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Peek Inside the Designer Showhouse VII

Peek Inside the Designer Showhouse VII

Peek inside the Junior League of Greater Covington’s sophisticated designer showhouse

September 8, 2016

Walk through the Junior League of Greater Covington’s new designer showhouse, and it’s easy to get lost in the details — the sumptuous furnishings, clever accessories and dramatic artwork. But considering how the showhouse came together, it’s really the overall look of the home that’s most remarkable.

Ten designers, each with their own personal style, picked rooms to decorate, but together, their looks blended into one seamless design. “The outside is simple and beautiful but doesn’t reveal all that the inside has in store,” said Phoebe Whealdon, Junior League showhouse committee chairwoman. “It is so sophisticated and modern in here.”

The showhouse, at 15 Cardinal Lane in The Sanctuary neighborhood in Mandeville, will be open for tours today through Sunday (Sept. 8-11) and again Sept. 15-18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

When Casey Forshag of Forshag Construction approached the Junior League about partnering for a showhouse, Whealdon said the group was thrilled to bring the event back to the community. The league’s last designer showhouse fundraiser was nearly 10 years ago, she said.

To decorate the house, the 10 designers focused their attentions on different rooms, but many collaborated, so the result wouldn’t feel disjointed.

The raised wooden and brick home, on a quiet street in The Sanctuary subdivision in Mandeville, is in a spot so lushly wooded that those on the tour may see a deer darting in the trees beyond the property line. A ceramic urn-turned-water-feature highlights the simple landscaping, and a wide staircase leads to a front porch and the home’s entrance. The bottom level is a garage and storage.

Inside, dark wood floors contrast with light walls and furnishings accented with small but dramatic colors and muted golds.

The main living level has a Creole cottage feel, with a study and dining room flanking the entrance, and the kitchen and great room stretching out past a small foyer.

The study, designed by Donna Bonnoitt of Hatcreek Designs, has a decidedly French Louisiana feel. Bonnoitt also designed the powder room, which features a unique textured wall.

Across the foyer from the study, the dining room is more eclectic with blends of golds and silvers, glass, wood, metal and soft gray and plum accent colors. The space features dramatic pieces, such as a hand-made floor clock and chandelier from Tere Kosta for Luna Bella, hand-blown glass lamps, and X-backed chairs.

Designer Patrice Senac of Arabella Fine Gifts & Home Decor boutique loved putting together the dining room, she said, because it reflects an “in-between” period of styles. “It mixed warm tones and cool tones, which can be hard to do. So many people got away from gold for so long and used the nickel finishes. Now it’s coming back. I wanted to show that you can mix that,” she said.

Senac said the show-stopper piece in the dining room is the limited-edition bronze-on-granite pedestal sculpture “Icaras” by Michael Aram.

She also designed an upstairs guest room that has an armoire with a stone-look finish. “The armoire is meant for a TV but is shallow enough to go anywhere,” she said.

The foyer, designed by Cindy St. Romain of St. Romain Interiors, boasts an 18th-century Biot jar. The space leads to a large living room/great room that is also St. Romain’s design. She mixed contemporary and Old World elements, often placing both styles together in one area.

Highlights of the great room are the chartreuse tufted ottoman, the Boucle weave jute rug, the 19th-century gold gilt bergeres chairs flanking an art deco glass side table, the cherry French farm table with white matte porcelain lamps and the Amanda Tally artwork above the table.

St. Romain designed the great room with entertaining in mind, but the furnishings provide comfort and ease for every day use, she said.
Beyond the great room, the bright, white kitchen blends casual white subway tile with soft gold accents.

Designer Maria Barcelona encourages those touring the house to notice the barstools, which provide one of the subtle “gold moments” and show that even interior designers need to be resourceful. When the barstools arrived in the wrong color, Barcelona didn’t have time to return them and considered painting them the intended muted gold. But then she found metallic duct tape and decided to give it a try. She was so pleased with the look she left it for the tour.

“Sometimes you have to go with the flow, and that was a great fix,” she said.

Barcelona hopes visitors to the house will be able to pick up several ideas for their own homes, like the custom-fitted tablecloth. “It’s such a great idea for a family gathering when you are trying to keep a tablecloth from hanging down,” she said.

Each designer chose an artist to feature, so original artwork accents each room. One of the more unique pieces is a work of painted metal suspended between two pieces of acrylic by Michelle Y Williams. It hangs on the wall between the kitchen and breakfast room.

Extending from the kitchen, a porch overlooks a wooded view, and the space does double duty as another dining area and relaxing/entertaining space. Sylvia Berger of Berger Home and Georgian Furnishings wanted the space to be inviting enough just to grab a bite and take in the view, she said.

Berger also designed the master bedroom, which features a soft blue and gray color scheme. Berger consciously left one set of windows without drapery to let the outdoor greenery complement the room. “I wanted this room to be a luxurious area,” Berger said. “I kept it simple, classic and subtle.”

A massive closet follows the master bath, and the laundry room also connects to the master bedroom.

Upstairs, in addition to the guest room and bathroom, are two children’s bedrooms connected by a Jack-and-Jill bathroom.

The girl’s room is whimsical without being juvenile, with playful features such as a coat rack serving as a place to hang flip-flops or a beach bag. Amy Freese of Doerr Furniture designed that room, along with the upstairs hallway.

The boy’s room by Becky Gherty of Pottery Barn Kids is crisp and streamlined and includes a fun nook for studying, reading or just hanging out.

Whealdon said one of her favorite aspects of the house is its smart technology. “You can control everything with your phone,” she said. Ryan Williams with LOOP Audio Video Security provided the tech features.

Don Wise of Master Closet: Louisiana Custom Closets and Finishings & Installations and Kristin Mahoney of Majestic Interior Specialties also contributed to the project.

Tickets to the showhouse are $25 at

The house is not ADA compliant, and visitors will need to walk up several flights of stairs as the house is raised. In order to protect the hardwood floors, visitors will be asked to remove high-heeled shoes when inside. Strollers are not allowed in the house.

All proceeds will go toward Junior League of Greater Covington’s programs, which include the annual Project Prom, Project Homecoming and Girls’ Health Day, in addition to supporting its signature project, the Children’s Museum of St.Tammany.

The organization also will collect items for flood victims during the showhouse tours. Learn more about the Junior League at

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