Before and After

Novel solutions spotted earlier this fall at the 2019 Historic Ellicott City Decorator Show House


THE BOYS CLUB  In her show house space, designer Quintece Hill-Mattauszek set out to transform a lackluster bedroom into “The Boys Club,” a swanky mid-century-style lounge. Contending with a blank, windowless wall, she created a wow factor that would pull visitors into the space.

But first, she researched the period. “I started looking at parquet floors and figuring out how to modernize them,” Hill-Mattauszek explains. “I came up with a big, graphic pattern, then created the design with CAD to make sure it would work.”

She built the removable wall herself in four sections using plywood panels stained Summer Pecan, a hue that, she says, “screamed mid-century to me.” Narrow channel lights added drama to the final installation. Removing the bay window’s mullions left a cleaner backdrop for floor lamps from Century that conjure an old Hollywood film set and a custom modular sectional upholstered in Romo fabric. A Zhishu light fixture imparted a mod touch.

Show houses can inspire homeowners to rethink their own interiors. “Reimagining the architecture of a space really does change it—and you don’t necessarily have to remodel the whole room,” Hill-Mattauszek insists. “Take a step back and don’t design your space around what it is, but around what it can be.”

Interior Design: Quintece Hill-Mattauszek, Studio Q Designs, Alexandria, Virginia. 


THE FAMILY ROOM  Designer Paula Henry overhauled the show house Family Room, where an underwhelming fireplace rimmed in terra cotta tile and a ramshackle built-in cabinet occupied one wall. “The scale of the fireplace was completely dwarfed,” recalls the designer, who set out to introduce style and functionality to the space.

“The fireplace is typically a focal point in a room,” she explains. “You want it to tell a story.” Henry played up this one by covering it in 12-by-24-inch porcelain tiles by Ceramica Sant‘Agostino, sourced at Hunt Valley Tile & Stone. “I chose this tile because it has so much texture; it reminds me of a herringbone pattern,” she says. “And installing it vertically brings your eye up.”

A floating mantel shelf—specified in walnut to match the floors—contains hidden storage via a “door” that opens at one end. “It’s the perfect place to put a TV remote or fireplace starter,” Henry explains, adding that this solution would also work in a foyer or hallway. Reconfiguring the adjacent built-in added display space.

Henry urges clients to consider the unthinkable—such as painting or covering an outdated brick fireplace surround. “By doing something relatively small,” she avers, “you can transform an entire room.”

Interior Design: Paula Henry, Simply Put Interiors, Inc., Reisterstown, Maryland. Millwork Fabrication: Summerhill Cabinets, Westminster, Maryland.