Looking for an idea for something different to do on Mother’s Day? Take your mom or just run away from the kids for a few hours to visit the Peninsula Volunteers, Inc. Decorator Show House in Woodside. It’s an historic estate really, originally designed in 1938 with the main house being 11,000 sq ft. on a property of 21 acres. We were lucky enough to tour the house recently, and it was astonishing how something so close to my home geographically was like entering into another world.
I’d never been to a design house before, and I grabbed a friend who loves to go on home tours, usually part of a school fundraiser where people drive around to look at other people’s kitchens. I was interested because we’d just finished a remodel and many people had asked me which designer we worked with (none) and our electrician kept telling me I should think about going into design. The show house confirmed my feeling that I’m on the design level with Pottery Barn. This was nothing like Pottery Barn. (Although I was excited to find that the same tile we used in our master bathroom was used in the ladies master bathroom in the design house, except in Calcutta Gold when we used Carrara to keep with the cool feeling of my room. I did something right.)
Within seconds of walking through the door, I tripped over a wooden dog. Then right after that, I had an encounter with a snooty designer trying her best to make me feel stupid for asking if a room had heat. (“What do you mean by ‘heat?’ What do you mean by a heating source?” We did a few rounds of that until she answered with an unspoken duh in her tone. Then she insulted my photography without having seen it.) I was ready to turn around and leave, but we walked on and thankfully so because everyone else was nice, welcoming, and ready to talk colors, their design process, room layout, and more.
My favorite designer, whose room radiated his personality, was Scot Meacham Wood of SMW Design. He turned a workout room into a card room filled with Palm Beach cheerfulness. The colors were fun and bright – think Lily Pulitzer – the furniture beautiful, and his art choices were perfect.
Other favorites included Morgan Design Group‘s very clever Clue-themed dining room. It was something that can be easily emulated, maybe not as immaculately done, but some of the ideas can be replicated on a lower budget.
Another fun room belonged to the fictional teen daughter. Teri Pollard of Designworks Morgan Hill created a full backstory for the inhabitant, a senior in high school who was into horses and a blogger. The equestrian chic was perfect for Woodside.
The show stopper is really the master suite designed by Johnny Mallempour of MJM Interior Design. It’s gorgeous, with huge his and her bathrooms. We did not want to leave the lady’s bathroom. It was a room that was hard to leave.
Gorgeous light, lots of space making it feel little like a bathroom and more like a retreat with a spa-like calm. Moallempour had the room taken down to the studs and rebuilt an oasis. He thought of everything in the suite, including details like matching the etched railing in the bedroom to the pattern on an ottoman. He was another designer who was fun to talk with.
The house was full of design ideas, even for a lower budget. Not only is it fun, it’s for a good cause. Tickets benefit the Peninsula Volunteers, Inc., which funds great local programs, including Meals on Wheels, senior housing, and adult day services. Tickets for the decorator show house cost $35, except Thursday nights which are $50 for meet and greets with the designers, a splurge that is worth it. The house is open until May 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Tuesdays through Sundays and is closed on Mondays.