NYC House1

NYC Designer Showhouse Part 1

Part 1 of a Three-Part Series


Welcome to the designer show house series! We’re here at the Holiday House in New York City, and I’m going to tell you a little about what a show house is, who is involved, and how the spaces get transformed so quickly. So let’s get right into it.

Who participates in a show house?

This is my third year of doing a show house. I’m one of 20 different designers that have been selected to design a space here in the holiday house. They’re all using their own creative inspiration to develop their spaces and pull it together.

Designers enjoy doing this because they want to not only showcase their creative talents, but they also don’t have to deal with a client. So it’s really about their design and creation. And it’s also for a great cause! The space I designed is a meditation room, but we’ll get to that later.

What goes on in a show house?

The whole house is filled with sounds of construction, furniture moving, and people discussing their game plans. There are a lot of preparations to be made and in a short amount of time, so everything moves at a fast pace. With only a month of preparation before the big unveiling, completion of a room design is largely dependent on the donations from vendors with whom you have formed relationships with.

The design of the space can evolve into several different variations depending on the furniture pieces that become available. The timeline for a showhouse is very fast-paced with the installation taking approximately 1 week. The rooms are given to designers about 1-2 months in advance so pre-planning can take place. The key to a successful showhouse is preparation!

Expenses associated with a show house

Participating in a show house can get pretty pricey. It can be hard to predict the overall costs because of all the underlying factors that could pop up. Staples in a room design are wallpapering and painting.  If labor costs aren’t donated, these costs can add up quickly.

Designers normally create an initial budget that is feasible for them but relies heavily on their connections to get work and labor for free or at majorly reduced costs.  Costs to participate in a showhouse can easily range from 10k-50k.

More about my space

One of the biggest eyesores in the room I encountered in my space was a foreboding, black fireplace. For a meditation room, this definitely didn’t work with the vision of the space and had to go. When you’re designing a space that requires several pieces of furniture, there is a lot of coordination to get everything scheduled for delivery.

The space I designed for the 2019 Holiday House showhouse was much easier to complete due to minimal furniture in the space. The majority of the work in the room was remodeling the fireplace. I was excited to design a space that required hands-on building. Construction is where my passion lies and any chance to use power tools makes me extremely happy.