Kingston Design Showhouse 2020 | Hudson Valley Interior Design

Posted by Renee Samuels on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020 at 12:16pm.

Photo by Ariel Camilo Photography

Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty Partnership with The Kingston Design Connection

The 2020 Kingston Design Showhouse

This week I chatted with Maryline Damour, the creative inspiration behind the 2020 Kingston Design Showhouse and a partner at Damour Drake, a design and construction company based in the Hudson Valley. We talked about, amongst other things, pulling together the showhouse in the time of COVID, Maryline’s efforts to keep Hudson Valley interior design in front of the media and the exciting 3D Matterport tour created for the Kingston Design Connection by Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty’s on-staff videographer so anyone can virtually walk through the showhouse online.

Interview with Maryline Damour / 2020 Kingston Design Showhouse

Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty: Maryline, you created the Kingston Design Showhouse three years ago as an interior designer with a background of marketing, business development and public relations. It seems that because of who you are, you've come here and whipped this into shape in next to no time. You're a doer; you have an idea and go straight for it. Can you talk about that in terms of the design showhouse?

Maryline Damour: I tend to be one of those people who always has tons of ideas going on in my brain. I tend to look at stuff and make connections. I used to be a business consultant, so I focus on marketing, PR, branding. When I moved up here as an interior designer from Brooklyn, that was four years ago, I guess. I was eager to meet all these amazing creatives and makers and artists I've been reading about who are in Kingston. And it turned out they were really difficult to find. And I started meeting individual folks and asking them how did you create your network? Are you finding people to collaborate with on projects? I kept hearing over and over that people were largely working by themselves. And if they were looking to collaborate, they were going to the city or New Jersey to find folks. So that was kind of the impetus of the showhouse: I had a need to meet all these people. I didn’t want to have to go back and forth to find resources from the city, especially when there are so many amazing people up here. The showhouse became a response, a way to create a mechanism so we could all find each other.

CBVGR: Being a problem-solver, you fed right into solving your own problem.

Maryline: And I thought, well maybe I can do something about that and help myself and everybody else.

CBVGR: And so you have. What difficulties have you faced because of COVID-19, and how have you maintained a collaborative process in this year’s showhouse? You said in an interview in House Beautiful, “this is a time for prioritizing physical and mental wellbeing.” Can you foster that in a collaborative environment when there are so many fears in people's minds? And would you say the Hudson Valley is a place where people can let go of some of that?

Maryline: We had a house identified before COVID happened, which was going to be the Senior Center in Uptown Kingston, but then of course that was not the place to be during COVID. So it was a big real estate challenge this year, because it’s very hard to find a house, because so many houses in Kingston have been bought.

CBVGR: Because of the incredible Hudson Valley and Kingston real estate boom.

Maryline: Right. So that was a challenge we did not have last year, physically finding a space. Then because of COVID, the criteria for the space had to be something we could be safe in. So we found a very large house, 4,000 square feet. We're only using 12 spaces, at the most 2,000 square feet. Last year we had about 185 designers, makers and local businesses who worked in the house and created the spaces; we did not want to have anywhere near those numbers this year. Throughout the process, we were all very safe working there, wearing masks, disinfecting, all that stuff. And when we opened to the public, we had to do things very differently. Last year we had 1,000 people come through the showhouse, and you could buy tickets at the door. This year you buy tickets in advance, and we’re having no more than 10 people in each 45-minute time slot. But this year we have the virtual tour from CBVGR, which is amazing.

CBVGR: The technology is astounding, being able to virtually walk around the showhouse. Do you see the Catskills interior design community and the Hudson Valley interior design community benefiting from this influx of people from other areas?

Maryline: I can speak to that from the interior design and construction side, because I have a design/build company. There's been a huge growing interest in interior design. Generally, when we build houses, people do their interiors themselves. The difference between four years ago and now is huge. We have more people from the city and elsewhere who are used to purchasing interior design services on a bigger scale than traditionally has been up here. So we're seeing that growth in the interior design side quite a bit.

CBVGR: Then of course there’s been this huge boom in Hudson Valley real estate and Kingston real estate, with people wanting to get away from the city. I'd like to think all the artists and designers and artisans are benefiting.

Maryline: People assume the goal of the showhouse is to promote Hudson Valley design. That is actually not my goal. The showhouse looks like that's what it's doing because on the surface, that's what it does. But I did a fair amount of market research before I decided to do the showhouse, because I didn't want to do something repetitive or taking away from other great Hudson Valley design events. The reason I chose to do the showhouse is for local economic development; I was trying to address the fact that we were taking our design dollars out of the region. We didn't know who the contractors and makers were who we could hire for an interior design project. The 185 people who were co-located at the showhouse for two months last year hired contractors locally, they’ve started businesses together, that kind of thing. All of that is the reason I did it, so we could continue to grow our own design/build industry, because we have all the people here and all the resources. We just need to know each other. 

CBVGR: Considering there are so many designers putting their ideas into the showhouse, it's remarkable that the rooms don't clash in the way one might expect. Do you look at each of the contributing designers with a view to how their creativity would relate, or is it sort of a leap of faith to ask the different points of view to collaborate?

Maryline: The designers are chosen based on their portfolios. I've only ever had one design brief, which is to showcase a maker in your space, and designers are free to interpret that as they wish. So custom work comes out of the showhouse every year, which is great to see, because people take that to heart, and it deepens that relationship between interior designers and makers.

CBVGR: How did you get the portfolios?

Maryline: We have an application process every year. We do a call for designers, and that's why I've got designers from across the country. Once they're accepted, they are allocated rooms, and then they submit their mood boards. One of the things I do differently from other showhouses, I always share everybody's mood board with everyone. And part of the reason why I do is because we are in homeowners’ spaces, and generally in a showhouse, if you create a space, it has to come back to exactly the way it was before; that's something that's very different in the Kingston Design Showhouse. Since we're using homeowners’ spaces, we want them to get the benefit of all this design. We want them to keep it and love it. One of the ways we do that is we share the mood boards with my designers. For instance, I choose the front door color, and I speak to the designer of the front hall, because that's what I would do for a design project with a client. The designers make those collaborative choices together.

CBVGR: That part of the creative process can go on online.

Maryline: Yeah, exactly, because of COVID.

CBVGR: It’s an exciting process. It sounds like the Catskills interior design and Hudson Valley interior design networks are going to be burgeoning because of all of this and that they have been since you did the first showhouse. So you're accomplishing your goal.

Maryline: Yeah. My goal in the very beginning was to connect all of us so we would stop spending our dollars elsewhere. Part of my agenda is to keep Kingston and the Hudson Valley front and center, because I believe the Hudson Valley region could be and should be a resource for the entire Tri-State Area. We've been very lucky: Architectural Digest just published a huge piece on this year’s showhouse (Take a Look Inside the 2020 Kingston Design Showhouse | Architectural Digest).

CBVGR: That is fantastic. There are so many media pieces about the Kingston Design Connection (www.KingstonDesignConnection.com), in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, House Beautiful, and I think that has a great deal to do with you being the person who started it all; because wanting something to happen is different from making it happen.

Maryline: This was a consulting project from start to finish. I did a year's worth of practical research. I went and visited all these design events, talked to hundreds of people; it's what I would do if I was paid to create a showhouse. I definitely relied on that skill set. 

CBVGR: In a different direction now, how about the recipients of donations from the ticket sales? This year it’s the Hudson Valley Senior Residence, which you said was originally going to be the design house.

Maryline: Every year we've had a nonprofit partner. Last year it was Family of Woodstock. The first year it was People’s Place. A lot of our designers from the first year expressed to me that they were interested in being more plugged into the community. I thought that would be a great way to accomplish that.

CBVGR: Now how about the 3D tour that Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty sponsored. Is that a vehicle to reach new designers or get people to the house or all of that?

Maryline: So that was really about COVID. It's something we would have done eventually, but COVID pushed a lot of businesses to do things online that they might not have thought of doing. When Amy Wallace from CBVGR called, I said, Amy, you're our angel this year. So that's a major thing CBVGR is doing for us. 

CBVGR: What does the future look like in terms of next year's house?

Maryline: The homeowners give us a trade license, and then in return we get them spaces they're going to love. For example, if they have colors they hate, we make sure we don't use those. The designers for the functional spaces--kitchens and bathrooms--talk a lot with the homeowners. The designers still get to do their own design, but they want to make sure they provide the functionality the homeowners need. Those are things showhouses don't normally do. I want them to get the value from them afterwards.

CBVGR: Is there anything else you would like to add to what we’ve discussed?

Maryline: I want to mention that CBVGR, since the beginning, has done beautiful videos for us, and they're on our website. I love the fact that you guys continue to be a supporter and that you're stepping that up this year with the virtual tour. A lot of these local businesses have been the reason why we were able to do this, because of their support, in addition to the individual makers and designers.

CBVGR: Congratulations to them and to you.

This year’s participating designers are Ana Claudia Design, Ariana S. Winston, Damour Drake, Hendley & Co., Jen Dragon, Jennifer Salvemini, KD Reid Interiors, Krishna Fitzpatrick, Lava Interiors, This and That, Patrick Ryan’s Office and Stone Ridge Landscapes.


 

 View The 3D Tour:

If you are viewing the tour on a computer, click the  button and then click the  button on the bottom right to tour in fullscreen.


 

2020 Kingston Design Showhouse

1 Ponckhockie Street, Kingston NY

Saturday and Sunday, December 5–6 and December 12–13, 12-5 p.m.

Please note that advance ticket purchasing is required. Each 45-minute time slot will include no more than 10 people. Masks are mandatory and non-negotiable.

    

 


 

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