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Junior League of Hartford’s Designer Show House transforms CT home

Junior League of Hartford’s Designer Show House transforms CT home

“We started this about 30 years ago, and ultimately what we do is take over a home, usually empty, and we partner with designers and they each take over a room and decorate with their style,” said Junior League of Hartford’s Whitney Sweeney, one of the co-chairs the Designer Show House. “We then sell tickets for people to tour the house for about three weeks, which funds all of our community projects for the next three years.”


This year marks the 15th Designer Show House event, having been postponed in 2021 due to the pandemic, and the house selected is a residence at 51 Brookside Boulevard in West Hartford. This year’s Show House will take place June 3-26, with notable designer Anthony Baratta serving as Honorary Design Chair. The home will also be featured editorially in the July/August issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens.

“The impact the Junior League of Hartford has had in the Hartford community is pretty large over the last 100 years, and while the Show House is a huge fundraiser for us, it also gives us the opportunity to shine a light on the impact we have had,” said Molly Towne, co-chair.

Each of the 18 designers taking part will get their own space to design, and can do so in any way they choose.

“It’s a nice opportunity for designers, because they’re not working with a client, and can take risks and put themselves out of their own comfort home,” Towne said. “We’d love to see everyone in the community come out and support us. The house is just exquisite.”

Jaime Magoon and Erick Espinoza are the lead designers for New York-based Anthony Baratta, Inc., and are working together to reimagine the primary bedroom of the Show House.  

“For the guest room in this lovely 1920’s Tudor home, we were inspired by one of America’s most influential decorators, Sister Parish, and her charming, whimsical design sense,” Magoon said. “Just as she enjoyed a nice mix of pattern and unexpected combinations of furniture, we too enjoy the chance to make an inviting, happy space.”

The base of the room is a floorcloth, whose design originates from the American Folk Art Museum Collection. Therefore, the duo layered a big pattern with classics like ticking stripe, gingham, tattersall and quilts.

“Our goal was a space that celebrated our American heritage, while keeping it upbeat and relaxed, in true Connecticut country house style,” Magoon said. “The Junior League of Hartford is a wonderful cause to support and we hope that our participation drives interest and viewers to the Show House.”

Another designer involved is Fiona Leonard, principal of Fiona Leonard Interiors out of Darien. “We selected the entry of the vestibule,” she said. “It’s a small space (4×10), but we wanted to do it because it felt almost ignored, and we thought this little space deserved its moment and we thought we could give it to it by giving the illusion of being bigger.”

To accomplish this, the design includes planters and a cascading trail of greenery to claim a little more territory before people walk in. “We wanted to draw people in from the exterior,” Leonard said.

On opening night June 3, the designers will be in attendance and talk about their finished work.

Other designers and landscapers featured this year include Camden Grace Interiors in Hartford, Dana Ferraro for Molly Patton Design in Fairfield, Edith Whitman Interiors in West Hartford, Ethan Allen Interiors, Inc. in Danbury, Jennifer Noyes for Creative Contour in Middletown, Kate Smith Interiors in Farmington, Kathryn Hunt Studios inWest Hartford, McCory Interiors in Burlington, Melissa Porter for NEAT Method in West Hartford, Moreau Designs in Granby, Robin Jones Designs in Hartford, Shelley Curtis Dodd for Mews Designs in West Hartford, SKM Design LLC in West Hartford and Vanessa Brennan Interiors in New York City.

For more information, visit jlhartford.org.