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Showhouse Showcase: Wallscapes

Top-notch wall treatmeants take a room from expected to exceptional

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • Bruce Buck

    North Shore Jewish Community Center Showhouse
    Swampscott, Massachusetts

    Though frequently the setting for special occasions, a dining room can become stodgy with its predictable formality—making it the perfect subject for fresh design ideas. The following three showhouse rooms have been finished with top-notch wall treatments—hand-painted wallpaper, earthy, neutral landscapes, and contrasting silhouettes—that take them from expected to exceptional.

  • Bruce Buck
  • Bruce Buck

    Meghan Bailey, who specializes in textured finishes, achieved a vibrant metallic effect by dripping layers of paint ranging from cobalt to slate gray on canvas. A spray of water over the canvas overlaps the blue paints to look like aged metal. The canvas was then fitted and applied to the walls, at which point muralist Susan Harter painted the figurative design.

  • Bruce Buck

    Floral mural: Susan Harter, 617/501-1320,
    Mural backdrop: Meghan Bailey, 617/429-1900.
    Buffet: Duffy Design Group Inc., 617/542-2074.
    Table (by Restell Brown & Clennell): M-Geough Co., 617/451-1412, trade only.
    Chairs ("Melissa,’’ Amy Howard Collection);  fabric ("‘Fedor,’’ discontinued): Robert Allen, 800/333-3777, trade only.
    Glass sculpture (by Amanda Brisbane); clamshell: Webster & Co., 617/261-9660, trade only.
    Decanters; coral; ivory tray; wall sconces (by Laura Kirar): Baker, Knapp & Tubbs, 800/592-2537, trade only.
    Chandelier ("Cosmopolitan’’): StudioMetz, 323/782-6980, trade only.
    Carpet (sisal in Golden Wheat): Landry & Arcari, 800/649-5909, Pheasants; murano-glass lamp: Gallagher Christopher Antiques, 617/523-1992.
    Ceiling paint: custom.
    Trim paint ("Blond Wood’’): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667.

  • Emily Followill
  • Emily Followill

    "Many of the chinoiserie wallpapers are bold in color," says Bob Brown. "This one struck me because of its quiet, chic butter yellow."

  • Emily Followill

    Wallpaper: de Gournay, 212/564-9750,, trade only.
    Trim paint ("Creamy’’ #SW-7012, half-strength): The Sherwin-Williams Co., 800/474-3794.
    Table (twin-pedestal table); commodes ("Avignon’’/Cherry): Holland & Co., 404/233-2091, trade only.
    Server (antique): Parc Monceau, 404/355-3766.
    Pedestals; Buddha: Ainsworth-Noah, 800/669-3512, trade only.
    Chairs ("Cotswald Armchair’’): Edward Ferrell, 336/841-3028, trade only.
    Chair fabric ("Morgan Velvet’’ by Jasper): Michael S. Smith Inc., 310/315-3018, trade only.
    Silk accents: Jim Thompson, 800/262-0336, trade only.
    Rug: Moattar Ltd., 404/237-5100, trade only.
    Drapery ("Setara Silk’’): Zimmer+Rohde, 866/627-6899, trade only.
    Chandelier ("Genovese’’): Therien Studio Workshops, 323/887-0806, trade only.
    Lamps (by Robert Kuo): Baker, 800/592-2537.
    Large sculpture (Anita by Isabelle Melchoir); small sculpture (by Kimo Minton); mixed media (by Jean-Pierre Bourquin): Tew Galleries, 404/869-0511,
    Large panels (Encaustic on Panel, by Dusty Griffith): Bill Lowe Gallery, 404/352-8114.
    Mirror: Parc Monceau, 404/355-3766.
    Candlesticks: Baccarat, 800/777-0100,
    Tableware: Neiman Marcus, 800/937-9146.
    Silver: Beverly Bremer Silver Shop, 800/270-4009,
    Napkins: Bloomingdales, 800/555-7467.

  • Kevin Lein
  • Kevin Lein

    A restrained tapered-leg oval dining table was partnered with curvaceous klismos chairs with seats upholstered in aqua blue silk. Descending from the ceiling directly above the oval table, a bowl-shaped crystal-and-silver chandelier gives the room sparkle, like a piece of good jewelry. Instead of a conventional painting or bull’s-eye mirror over the mantel, Michael hung a doughnut-shaped mirror based on an ancient Chinese design. It sports a distressed silver-leaf frame.

  • Kevin Lein

    The canvas sheets on which Susan Harter created her murals were removed when the showhouse was dismantled.

  • Kevin Lein

    Mural: Susan Harter, 617/501-1320.
    Table ("St. Cloud’’); chairs ("Elgin’’); chandelier ("Sancerre’’); console ("Malmaison Commode’’); mirror ("Ashanti’’); planter ("Hadrian’’); sconce ("Column’’) chair fabric and drapery trim ("Cipriani’’/Sycamore): Niermann Weeks, 212/319-7979, trade only.
    Table lamp ("Montgolfier Occasional Lamp’’): Donghia Furniture/Textiles Ltd., 800/366-4442, trade only.
    Clock; altar sticks: Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008, trade only.
    Carpet: Redi-Cut Carpets & Rugs, 203/256-0414.
    Window shades ("Crosshatch’’/Spa #25388-15): Kravet, 888/457-2838, trade only.
    Shade trim ("Mikado’’#NCT470, by Nina Campbell): Osborne & Little, 212/751-3333, trade only.
    Drapery ("Nice’’/Snow #34041-1): Clarence House,, trade only.
    Candlesticks ("Rafanelli Ball,’’ Bryan Rafanelli Collection by Pairpoint): Shreve, Crump & Low, 800/324-0222.
    Glassware: Simon Pearce, 800/774-5277.