Houston-area chapter of AISD offer home building and remodeling tips at annual show

Jay Iarussi stood on scaffolding while he drew long green and gold strokes that flowed across the ceiling as if they were a moving current.

The palette for this artistic ceiling treatment was inspired by the one-of-a-kind Bocci chandelier already hanging in the room, the upstairs playroom of a home being completed on West University Place. This home, begun as a custom home by Sugar Creek Homes, was purchased by a family with young children and almost simultaneously became this year’s show home for the American Society of Interior Designers Texas Gulf Coast Chapter.

The show home will be open to the public over the next two weekends, December 8th-11th and 15th-18th. General admission tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for children. Interior designer Victoria Sheffield is the chair of the model home – coincidentally, the builder had already hired her to help finish the home – and her co-chairs are ASID’s new president, designer Candice Rogers, and Cambria sales manager Jason Grigar . A dozen other local interior designers and a handful of design students participated in the project.

It’s fun to attend show homes and house tours, if only to peek inside the homes of people who have substantial budgets for building materials and furnishings. However, there is one important takeaway for anyone thinking about building, remodeling, or even tackling simpler decorating projects: lots of ideas.

It’s an opportunity to see how interior designers work magic by combining colours, materials and textures and using things that are often difficult to find or only available from designers. You’ll also have a chance to see the work of local workshops and artisans, as many designers buy and source locally to avoid supply chain issues that prevent on-time delivery of housewares.

Here is an example of what you will see:

mix furniture

Furniture, art, and accessories are the last things brought into a show home—or any other home, for that matter. You’ll see great examples of high and low, a mix of antique, modern and more current mid-century pieces that are traditional and transitional in style.

This home is 5,890 square feet, so you’ll see bedroom treatments that cover a kid’s room, a boy’s room, a master suite, and two guest suites. There is a game room, an expansive kitchen with two oversized kitchen islands, and two pantries, one a butler’s pantry and the other a walk-in pantry. There’s also a study and game room with a wet bar, providing inspiration for just about any project you’re considering.


When: 8th-11th and 15.-18. Dec 10am-5pm (last entry at 4:30pm)
Where: 3807 Westman
Tickets: general admission $35 for adults and $15 for children; $75 for VIP First Look (11am-2pm, December 6); eventbrite.com
Information: txgc.asid.org

See more

One of the best advances in interior design in recent years is the tremendous impact of great-looking lighting. Not only has technology improved, but manufacturers have hired top designers who have taken the finished product to another level. You’ll see some of the best lighting on the market in this home, from this Bocci chandelier in the playroom to sconces and other lighting in the 7-5 full baths and 2 full baths of the home. There are also beautiful chandeliers in large open spaces, and homeowners should pay attention to the larger sizes.

Lighting is – literally – bigger than ever. A common mistake homeowners make is choosing undersized lighting because it’s really hard to imagine how something will look in a room. Chandeliers are great, pendants too. Wall lamps are imaginative and sometimes become a jewel in the room. Two standout features are the cactus-like chandelier in the master bathroom, part of a suite by interior designer Christine Ho, and the row of paper lanterns that cover the ceiling in a flexible space at the back of the home, a space created by designer Imelda Escatell.


Cambria and Silestone, two companies that make precast countertops, are sponsors of the event and Cambria offered its latest quartz collection for use. The slabs used in the kitchen islands are the new Beckington quartz, a creamy base with cool grays and soft veins of tan, and this is the first change anyone needs to see to see this design installed in a home. There’s also a black-and-white terrazzo counter by Ann Sacks and green glazed lava stone tiles at the upstairs bar, a place where you can use more dramatic materials.

Designers have been bold with wallpaper and colour, so you’ll see how a home can have shades of deep green, blue and terracotta without looking overwhelming.

You’ll also get a glimpse of some great plumbing fixtures and fittings, as the designers have chosen a variety of finishes throughout the home. There’s tin, nickel, and brass, and you’ll see these finishes in the lighting as well.


Wallpaper has made a comeback in recent years and this home showcases the very best there is. In a home this size, the wallpaper budget—materials and installation—could easily reach $100,000 if you use premium brands and patterns in multiple rooms. However, remember that everything is reinterpreted, so you can find any style or pattern in a variety of price ranges. Be inspired to try something new with this home’s many uses for wallpaper.

Great uses include a pretty pink floral pattern on the child’s bedroom ceiling (by Laura Manchee Designs), a hand-painted wallpaper depicting a tree frog peeking around light stripes in the boy’s bedroom (by Cassandra Brand Interiors), and the beautiful tropical pattern by Arte International. Flor Imaginaria, on the foyer wall (by Candice Rogers Interior Design.)

Considering the art

Art is an integral part of home design, bringing colour, form and visual interest to any space. This show home features local artists and you will see paintings throughout the home. If you see one you like ask who the artist is as there will be lists of materials everywhere. Much of the art is on loan for the event, and the homeowners are buying some of the furniture. That means almost everything is for sale. So if you like the chic sofa in the game room or the vintage rug in the foyer, ask if it’s for sale.

As you tour this home, think of art as more than just paintings on the walls. The playroom ceiling marries a hand-painted mural with a gorgeous chandelier, and I dare anyone who sees it to tell me it’s not art. Throughout the house you will see things that are so beautiful and of such a high level of craftsmanship that they are considered works of art.


The work of interior designers is very detailed and that can make a room look so elegant. Little things to look out for – and maybe duplicate in your own home – are stone/slab bathroom backsplash cut into interesting shapes (downstairs powder bathroom by Cassandra Brand Interiors), a reed wood Finish on kitchen island doors and end pieces (by Victoria Sheffield Design) and an entire wall of fretwork by Fuller Architectural Panels in the children’s room (by Laura Manchee Designs).

The playroom in the back of the house also plays a role in the family cat. The room’s designer, Imelda Escatell, incorporated a series of steps and hammocks running up the wall for the cat to climb, play and hide. The cat also has a built-in cat door so she can come and go from this room to the backyard at will. The homeowner’s young son also gets a great room with bunk beds that look like a treehouse fortress.

The house is large and the grounds are not, so outdoor space needs to be used wisely. The small backyard will be covered with artificial grass, a good choice for gardens that are not huge and have a lot of shade. In front of the house, the builder and designers were faced with the challenge of finding a way to park an extra car in front of the house. The lot is not deep so the driveway extended sideways towards the door in a pattern that was all concrete but will have indentations for artificial grass. It will have the look of a porous driveway without any maintenance whatsoever.

Local artisans

The show homes that have been revived in the last year or so have struggled to get materials that designers want in short order, forcing them to turn to the artisans and workspaces in each community. That’s true of this ASID project, so you’ll see things made right here in Houston, from the wall of preserved plants in Priscilla Saynay’s Ms. Moss Potter master bedroom to custom metal shelves in James Dawson Design’s living room.

Incorporating plants into living and working spaces has become popular in recent years, and the preserved plants Saynay uses range from mosses to mushrooms to ferns and amaranthus that look as green and fresh as live ones. Over a period of about 20 hours, she meticulously attached each piece of the preserved plant to a wall panel behind the bed in the master bedroom. It’s so unusual and refreshing that you’ll probably stop and think about where you could put something like this in your own home.

Designer Cheryl Baker used Dawson’s metal bookcases on each side of the fireplace in the main living area, an ingredient in a great combination of materials: limestone floors, an engineered stone mantel, and wood panels that run up the part of the wall where the fireplace sits. Each material plays a role in the visual and physical history of this space.

[email protected]

You might also like

Comments are closed.