The 2018 Decorators’ Show House in Indianapolis, Indiana, brings new meaning to the adage that charity begins at home. Each year St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild presents the Decorators’ Show House and Gardens to raise money for Eskenazi Health Services. A special home in the area is selected and the best of Indiana’s local designers each claim a space in the house and collaborate with the owner to produce a beautiful interior.
This year’s home is lovingly known as the Wainwright-Cochran House, a 92-year old English Tudor revival that comes in at over 7,000 square feet. When homeowners Don and Clare Acheson were contacted about using their home for the charity this year, they were more than eager. When the Achesons decided to move into the home, they knew they would need to restore the property to its former glamour while giving it modern updates. According to Clare Acheson, the home has wonderful bones with its “high ceilings, gorgeous staircase and library. It just needed to be restored.” Thankfully, her husband is a well-regarded general contractor who was able to handle much of the work in this sizable undertaking. “We had a vision for the home,” Clare Acheson says. “We rearranged some rooms. The original dining room became the kitchen. The original kitchen became the butler’s pantry. A porch became the new formal dining room and a garage became a family room attached to the kitchen and butler’s pantry. This was a major restoration.”
When it came time for the décor, the Decorators’ Show House made the design process much easier, especially when redoing two of the most important rooms in the home: the master bathroom and the third-floor bathroom. “The Decorators’ Show House assigns a designer to each room and then that designer gets to create their vision of the room,” Acheson said. “The designers really open your eyes to what a room could look like.”
On the topic of the master bath surfaces, Acheson doesn’t mince words: “The master bath was very old and outdated with a single sink in it. Everything needed to come out.”
This may have been interior designer Kathy Hoskins’ first Decorators’ Show House, but her years of experience helped her ace this project. Acheson wanted a “soft, pretty, space”—the opposite of the bathroom Hoskins saw upon first look. “It was in very bad condition,” she says. “There was a walk-in tub in the middle of the room and it was stripped down to the studs.” The big master spas you see in homes today are a modern phenomenon—homes of this age weren’t built with grand bathrooms in mind. To create an outstanding master bath in the existing space, the paint color was changed to a mellow, silvery blue. The tub was nixed in favor of a stunning shower with marble tile to tie in with the quartz countertops and marble floors throughout the bathroom. Elegant light fixtures mix with a triptych of mirrors over the vanity to reflect light, making the space feel larger. But what makes this bathroom really pop? “We mixed metals—the Delta Faucet pieces [on the sinks and in the shower] were all chrome. For accessories and artwork, we used gold…and made [the bathroom] a little warmer.”
Interior designer Bob Mead worked his magic on the home’s third-floor bathroom, a tiny space with a dominating circular shower. To create a wow-inducing design, Mead knew decorative restraint would be most effective. The original sink, toilet and shower were kept. Delta Faucet Tesla Collection fixtures were added and the wild aqua shade on the walls replaced by a watery tone of calming blue. “The color is subtle and soothing—in small bathrooms, that is what you need.” Mead produced stunning results within a reasonable budget. “In a small space like this on a third floor, you don’t need to have expensive things.” All bathroom linens and framed artwork were purchased for less than $100 at a local discount chain. Including the mirror, window curtain and new light fixture (the original was a flood light), total cost for the décor was less than $350. For readers who struggle to make their home’s small bathroom feel special, Hoskins and Mead believe small bathrooms have the same opportunities large spas do. Mead recommends readers with little loos “keep everything very neutral [and always add] a nice big mirror.” Hoskins takes the opposite approach. “A lot of times in a really tiny powder bath, we’ll suggest you go with a really strong color so you can put some artwork in there and it pops.”
While this year’s Decorators’ Show House has wrapped for the season, there’s always next year’s home to look forward to, especially since proceeds from the tour are donated to Eskenazi Health Services. While you wait for the 2019 home tour, peruse these tips for creating a small, bold bathroom and these inspirations for elevating your bathroom décor.