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  • Lindsey Borchard

Show House: Our Experience + How to Get Involved

Last month we had the immense honor of participating in the Central Valley Designer Show House presented by Christopher Kennedy and Aspire Design and Home Magazine in Turlock, CA. It was our first time participating in anything like this so I wanted to let you all in on our experience and a little behind the scenes. We’re covering everything from how to get involved, how it works, to what it means to be a part of a show house. Join us tomorrow for our Monday Mentor Session on Instagram where I’ll be answering all your questions about show houses and why it’s so important to get involved for one.

Lets start at the beginning…

What is a Designer Show house?

A Designer Show house are breathtaking homes in which every living space has been given a makeover by an interior designer or landscape designer. As a bonus the proceeds from the show house typically benefit a worthy cause. The Central Valley Show house benefited Jessica’s House, Convenant Care, and the Salvation Army.

What Does it Mean to Be a Part of a Show House?

Participating in a show house doesn’t give you any awards or guarantee any future clients. However, It does give you exposure, allows you to meet a ton of new people, network within your industry, get press, and have A LOT of fun creating a space without client restrictions. This is your opportunity to push your design limits and have a lot of fun with design in ways you probably don’t get to do everyday.

How Can I Get Involved in a Show House?

I cant say enough about networking! Most show house organizers like Christopher are more than happy to consider working with new designers. I met Christopher at High Point last October, we hit it off, talked shop and stayed in touch. I then saw him at Vegas Market the following Summer and we started talking about his show house and I told him to keep me mind if he needed any help. He later reached out about designing an outdoor space and the rest is history.

How Should I Design for a Show House?

Don’t confuse a show house room with work for a private client. A show house is an opportunity to push limits of your comfort zone and go for a statement, because you need to grab attention. We wanted to do something that’s creative, boundary pushing but also inviting and realistic. The show house in Turlock was all about the American home, with a real family living in the house after so we wanted to design a space that was functional but elevated with fun fabrics, and staging with fun props like a vintage golf set and croquet set.

Who we partnered with:

When designing for a show house keep in mind you are paying and are responsible to furnish your space. Usually there are big sponsors involved to cover paint, tile, lighting etc. We had to work our networking some more and get sponsorships to help make our space possible.

We partnered with one of our FAVORITE trades vendor, Essential for Living. They supplied our beautiful Loom Chairs for the fire pit area. These chairs were the perfect fit because the backs are gorgeous and would be exposed so we wanted to make a big statement with them. We have worked with Essentials for so many projects so it was a no brainer to contact them and see if they wanted to be involved. They are so easy to work with as a designer and they offer so much for every room of the home. We are forever Thankful for them to give us these beautiful pieces.

We also partnered with Twist Custom Workroom who made ALL of our cushions, reupholstered all our furniture and made some amazing ottomans and floor cushions for our space. We could not have done anything without Nancy and her team! They make the most beautiful furniture and were honored they said yes to helping us!

Finally Thibaut Designs sponsored ALL of our fabric. We used the most amazing outdoor fabrics for our sofa, chairs, cushions and ottomans. This really helped bring the space to life and added so much personality.

We are so happy with how our little space turned out. We really wanted to design the space for functional living, but with a punch of color and fun props that made the space come alive. The whole house is absolutely gorgeous and every designer put such love into their space. If you ever have the chance to participate in one I highly encourage you to say yes!


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