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Showhouse Rooms with Red Accents

A showcase for the power of this primary color

Written by Clara Haneberg
  • Nick Johnson

    As any good designer knows, color can breathe new life into a room. Use it sparingly or employ it daringly, red packs a punch. In these showhouse rooms, reds pop against rich browns, metallic neutrals, and sky blues. It’s a showcase for the power of this primary color.

  • Nick Johnson

    Holiday House
    New York City

    The soaring ceilings of this living room inspired James Rixner to design for maximum theatrical impact. The challenge: keeping the grand space approachable.

    By underplaying the sofa and draperies with champagne-colored silk fabric and then covering the walls of the room with dramatic deep brown, Rixner set the stage for pops of a bright accent color.

    Enter red. Matching chairs with sweeping sexy frames are covered in tufted cinnabar silk. The large scroll pattern of a silk-wool rug subtly echoes the Ken Matsubara painting that hangs above the fireplace.

    “My goal was for visitors to experience a grand traditional space in a totally new way,” says Rixner. “The interplay of the architectural details, furniture, and fabrics establishes an unexpected dialogue.”

    One way Rixner achieved the unexpected was to position the seating arrangement in front of the windows instead of predictably settling furniture pieces to frame the fireplace.

    Interior design: James Rixner, James Rixner, 121 Morton St., New York, NY 10014; 212/206-7439,
    Photography: Nick Johnson
    Produced by Eleanor Roper

  • Nick Johnson

    Dining Area

    In the back of the room, the designer folded a retro, ’60s-inspired ikat fabric into the mix on streamlined dining chairs. The ceiling quietly glistens with a silver-leaf finish and a Murano chandelier of clear glass.

  • Nick Johnson

    Bar Area

    “I wanted to remind apartment dwellers,” Rixner says, “that even people who have plenty of space often use a room for multiple purposes.”

  • Nick Johnson

    Dining Area Detail

    Delicate china with gold detail shine on the dining table.

    Sofa (“Tomei Sofa” #22-905); sofa fabric (#71308-18/Almond); throw on sofa; round accent tables (“Chairside Table” #819-625, Metro Luxe Collection); floor lamp (“Grand Tour Accessories” #SA8015, wrought-iron base with fabric shade): Century Furniture, 800/852-5552,
    Pillows on sofa (“Futurology”/Fire): Beacon Hill, 800/333-3777,
    Cocktail table (“Lucite Ice Block Cocktail Table” #7968): Lorin Marsh, 212/759-8700.
    Drapery fabrics (“Sophia Silk”/Toast #28832.16; “Sophia Silk”/Bamboo #28832.1616; “Isabella Silk”/Bisque #28704.1); Roman shade fabric (“Rhythm Linen”/Ivory #9647.1): Kravet, 888/457-2838,
    Drapery tiebacks (“Alchemy Crystal Tieback”/Quartz): Robert Allen, 800/333-3777,
    Chandelier (“Murano Chandelier” #041-3-BACH): Foundry, 212/759-9332,
    Ceiling (Metallic Leaf Renoir Collection/Dublin #GV147): Phillip Jeffries Ltd., 973/575-5414,
    Wall paint (“Dark Chocolate #CSP-270, matte); trim paint (“Stoneware” #CSP-245, semi-gloss): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,
    Rug (“Taj Mahal Silk and Wool”): Tibetano, 800/995-5784,
    Chairs (“Sleigh Chair” #I1-3824, by Juan Montoya); sleigh-chair fabric (#8512-70/Cinnamon): Century Furniture, 800/852-5552,
    Art by chair (Untitled, by Michael Kessler): Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art, 212/343-8964,
    Sconces (vintage, France, c. 1940): Chameleon Fine Lighting, 212/355-6300, www.
    Art above mantel (Vertical Horizontal #15, by Ken Matsubara): Jayne H. Baum, 212/255-9286,
    Bench (“Subes-Style Bench” #2035, discontinued): Lorin Marsh, 212/759-8700.
    Bench fabric: (“Rufiji”/Red Currant #30357.19): Kravet, 888/457-2838,
    Round accent table (“Chairside Table” #819-625, Metro Luxe Collection); accessories: Century Furniture, 800/852-5552,
    Table (“Parchment Top Game Table” #605-752); dining chairs (“Peking Side Chair” #I19-531): Century Furniture, 800/852-5552,
    Dining-chair fabric (“Kristin”/Coffee, by Texture): through Century Furniture, 800/852-5552,
    Tablecloth and napkins (“Acanthus”/hand appliqued in Madeira on pure linen #SO3177): Léron, 800/954-6369,
    China (“Brandebourg Or”): Haviland, 800/793-7106,
    Flatware (“Belle Boulevard” by Kate Spade): Lenox, 800/223-4311,
    Stemware (“Woods of Euphoria”): Baccarat, 800/777-0100,
    Three-drawer chest (“Drawer Chest” #819-702, Metro Luxe Collection); mirror over chest (#SF5100, Grand Tour Furniture Collection): Century Furniture, 800/852-5552,
    Bar unit (“Door Chest” #SF5063, Grand Tour Collection); table lamp (#SA8086); accessories: Century Furniture, 800/852-5552,
    Art above bar unit (Kukri, by Michael Kessler): Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art, 212/343-8964,
    Art near dining table (Solstice, by Jaq Belcher; and Space Consciousness, by Jaq Belcher): Jayne H. Baum, 212/255-9286,

  • Nick Johnson
  • Michael Partenio

    Shippan Designer Showhouse
    Stamford, Connecticut

    For Patricia LaPierre, the library at the Shippan Designer Showhouse presented the perfect opportunity to push the envelope. “I decided to take a nontraditional approach,” she says. “When you think of libraries, you think of green and red—traditional colors. I went with the unpredictable.”

    LaPierre paid tribute to the nearby Atlantic Ocean in her colors, coating the shelving trim and ceiling in soft gray and the walls in a bright blue. Sticking to her nontraditional palette, she selected varying shades of red—including strawberry damask to cover a Louis XVI settee and burgundy for the animal-print rug and pillows.

    Interior design: Patricia LaPierre, Greenwich Design Architect, 309 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, CT 06830; 203/661-7783.
    Photography: Michael Partenio
    Produced by Stacy Kunstel

  • Michael Partenio

    Library Detail

    By partnering red with a fashionable shade of blue, the designer created a chic blend of antique and contemporary looks.

  • Michael Partenio

    Library Desk

    In a room meant to feed the soul, comfort is key, but not at the sacrifice of style. A mixture of French fabrics, including sky blue velvet on the Louis XVI chairs and red-banded linen Roman shades, set the scene in the sitting area. To emphasize the breathtaking seaside view, LaPierre chose a clear glass desk and coordinating coffee and side tables that almost seem to melt into the space.

    On the shelves, books and accessories ranging from seashells and coral to plates and paintings are placed so that the blue backing of the shelves can be seen.

  • Michael Partenio

    Desk Detail

    LaPierre was cautious about falling into a cliché by putting too much emphasis on the nautical theme. “Libraries are usually serious and stiff,” she says. “This is a happy room.”

  • Michael Partenio

    Sitting Area

    Blue paint (“I’ve Got the Blues” #774): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, www.
    Grey paint (“Cold Wind” #DE6351): California Paints, 800/225-1141, www.
    Settee; coffee table; side table; chairs: Ellen Ward Scarborough Antiques, 203/329-0100.
    Settee fabric; blue chair-seat fabric: Marché Saint-Pierre,
    Lucite desk (from France): designer’s collection.
    Area rug; lamp on desk; coral pillow; blue-and-white pillow on settee; blue glass accessories on coffee table: Home Goods, 800/888-0776, www.
    Cordless Roman shades (discontinued); red lampshades: Pottery Barn, 800/922-5507, www.
    Lamp in window; lamp on side table: Ellen Ward Scarborough Antiques, 203/329-0100,
    Animal-print pillow on settee (from France); pillows on chairs (from France); white coral centerpiece on coffee table: designer’s collection.
    Uniform, and art behind uniform (Portobello antiques market); art behind chair (Hermès limited edition scarf, celebrating bi-centennial anniversary of French Revolution); art behind settee (poster from local auction); accessories in bookshelves: designer’s collection.
    Lantern on coffee table: Restoration Hardware, 800/910-9836, www.
    Wood floor renovation: Glenn DeMichael, 203/856-5106.

  • Michael Partenio

    Designer Patricia LaPierre.

  • Ron Blunt

    Richmond Symphony Showhouse
    Richmond, Virginia

    There was no thought of playing it safe when Jennifer Stoner chose arresting red for one wall of this sprawling dining room. She picked the attention-getting color for its fierce attitude that could stand up to the impact of the room’s grand architecture.

    “I wanted to create a color palette that would spark energy and conversation,” says Stoner, who painted red on the fireplace wall as a contrast to the gray semigloss finish of the mantel and moldings. She also used red for the upholstery of the glamorous skirted dining chairs with metallic leather on their backs that surround the pedestal dining table.

    Although red takes control of the dining room with its eye-catching spell, metallic neutrals complement the hot hue. Using hand-cut stencils, a gold floral pattern based on an existing wallpaper was added to the silver base coat of the remaining walls.

    Interior design: Jennifer Stoner, Jennifer Stoner Interiors, 804/622-0605,
    Photography: Ron Blunt
    Produced by Eileen A. Deymier

  • Ron Blunt
  • Ron Blunt

    Sitting Area

    Stoner designed the black bowfront buffets bedecked with gilded fretwork moldings, providing a spot to place pretty lamps. Elegant additions to the space include contemporary art—a painting by Chris Lombard and lithographs by Jürgen Görg—as well as a pair of sparkling chandeliers topped by sheer silk shades.

    While the chandeliers seem to hang effortlessly, securing them was an obstacle. The structure’s old, delicate plaster ceiling required additional support. Stoner’s solution was a stainless steel rod that conveniently doubles as an architectural element.

    “The room pays homage to its traditional past, while embracing new, sophisticated influences of today’s generation,” Stoner says.

    Table (ribbon mahogany Chippendale triple pedestal table): antique.
    Dining chairs: designer’s collection.
    Velvet fabric on chair front, skirt, and trim (“Kyoto”/Vermillion#1199/11, by Villa Nova): Romo, 800/338-2783,
    Leather on chair back (#15258-562/Platinum): Duralee Fabrics, 800/275-3872, www.
    Chandeliers (“Yurel”): Luna Bella, 305/696-0310,
    Chargers: designer’s collection.
    Dinnerware (“Argentatus” and “Aratus,” by Porcel); flatware; candelabra: Schwarzschild Jewelers, 804/967-0800,
    Stemware (“Marquis”): Waterford, 877/900-9973,
    Table runner (“Astrakhan” #5582, by Rose Cumming): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777,
    Area rug (“Recoleta”): Odegard, 212/545-0069, www.
    Red paint on wall above mantel (“Ryan Red” #1314); ceiling paint, perimeter (“Royal Silk” #939); paint below stair rail, on mantel and trim (“Chelsea Gray” #HC-168): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667,
    Decorative wall treatment: Chris Lombard of Liquid Concepts Decorative Painting, 804/310-6218,
    Art above mantel (by Chris Lombard): for Jennifer Stoner Interiors, 804/622-0605,
    Art behind designer (by Onyeka Ibe, from Nigeria): Chasen Galleries, 804/204-1048,
    Antiqued mirrored sconces (“Paris Oval Sconce”): Niermann Weeks, 212/319-7979, www.
    Buffet (custom design by Jennifer Stoner): Prestige Custom Cabinetry, 804/266-1000,
    Lamp on buffet (“Murano Fluted Candlestick Lamp”/with silk shade #390): Nancy Corzine, 212/223-8340, www.
    Sculpture on buffet: designer’s collection.
    Lithographs above buffet (by Jurgen Gorg): Atlantic Arts Inc., 410/263-2554,
    Wing chair (“Kingston” #N1712): Bernhardt,
    Wing-chair fabric (#28086.5): Kravet, 888/457-2838,
    Drapery panels (“Sudeley”/Watermelon #2040/02, by Villa Nova); bottom panel (“Porto”/Shale #1192, by Villa Nova, colorway discontinued): Romo, 800/338-2783,
    Accessories: Jennifer Stoner Interiors, 804/622-0605,

  • Ron Blunt