Most people love to enter contests—those in which they might win a dream home from HGTV or a new car from a local building supply company. But these are the easy contests, which take, truly, no talent or brains to win. Just luck.
Then there are those competitions that take work—and lots of it. Those are the kind of competitions we tend to give up on, citing time, lack of skill or some other reasonable cop out. Not so for Luisa Maringola. Over the past 10 years, she and her Interiors by Decorating Den (IDD) partner, Marisa Lupo, Ontario, Canada, have entered IDD’s Dream Room competition and have had good success here in the United States, taking a variety of runner up wins.
This year, Maringola entered the competition solo, submitting her own kitchen, in her home located in a new subdivision. Striving for something more than the standard kitchen the builder provided, Maringola said, “I wanted the kitchen to be a casually elegant room where family and friends could gather for a meal or an espresso.”
She began her decorating journey by selecting all of the permanent surfaces. The raised panel doors were painted in a timid but warm white. She was also lucky to be able to find hand-molded subway-style tile in the same warm white tone for the backsplash. The uneven, “old” quality of the tile contrasted beautifully with the bright, new cabinets.
The island, topped with cool granite, was stained in a rich brown tone to provide contrast and warmth to the space.
Because the windows are west facing, concerns about sun protection were paramount. For both windows, a beautiful large-scale floral and bird combination fabric (from F. Schumacher), reminiscent of something you might see in a European country home, was selected.
The sink window offers up a soft, luxurious Roman valance with beautiful beadwork—behind it lies a cellular shade for sun protection. The same fabric was used for the pinch-pleated stationary drapery panel enhancing the garden doors. Amidst all of the warm and cool neutrals, the pop of color the two treatments provide make these window coverings the perfect choice.
The European-style table and chairs were selected for their style and size. (“We wanted something that would be comfortable for our family on a daily basis, as well as when we entertain,” Maringola stressed.) Thus, the table can extend to seat 10 people comfortably when needed. Finally, the light fixtures were chosen for their Old World charm and sparkle.
Having represented Draperies & Window Coverings once again as a judge at this years’ competition in New York City, I can say with great sincerity that it has expanded enormously over the years and the hundreds of rooms we view are captivating and inspirational and these designer have pots of talent. It’s really become difficult to select from the wide range of rooms, styles, color palettes and more.
The company has a good method of making selection as painless as possible, however, and once all of our top three choices for each category have been tallied, the room most often voted for in each of the categories is then put in competition with the other categories for the “Decorator of the Year” honor. Congratulations to this year’s winner: Luisa Maringola!
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis, MN. She is the author of Dream Floors, Hundreds of Ideas for Every Type of Floor; Dream Windows: Historical Perspectives, Classic Designs, Contemporary Creations and The Complete Home Decorating Idea Book. Stoehr can be contacted for comments, queries and trend information at firstname.lastname@example.org.