Everyone likes a good before and after but our experience at the Southern Style Now Showhouse sponsored by Traditional Home in Savannah was extreme. We were given a space in the lower level of the home. Although as I was corrected in Savannah, there are no basements just garden levels. For us Virginians, its the basement. The space was the boiler storage area - unfinished and raw. We never physically saw the space as each time we were prepared to venture to Savannah we were told there was too much construction and no walls. So without ever seeing the space, we relied on photos from the developer and video chats. I am use to working like this on our Mexico jobs so remote designing is second nature but more planning has to be done to make sure things fit correctly and feel proportional.
Given that our small space opens directly to the patio, I decided that a potting room or garden room would be sensible and fun addition to this amazing house. As the owner would come from the garage through the patio, it should be used as a mudroom as well. Light, open and fully functional were my goals. Oh and did I mention that the ceilings are only 7ft. Well, 80" to be exact. This was just one of many challenges.
Before: Clearly a storage area with no finished walls or ceiling
Looking toward the soon to be storage closet and laundry room.
The exterior patio doorway
Can you see our boarded up window on the back wall?
Our goals for this space were to show color specifically our Bridget Beari Paint Colors, heighten the ceiling, give the space a function, and create some amazing nooks and focal points.
The ceiling design was one of the first decisions I made. A beadboard grid with built in recess lights at the intersections to lighted and heighten the already low ceiling.
I love to find ways to add color without having it all on the wall. In this room I added functional built ins in our Bridget Beari Colors. The lockers are Dewey and the potting cabinets are Biba from our Exotic collection with the addition of some Bridget Beari Papers Buscemi in grasscloth for the fronts of the doors.
To continue our vision of color we add the Tile Bar tile in this amazing turquoise color just in the back of the potting cabinets.
It is a real working potting room with a galvinized sink, storage cabinets, potting table ( which I designed and had made with the perfect hooks for hanging tools ), caulk board windows for taking notes and even a chicken cover for a chandelier from Thailand that you can hang herbs out to dry.
I also found the perfect English garden tools, white washed some terra cotta pots, clipped and dried some hydrangeas. What a perfect space for working on arrangements or drying bulbs. Even the floor was new with the tile from Crossville Tiles called Notrious was the perfect choice - dark with a large scale to make the room bigger and hide dirt.
The black and white floor cloth from Spicher & Co reminded me of Savannah, classic southern style and I even saw something similar in the Pink House restaurant while I was dining one evening.
As you walk down our hallway, there is a slight niche space across from the new elevator. I thought it would be lovely to have an upholstered garden wall with fabric from Zoffany and a domed wicker chair filled with pillows accenting all the colors of the room.
Even with the addition of the mini split at the last minute, I was able to redesign the lockers with this detachable top for access. Easy access and attractive as no one likes to look at the units on the wall.
I love the addition of old and new pieces - custom cabinetry, modern wallpaper, antique chairs, repurposed windows with chalkboard, even grain sack curtains.
I used all dried or real plants in the space to show a real working garden room. Most visitors commented that they wish they had a room like this in their own home. Doesn't every southern girl need place to do arrangements and gardening?
I love adding surprise focal points like adding the hand painted door in another of our Bridget Beari Colors called Bertie. Painted by a local Richmond artist Mary Terry.
Even the laundry room at the end of the hall we added some Bridget Beari Paper grasscloth called Scarlet O'Hara in Good Boy with these striking Metallic blue Samsung Washer Dryer and this amazing concrete top from Caesarstone.
It was such a pleasure and a challenge to be involved in this showhouse. I big thank you to Traditional Home for the invitation. It is was one of our favorite spaces. We can't wait until to comes out in the magazine next year.