Friday, May 23, 2008

Go ahead, pretend you live there

What would designers do with the prospect of transforming the blank slate of some 20 rooms - and nearly as many outdoor spaces - in a 100-year-old house overlooking the ocean?

Drool, drool, drool. Then get to work.

The result: the Newport Showhouse Guild's 14th annual Designer Showcase. It's in Narragansett, RI, and I recommend checking it out.

The showhouse is at Southwinds, 545 Ocean Road, the home of Judge Frank (of ABC’s Caught in Providence fame) and Joyce Caprio and State Rep. David Caprio. It's open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $25 (the guild puts on showhouses to raise money for charity).

Designers from Rhode Island and beyond have contributed to the metamorphosis, which required the Caprios, who have lived at the 10,000-square-foot home for 35 years, to move out for several months.

Despite the individual efforts of the designers, their work shows some common themes: The ocean is well-represented, with shells, summer hues, and organic materials often used. Many incorporated animal prints.

There are unexpected touches as well...the pink in the dining room, the coral in a sunroom, family photos decoupaged on trompe l'oeil painted walls in an upstairs hallway.

The showhouse folks were nice enough to let me take a few photos outside, but you'll have to put your mouse down and head over there yourself to get a look inside. And while you are there: be sure to look up. Nary a ceiling is overlooked...with materials such as sailcloth and lattice put to use in addition to painted finishes.

And if you find something you really love...many of the furnishings and accessories are for sale, with 25 percent going to charity.

So, be sure to visit before the showhouse closes on June 8. After that, the Caprios will kick you out.

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