Prestigious show house offers a great view of stars

South Florida Sun-Sentinel January 13, 2006

Written by Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

Photographed by Michael Francis McElroy

Press Photo

Designer show houses come and go in South Florida, but the prestigious American Red Cross Designers’ Show House in West Palm Beach remains the gem.
It typically draws the creme de la creme of the design world—local names recognized by those in the know and national stars whose names appear in House Beautiful, Architectural Digest and House & Garden.

This year’s show house, which began yesterday, features 16 designers. South Florida designers range from show house regulars Jennifer Garrigues, Leslie Schlesinger, Stephen Mooney and Scott Robertson to newcomers John Nelson and Michael Kirkland. The show house’s reputation has also attracted Lee Bierly and Christopher Drake of Boston (who also have a home in Palm Beach), Kim Barrett of Boston, and William R. Eubanks and David Mitchell Brown, who have offices in New York, Memphis and Palm Beach.

Talk about star power. Mario Buatta, the New York designer dubbed the “Prince of Chintz,” is the honorary chairman. Buatta, who gave a lecture Thursday on “If You Can’t Hide It, Decorate It,” appears regularly in Architectural Digest and House Beautiful. He has a hot client list that includes celebs Mariah Carey and Billy Joel, journalist Barbara Walters and prominent families listed in the Social Register.

For this 30th anniversary of the show house, expect to see a variety of designs. Walls shimmering with silver leaf in the dining room. A quiet reading room with lush fabrics, antiques and treasured books. A master bedroom and bath inspired by Greece. And a loggia that evokes a vision of an Indian palace.

The 5,400-square-foot home, located at 1201 N. Flagler Drive, is owned by West Palm Beach attorneys Steve Mayans and his wife, Terry Resk. Spencer Lainhart built the two-story, Mediterranean-inspired home in 1925 in Providencia Park, a West Palm Beach neighborhood reportedly named for the Spanish ship Providencia that ran aground in 1878 in Palm Beach with 20,000 coconuts. The home was designed by architects Harvey & Clark, who also designed the Palm Beach Town Hall, Holy Trinity Church and the Seaboard Train Station.

The home’s architecture is as interesting as the interior design. Look for the details—original Mexican tile and hardwood floors, solid mahogany doors, beveled glass windows and stenciled ceiling beams.

Proceeds of the event, which ends Feb. 4, will benefit the American Red Cross Greater Palm Beach Area chapter.