Last weekend marked the opening of The 2015 Hampton Designer Showhouse. This year, the showhouse is located in Bridgehampton, a quiet horse country hamlet filled with antique stores, art galleries, and small restaurants where you can taste wine produced from locally grown grapes. Drive through its peaceful woods and rows of sunkissed hydrangea bushes, and you’ll come across this year’s showhouse destination: a 6,500 sq ft modern barn house home (diverging from the typical Hampton Palladian windows and shingle gambrel roofs) complete with a poolhouse and tennis courts on 3.4 acres of land. This year, 25 top interior designers presented by Traditional Home featured their unique work inside the showhouse, and The Kuotes has been fortunate enough to speak with several of these designers (so keep a look out on our Friends of the Kuotes page).
First up: Denise McGaha of Denise McGaha Interiors. Denise spoke with me (Cal here, your dedicated content editor) about designing her gorgeous green bedroom, previewed below. As the only Texas designer at the showhouse, the gentle Southern accent of her voice is also apparent in her design style, bringing some Texan versatility to the Summer Colony. Check out what Denise has to say about her experiences in the Hamptons, and don’t forget to go and check out the showhouse for yourself! Details are at the bottom of this post.
Q. Did you have a specific design inspiration for your room at the Hamptons?
A. Absolutely. My design inspiration was—I didn’t want it to look like the Hamptons. I want to completely buck the system. I wanted to be that crazy designer from Texas who was going to do something that no one is going to expect. I decided to design something that is not seagrass or pastel blue hues. There’s an influence of being at the beach, but it’s translated in a different way from what you may imagine. It’s moody, hearty, and definitely curated.
Q. How would you describe your design style?
A. My work has changed over the years, and it really depends on where I am stylistically in my life—where I’ve traveled to, what I’m interested in, what I’ve been inspired by. And the room that I designed for the Hampton showcase definitely has a natural vibe to it in a way that’s new to me. There’s lots and lots of texture in the space, but it doesn’t come from texture that you touch. I’m more into visual layers and visual texture.
Q. Were there any accidents while installing?
A. Actually, there were. My drapes were made in Dallas by an at-home workroom, and we were not given measurements of the space… so you had to rely on someone to do that for you. So our wallpaper installer, when he went out to do the wallpapers, said he would measure, and he told me how many rolls to order. Unfortunately, when our window treatments arrived our drapes had a larger break on them then I normally like… so we adjusted our bedding so our coverlet now sweeps onto the floor. We’re having what we call a luxurious heavy break on the treatments, and we think that that’s going to be the new new.
“One of the first things I realized is how valuable it is to have relationships with designers in another city.”
Q. What have you learned the most from your work at the Hamptons?
A. Our installation in the Hamptons was handled by a transportation and delivery company in New York. I didn’t know them, I’d never met them, I’d never worked with them before. I did my install alone, and one of the first things I realized is how valuable it is to have relationships with designers in another city. Any time a designer can give you insight into who to use or say “tell them I sent you”… having a network of trade that can support you from your window treatment installer to your wallpaper installer to your warehouse and delivery team. That’s really, really important, and when you don’t have a team that you know very well, you have to get to know each other quickly, almost immediately once you hit the ground running.
Q. What do you do best as a designer, and what is your biggest design struggle?
A. I don’t follow rules, so I struggle when I’m given a bunch of rules by a client. I don’t like the phrase it should look like… You know, I believe that there really aren’t any kind of rules. So I don’t like when I’m put in a box. And I think I’m really best at allowing a room to organically come together. I always ship more accessories and styling props than I need because I like having options and letting a room go where it wants to go.
Q. Did you see any design trends at the showhouse?
A. There is a ton of grass cloth in the house. If you are a manufacturer of grass cloth wallpaper, the Hamptons is definitely your Mecca.
Denise McGaha is the Owner and Principal of Denise McGaha Interiors, an interior design firm in Dallas, Texas. The Kuotes would like to thank Denise McGaha for sharing with us.
The Hampton Designer Showhouse is open daily Sunday, July 26th to Monday, September 7. For tickets or more information, check out their website here.