For those who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I took a quick trip to Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard last week to tour the 2015 HGTV Dream Home. GMC, one of HGTV’s Dream Home partners, invited a small group of bloggers to see the house and meet its architect, Patrick Ahearn. Through a lovely turn of events, I was able to attend!
Now, I’ve seen a lot of showhouses and design homes over the years, and while they’re beautiful (and often filled with over-the-top rooms) I haven’t always been inspired to translate what I see in the homes to real life.
Not so with this year’s Dream Home.
The house, which looks like a Cape from the outside, but provides all the benefits of wide open, high-ceilinged, single-level living on the inside, was gorgeous, dreamy, and REAL. As I toured from room to room, I couldn’t help but keep a mental list of tips that families could use in their own homes.
USE WOOD TO CHANGE THE FEELING OF A SPACE.
Mr. Ahearn designed the home with a large central living/dining/cooking area and bedroom wings on either side (one for the kids' rooms and one for the master suite). In the central area, there is NOT ONE INCH OF PLASTER. The walls and ceiling are covered completely in beadboard, a form of paneling seen throughout New England, often in coastal areas. The beadboard creates a cozy, yet bright environment that can’t be recreated with plain walls. Even if you can’t commit to a whole room, the ceiling of a kitchen or walls of a screened-in porch are perfect candidates for the beadboard treatment.
WHEN IT COMES TO ART, GET LOCAL.
One of the things that I loved hearing from the HGTV team, was that each time they build a Dream Home (they’ve been built all over the country in the 19-year history of the program), they include local elements. In the Edgartown house, all of the art was sourced from Vineyard painters, photographers, and galleries, providing a real sense of place to the home. If you're struggling to find artisans close to home, use the “Shop Local” function on Etsy or keep on the lookout for open studio events in your area.
CONSIDER HAVING A HOUSEHOLD SIGNATURE ITEM.
As I was roaming around the Dream Home great room, I noticed a big bowl of Hershey’s Kisses. While I assumed it was there as part of the styling, I asked the HGTV folks about it. Apparently, the HGTV Dream Home interior design team always includes a bowl of Kisses in one of the Dream Home rooms. How great! Wouldn’t it be fun to be known as the house that always had a vase of purple flowers in the entry or a bowl of green apples in the kitchen? My parents-in-law always have a dish of Lindor truffles in their living room, so every time my kids see a Lindor chocolate, they associate it with their grandparents.
KEEP YOUR PALETTE SIMPLE.
If you’ve seen my work, you know I’m a big fan of color. However, I loved the way in which the central area of the house — which included the great room, dining room, and kitchen — was completely unified by white, wood tones, and blue accents. Keeping to a simple palette makes large, open living areas (often challenging to decorate) look well-planned and cohesive.
IF YOU HAVE All NEW, ADD SOME OLD.
The Dream Home was built from the ground up, so nearly everything in it is new, new, new. However, Mr. Ahearn added some history to the space with old barn beams brought in from Spencer, MA. While sourcing historic barn beams may not be realistic for most of us, the surge in popularity of reclaimed wood makes bringing old into new — whether it’s reclaimed wood framing around a pice of art, or a reclaimed wood lamp — a little bit easier.
IT’S ALL IN THE DETAILS.
Whether it was mixing patterns, selecting incredible fretwork for the decorative railings, or reflecting the tone of the fireplace stonework in the shade of wall paint, the Dream Home focused on the details. For me, details are what makes a room go from blah to THIS IS BANANAS!
Disclosure: This post is a result of a trip arranged and paid for by GMC. All opinions, thoughts, and tips are my own!