one I selected was literally hanging on the wall, across from the Chicago showroom’s entrance door! It was perfect–a bit more modern in feel to balance the more traditional elements in the space. The rug was so beautiful that when I posted a photo of it to Instagram, several people asked me for the “painting’s”artist and how to buy it.
I selected a large scale, cut velvet damask fabric upholstery for two sleek side chairs. The buffet lamps were ones I had been eyeing for myself for a year, so I seized the opportunity to purchase them.
The space turned out so well, that I entered awards and won the 2018 Design Excellence Award for Best Showcase Space. Love and romance are a universal language!