Showhouse design is not for the faint of heart. When I was asked to participate in the Holiday House Hamptons Showhouse, I was excited and honored.  However, after having done numerous showhouses in the past, I knew that it would be a lot of hard work and long days. Plus, I only had 34 days to bring together my vision.

An Inspiring Canvas!

I was told that my room assignment was the “Spa” — what a unique and inspiring canvas for my design! The concept of having a spa in one’s own home is pretty luxurious and it was fun to imagine what that would look like. I immediately knew that I didn’t want the spa to feel commercial. For instance, there would be no hair dryers here, but instead a calming sanctuary to unwind. So I went with the spa concept of a massage room and ladies lounge (with a rose bar, of course) and called it “Her Sanctuary.”

Set Cost & How to Stand Out

When designing for a showhouse you don’t need to think about what a client wants. However, you still need to consider cost and how to create a space that will stand out in a house that features twenty of the top designers in the country — it’s a somewhat daunting task. To help minimize the cost factor, I relied upon the incredible network I have created over my 25 plus years in business. The generosity from vendors like Cowtan & Tout, Charles Stewart Furniture and Wakefield Design Center was incredibly heartwarming and allowed me to bring my vision fully to life. My other cost-saving secret? I plan on using many of these furnishings for a space I’m re-designing in my own home.

Tell a Story

The best design tells a story and that is especially important in a showhouse. With so many interviews, it’s important to have something compelling to say about your design. “Her Sanctuary” tells the story of women celebrating each other and taking time to unwind and care for themselves. I imagine this space as a retreat for a few close girlfriends after a fun day at the beach and before a festive dinner party. The color scheme is inspired by the gorgeous pinks of the Hamptons beaches and offers a relaxing spot between day and evening.

The Details

Design is truly in the details and that is what people respond to. The massage table with the custom Schumacher striped fabric and Matouk linens is so enchanting because of the details of the trim and tape.The sofa pillows make a statement because of the elegant detailing and luxurious hand of the fabrics. The fresh flowers from Sag Harbor Florist and the thoughtfully curated shelves bring life and interest into the room.

Participating in a showhouse offers a unique opportunity to completely showcase one’s own design aesthetic. “Her Sanctuary” absolutely reflects the timeless elegance of The Lewis Design Group. It was a joy to see people enter the space and immediately smile. I made sure that the total experience was there — from fresh cut flowers to softly burning candles and rose water scents in the room. More than a few people have been tempted to call in a masseuse and get comfortable on the massage table! When a room makes you want to stay and relax, that’s a sign that you’ve done something right.

Photos by JJ Jetel