IN 2015, Sacramento designer Kerrie Kelly was asked to participate in the prestigious Napa Valley Showhouse sponsored by Traditional Home magazine. Kelly’s assignment: to transform the second-story master bedroom of a 1935 Tudor Revival in Napa’s historic downtown. Kelly’s no newcomer to show houses; she’s a frequent participant in the Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour in Sacramento’s Fabulous 40s. Here, she talks about the Napa project and the value of show houses.
Why do you do designer show houses? We love doing show houses, especially in the Napa Valley. It gives us an opportunity to kick it up a notch. And it’s a good excuse to go to Napa!
How did you come up with the concept for the sitting area? The homeowner is a bachelor and very cerebral, so we wanted to provide an oasis for him to rest and relax after a hard day’s work. We thought this would be a great place to unwind. That’s why we have the bar cart. And he can put his feet up on the ottoman. The ottoman’s on casters, so if he’s having friends up, he can move it around for seating. It’s a bit of a play on small-space living.
The space has a challenging roofline. That was our design challenge, for sure: Did we want to downplay it or celebrate it? So we did a little bit of both. Circa, the lighting provider for the show house, carries Ralph Lauren and Aerin Lauder lighting, and we used some from each collection. That really helped highlight the roofline in a great way. Also, we would have loved to build a bookcase, but we didn’t have a lot of space, so we used wallpaper to faux the look. I would say that was one of the biggest statements made in the room. We got lots of comments on that.
That window is a prominent part of the design, no? In the sitting area, we used the window as the artwork because there’s a great view outside of a crape myrtle that’s beautiful at all times of the day. We put the Ralph Lauren light fixture in the window. As you’re standing outside, looking up at the house, it gives a twinkle effect.
Talk about the sleeping space. We used a headboard from our furniture collection, a Jaipur rug and nightstands painted navy blue (Sherwin-Williams Naval). Sonoma Country Antiques provided the accessories. We rebuilt the wall at the foot of the bed for a bench where the owner could put on his socks and shoes. Kelly O’Neal did the art, which is a very abstract, modern, linear play on a vineyard. You see the vines growing, but a very abstract interpretation of that.
What’s it like designing for a show house as opposed to a paying client? It’s interesting. A lot of designers will just design the space and not even present it to the homeowner. When we participate in a show house, we always ask if we can present to the owner so they can be as excited about it as we are. We want to reflect a bit of their personality in the space.
What can visitors take away from a show house? The lesson is: Everyone deserves great design. You can get design ideas and maybe locate designers you want to follow for inspiration or who you want to hire. I think it’s extremely inspirational for people.