Friday, July 17, 2009

Old York’s Decorator Show House
Welcomes Visitors This Weekend

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
The historic McIntire Farm on Cider Hill Road is ready to welcome visitors as the 20th Decorator Show House of the Old York Historical Society. The house opens to the public on July 18 and will be open through Aug. 5, sporting the design ideas and creation of more than 20 decorators from around New England. Each room in the old New England Farm House is a creation in and of itself within guidelines established by the home’s owners.
The Show House will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. It is closed on Tuesdays. On-site parking is available, admission is $20.
Anne Cowenhoven of Accent and Design of York did the design for and decoration of the dining room. This is the 18th show house in which she had been involved. Ms. Cowenhoven is a supporter of Old York and sees this as one way to give back to the organization. Her children went through Old York’s programs as they were growing up.
She said she decided early to “accent the woodwork” in the room and to generally “enhance the architecture” of the structure.
The room features a mural of the marshes of the York River painted by Judy Dibble of Brookwood Designs in Contoocook, N.H., and the furnishings reinforce the pastels of that mural.
The rooms in the homestead are numerous and smaller that those in recent decorator homes, adding to the challenge for the designers. The rooms are, Ms. Cowenhoven said, “a picture of New England Maine” farmhouses.
The family room in the house, the creation of Valerie Jorgensen of V. Jorgensen Design of Wells, was nothing but bare wall and insulation when work began but has been transformed into a cozy area with windows on the marsh, a flat screen television, a Bose sound system and more. From the start, Ms. Jorgensen’s idea was to “make it casual, a spot for relaxation.”
Those aiding Ms. Jorgensen in her work included Chris Cowenhoven, who did the wall board, and J.N electric of York. There was no power in the room when the project began.
The McIntire Homestead, which has been in the same family for over 300 years, includes access to the York River, woodlands, salt marsh, bog areas and many pastures.
Diane Hughes of Diane Hughes Interiors of Rye. N.H., did the small first floor reading room, the only room in the home with a working fireplace. It is a reading room, not a library, she said, as there is no room for a bookcase. A painting of horses and the fire place set the theme for the room, reflecting that it is, after all, an old New England farmhouse.
The master bedroom and balcony is the work of Nicole LaBranche Yee of NY Interiors of New England and the San Francisco Bay Area. When Ms. Yee first saw the room she said her reaction was, “wow, look at that view” of the river across a meadow. “The design was driven by that view,” she said. The room is, she said, unconventional, but “in this case it was the answer.” Done in cream and black, it is focused on the huge picture windows with a balcony outside them.
The hallway to the second floor features the photographic artistry of Jay Goldsmith of Portsmouth, N.H., in a series of platinum/palladium photographs taken in the vicinity of the show house itself.
Other decorators involved with the project include Charles C. Hugo Landscape Design of South Berwick, for the dooryard garden.
Also, Atlantic Design Center of Eldredge Lumber and Hardware of York, farmer’s porch; Annie K. Designs of York, powder room; Duquette & Company, York, living room; Joyce Jordan Interiors, Hampton Falls, N.H., Savannah’s Room.
F.D. Hodge Interiors of Boston, Marjorie’s room along with the kitchen and pantry; Andrea Maher Interior Design of Wells, Charlotte Rose’s nursery; Fiona’s Porch of York, Frankie’s room; Renaissance Interiors of North Reading, Mass., secret hideaway; Boehm Graham of Bedford, N.H., sitting room. Diane Hughes Interiors of Rye, N.H., mudroom; Finn Mar Tens Design of Beverly Farms, Mass., the trophy room; and Stoney Brook Landscaping of York, barn patio.
There will be a boutique and art show in the barn as well as touring of the numerous rooms in the house itself.
The Decorator Show House is the largest fund-raiser of the year for Old York, according to Carol Coles, the project’s chairwoman.
Photo caption: Family room decorated by V. Jorgensen Design of Wells. (Courtesy photo)