I want to share a little bit about a recent redesign project I had the privilege of participating in. A group of fellow designers, architects, and artists from all over the country were asked to help renovate a cluster of cottages in The Kampong, which is a 9-acre tropical garden in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami.
Now this area is absolutely gorgeous thanks to the work of the late David Fairchild and his wife. And it has a really cool history. Mr. Fairchild was a well-known horticulturist who brought plants and flowers from around the world and introduced them to the U.S. in the late 1900s. And another interesting historical note: Mrs. Fairchild happened to be the daughter of Alexander Graham Bell. How about that!
Anyway, I jumped at the chance to participate in this project because it was sponsored by the Junior League of Miami. I’m a HUGE fan of the Junior League, which does so much for the community and for women. When I was asked to redesign the mudroom, I was excited about the opportunity to help even though a mudroom isn’t a real focal point in a home. In this case, the room was an extremely high traffic area because it was the connecting room to one of the guesthouses and the main house.
When all of us participants wrapped up our work, the Junior League opened up the homes for six weeks and the public was able to get a look at the spaces. There were 15 to 20 areas that celebrated different designers, architects, and artists from all over the United States of America. Each of us transformed a room or area, so there was a lot to see! The event was a serious success with lots and lots of visitors. Maybe some of y’all stopped by? I pray that the event brought in significant funds for the Junior League — the event was all about giving back to the community, after all!
For my part of the project, I specified a new flooring product and a counter surface to wrap the washing machine and dryer – both were by Cambria. I recycled the cabinetry by giving the doors a facelift and coat of fresh paint complete with a hand-painted motif by Ana. The delivery service called Funxion was a huge help in shipping and delivery of the items. The general contractor John, from GC/RE Renovators was awesome too. The organizers wanted us to start from scratch — new furniture, new draperies, etc. — so it was such a fun project! Overall, the cost of my portion if there had been no:
- Kohler Company & Deborah Richter– I selected their Serpentine bronze lavatory and Margaux lavatory faucet.
- Drimmer’s Appliances – The new GE Energy Star washer and frontload dryer with steam rock!
- Cambria – Special shout-out to Kristin Dick, Laura Waters Solid Surface & Tile Flooring and Jeff Nadel, fabricator of the AMG Stone.
- Karen Bolea – The renovated drapery is a dream.
- Jerry Pair — The Madeline Stuart desk and chair really made this mudroom a unique place
- That’s Haute in Bedford, TX — I selected 2 chandeliers to add some sparkle to the room.
- Kelley Schadt — Closet & containers
- Deborah Hernandez with Funxion Logistics & Relocation — Thank you for making the shipping process so easy.
While I truly enjoyed the project, it wasn’t without its challenges, let me tell you! The biggest was the REALLY short timeline I had for my redesign. Other designers opted out of doing the mudroom, and I jumped in because I wanted to contribute to remaking these historic cottages. But from the time I was asked to participate, I had like six weeks to complete my work, much of which was done from halfway across the country from my home state of Texas. Lots of phone calls. Lots of text messages. And a rush job getting the cabinets shipped to Texas, painted by one of my favorite painters, and shipped back in time. But we did it. Phew!
l think visitors were pleasantly surprised by my space. And probably a little shocked! Being the “Queen of Bling” in Donna Decorates Dallas on HGTV, I add sparkle, glitz, and glamour to every project that I am a part of, so, the mudroom was no exception. It got glitz and glamour as well. Not what you’d expect in a mudroom! When I was in the room, I saw people walking through and they seemed to love it.
I made it glamorous but very functional as well, adding countertop space and a beautiful white lacquered Austen writing desk by Madeline Stuart Collection in LA will make any woman want to pay her bills. To conceal a deteriorated wall, I added a rich Chinese drapery in vivid red — the signature color of the Kampong. The space is, in my humble opinion, beautiful and elegant.
It was a wonderful experience to work with an awesome group of ladies from the Junior League. Women helping women, the community, and kids… that’s what it’s all about, right? We have a Junior League in Dallas and I’ve worked with them as well. The Miami group did such an amazing job, especially since they also had to work under the tight deadline like all of us. But they did it! And my hat’s off to them and their organization for all the hard work they put into this effort. I am darn proud to have contributed to the success of this worthwhile project. If y’all are ever in Miami, you gotta check it out!