This is the start of my 5th designer showhouse season. I am drawn to the charitable nature of these month long benefits, which often raise several million dollars for their charities. This one, Stately Homes by the Sea, benefits the VNA of Central NJ.
For me, participation has not been an annual occurrence, although I have done a showhouse garden each year for the last three years. I accept all invitations to view the property, but unless there’s a space that immediately inspires me in some way, I don’t accept. These gardens are an opportunity for me to experiment creatively without the constraints of a typical design brief. They are also an excellent opportunity for me to showcase ideas for potential clients in a realistic setting.
Last summer I was invited to preview the house and property that would be transformed by the following May. Typically these properties are vacant and in need of a face lift. As seen in the video below–one of several posted on YouTube, this particular property, ‘Sheep’s Run’ in Rumson, NJ was in the throws of a complete overhaul.
Each designer was invited to compete for up to two spaces by submitting a a conceptual design and written proposal for each. I only wanted one–it’s at the very start of the video with white pick-up truck parked in it. It’s adjacent to a sun porch, a library and a very large terrace. It had beautiful views out from the house as well as being a somewhat independent space from the rest of the very formal master plan. I was awarded the space I wanted.
Here’s some shots of the space as it was last September as well as a beautiful detail of one of the window grills. Since this will be an ongoing serial–this is also the end of the first installment. How’s that for a cliffhanger?
Below: One of the many bird themed details found throughout the property both inside & out