Transformed West Hartford Home Is Junior League of Hartford Designer Show House – We-Ha
The 2022 Junior League of Hartford Designer Show House opens to the public on June 3, 2022.
By Ronni Newton
The home that Marsha and Jared Jacobskind and their two children left in the able hands of the Junior League of Hartford six weeks ago has been completely transformed, and beginning June 3 the home will be center stage in its role raising funds to support local charities as the 2022 Designer Show House.
The 4,000 square foot Tudor at 51 Brookside Boulevard in West Hartford, situated on a more than a half-acre of wooded land that backs up to a brook on a peaceful tree-lined street, has become the tableau to showcase the work of 16 talented designers.
Molly Towne, who co-chairs the 2022 Show House with Whitney Sweeney, said this year’s group of designers is amazing. And while this year’s home is not as expansive as some of the past houses, “I think the main thing that is different about this house is its relatability. It’s a family home – they are a young family with two young girls. I think most people will walk into the home and say, ‘I could do this in my house, too.’”
Jeanne Barber, owner of Camden Grace Interiors, now of West Hartford, who designed the dining room, had the same thoughts. “It’s a really relatable house,” she said.
And while it wasn’t planned, she said, the rooms flow more than what one might expect. Many of the designers were inspired to use a variety color and pattern, and followed a similar theme.
“It’s so cool that an actual family lives there, and trusted us with their home,” Barber said. But in putting together her plans, like all of the designers she had to keep in mind that this is an opportunity to showcase her best work.
“For a show house, you don’t know who your clients are, so we created fictional clients,” she said.
Because the home is an English Tudor, Barber wanted to honor that heritage. She imagined an empty nest couple who arrived in New England from London, and were looking to incorporate heirloom pieces but also want an edgier look, to “not look like your English grandmother’s dining room,” she said.
The initial inspiration, the starting point for the room, was the chair fabric, Barber said.
“We purposely put in a smaller table that has a leaf,” so it can accommodate just two people but also be expanded for entertaining, Barber said. “It’s super cosy,” she added.
Pieces serve multiple purposes. The secretary, styled as a bar, can also be used as a desk. Additional storage is found in the skirted area of the console table.
“We maximize the light by hanging the window treatments high and wide,” she said, visually raising the height of the ceiling by painting the crown moulding in a color that matches the wallpaper, and adding depth by painting the back of the built-ins in a rich burgundy and showcasing milk glass ceramics.
The artwork, commissioned from Nantucket artist Kate Pelletier, adds an unexpected element of fun that really pops, Barber said.
Barber has visited many of the previous Junior League show houses, but this is her first foray as a designer. She said she was encouraged to participate by her friend Kristen McCory, a veteran of Junior League show houses, who this year designed the foyer, stairwell, landing, and hallway spaces. She was also prompted to participate by her teammate Julia Zajac, who is a member of the Junior League of Hartford.
“It’s been so collaborative, not competitive,” Barber said of working in the house with all of the designers. Everyone seemed to embrace the project, to share the frustrations of dealing with unexpected supply chain issues, and the understanding that they are also giving back to the community.
Barber said she also loved the partnership with Connecticut Cottages and Gardens magazine (media sponsor of the 2022 Show House), which will be dedicating their July/August issue to the 2022 Show House and the Hartford area.
“It was a really fun space … it begged to have something in motion there,” Jennifer Moreau, of Granby-based Moreau Designs, said of the screened porch, which she designed along with the patio.
This is the first time she has installed a swinging bed, but Moreau said she knew it belonged in the space. “I wanted to push myself somewhat,” she said. The ambiance at night, she said, when the lanterns on the patio and the porch come one, is unbelievable.
The stencil on the floor gives the illusion of terra-cotta, a complement to the brick exterior.
“The finishes, furniture and fixtures are inspired by or are a part of nature, this is blurring the lines between outdoors and indoors and is Biophilic Design,” Moreau said in her design statement. She designed the porch in the 2018 Junior League Show House, and said she was excited to do another space that directly connects to nature.
“The tree trunk console from Phillip’s Collection was a harvested downed tree, the palm tree fabric from Mokum is the perfect natural balance of color and scale. The light mimics a hibiscus flower in shape and is handmade from Hubbardton Forge. Curated pieces from a trek through a local farm and Monger’s Market make up an interesting patio display with sustainability in mind. I imagine on a warm summer day sitting here and reading a book on the swinging day bed, or on the patio with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. The babbling brook, birds chirping, and a cool breeze will do wonders for your soul.”
Moreau said she’s thrilled that the homeowners – who after the show house closes can choose to have the paint and wallpaper remain or have the spaces returned to a neutral palette, and who have first dibs at purchasing the furniture and accessories – like the swinging bed.
“That’s for me the best part,” she said. “The sweetest, even though they’re not my clients.”
Marsha Jacobskind and her two young daughters (ages 1 and 3) have been spending most of the weekdays with family in New Jersey, and reuniting with her husband, who has a dental practice in Cromwell, on the weekends at his family’s home in upstate New York. He’s remained living in the basement of the home during most of the time the designers were at work, but the whole family will soon be reunited, house-sitting for friends in West Hartford for the next several weeks.
While her husband has seen the transformation, and has given her FaceTime tours, this week was the first time Jacobskind saw the inside of her home since the work was completed.
“My absolute favorite is the screened-in porch,” she said. “[Moreau] has made it such a perfect space for us – not really for us, but for the show house, but it’s perfect.” She said she’s looking forward to spending lots of time in what was formerly an underutilized space, enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening.
Kathryn Hunt, whose studio is located in the Central Building in West Hartford Center, recently launched her own textile line. Several patterns from her collection, including grasscloth and clay paper wallpaper, were incorporated into the bedroom she designed.
“It’s a small room, so I did a canopy hanging from the ceiling,” she said, which visually expanded the space. Two pieces of art were her original inspiration, and she wanted to design around her wallpapers.
“It feels like a French garden,” Hunt said. Adding to the theme are Diane Hill botanicals, plants, a rattan fixture above the bed, and seagrass in the adjacent dressing room.
Hunt has previously done a show house in New York, but this was her first in the Hartford area. She said she’s really happy with the reception she’s received from those who have seen the space, including from DJ Carey, the editor of Connecticut Cottages and Gardens, who remarked that she “packed a lot into a small space.”
Carey, who lives in Fairfield County, said she was intrigued by this project in part because she’s a former member of the Junior League (in Stamford), and also because she recently spent some time working on the governor’s residence, and got to know Hartford area designers and enjoyed getting to engage with them.
She also really liked the Brookside Boulevard house.
“It’s realistic in terms of its scale … a house we can all relate to,” Carey said. “And the designers packed so much into each room.”
The area designers did not disappoint, Carey said, including many emerging trends such s plants and other nature-inspired elements, green and yellow palettes, wallpaper, scale of patterns, painted ceilings, texture, and sparkle.
Connecticut Cottage and Garden’s entire July/August issue will be dedicated to the 2020 Junior League of Hartford Designer Show House as well as to the Hartford area, including information about local restaurants and a feature on Tudor architecture.
Carey thinks the homeowners have been so generous, and are giving back in a very meaningful way.
Jacobskind said it’s been a really exciting process.
“Every space is beautiful for a show house,” she added. There are so many things she would never have thought to do, and admires the creativity and beautiful elements that they have woven together in their spaces.
Jacobskind took her 3-year-old daughter to see her room on Thursday and she was very excited to see it. One of the girl’s rooms has a flower theme and the other has butterflies, and she knows they are spaces both will love.
She loves the work done outside, too. “The landscaping is absolutely beautiful. We love it,” she said.
Jacobskind said she absolutely is glad her family decided to lend their home to the Junior League of Hartford, and would definitely make the same decision again. “It’s worked out. It’s given me some amazing time with family that I really appreciate and I could never get back.”
Not that it hasn’t been difficult being uprooted, with most of their belongings stored in the attic and a unfinished basement room, but Jacobskind said her family has an “adventurous spirit. We figure things out as well go along.”
Towne said the Junior League has been very lucky to have legendary interior designer, Anthony Baratta, as honorary design chair. Baratta, known as the “King of East-Coast chic,” designed the home’s largest bedroom along with his team members Jaime Rangoon and Erick Espinoza.
The five-bedroom home, at 51 Brookside Boulevard, was built in 1938 for Frederick Sidney Holt, an Executive at Aetna, and his wife, Sarah-Louise Holt.
The 2022 Show House will open with a special event on Friday, June 3, and tours and other special events will be held through Sunday, June 26, 2022.
The Junior League of Hartford has hosted a Designer Show House as the organization’s signature fundraiser since 1979, and typically holds the event every three years. Due to COVID-19, the 15th Show House was postponed for a year. Many recent Show Houses – including a home on Waterside Lane in 2018 and a home on Orchard Road in 2015 – have been located in West Hartford.
To date, the Junior League of Hartford has raised more than $1.6 million for its charitable projects and programs. Their current initiative is Empowering Women and Girls to Overcome Obstacles and the proceeds from the 2022 Designer Show House will support a multitude of Connecticut nonprofits. Funds will come from ticket sales to tour the homes as well as special events and sponsorships.
Sale of artwork that hangs in the hallways supports Gifts for Good.
Tickets for the 2022 Junior League of Hartford Designer Show House tours and special events are available online through Eventbrite and on the Junior League of Hartford’s website. Online presale tickets for tours are $25 until June 3, and $40 at the door or online as of June 4.
Show House 2022 will be open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Show House is closed Monday and Tuesdays.
Guests are encouraged to hold onto their ticket for re-entry to the house at any time during normal house tour hours. Special ticket packages are also available for private group tours and special events.
For questions and more information about The 2022 Show House email [email protected] or follow along on Facebook (@JuniorLeagueofHartfordInc) and Instagram (@jlhartfordinc).
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