The Oscars may be over, but Hollywood lives on at this year’s Buffalo Home Show, which opens today. Visitors to the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center this weekend and next can take a peek inside Monica’s apartment, Marilyn Monroe’s bathroom, Madonna’s bedroom, the Rat Pack’s lounge, a classical Hollywood bedroom and, on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” a Beatles flat on Abbey Road.
It’s all part of the White Room Challenge, back for a second year with six separate design spaces. The assignment? Members of the Interior Design Association of Western New York took inspiration from the same Hollywood-themed poster and were each given a 12-by-12 white space in which to work. They also had to incorporate in one way or another four design elements. This year’s objects: a 15-inch-square metal cube table, 10-inch-by-10-foot metal flashing, three yards of 63-inch-wide primed-white canvas and a shiny metal overhead light. Then, earlier this week, the designers transformed their white space into a unique room. Starting today, they’re all on display.
Adding to the fun: Visitors get to vote on their favorite – in between visiting close to 300 exhibitors presenting goods and services for everything inside and outside your home. This year’s celebrity guest is Kevin O’Connor, host of PBS’ “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House.”
As for the designers, even though the inspirational poster had an old-Hollywood theme, they still incorporated new products and trends into their spaces – which is what people want to see when they come to the Buffalo Home Show.
Mixing metal finishes is one popular trend these days, and designer Laurel I. Swartz, owner of Iola Designs, shows how to do it in her space – Monica’s Apartment: Present Day, based on the character from the “Friends” television series. Silver wall sconces, a brushed-nickel curtain rod, gold picture frames and oil-rubbed bronze decorative keys can all be found here. The pair of sconces, in fact, were cut and welded from the overhead light – one of the required design elements.
Erin Kent, of Erin Kent Interiors and creator of the Rat Pack Lounge, picked up on the fur trend hot in home decor right now. Two chrome-based ottomans topped with generous coverings of white Tibetan faux fur are among the room’s highlights.
A color of the moment was on the mind of designer Rich Nashwinter for his Classical Hollywood Bedroom. “Gray is big right now,” said Nashwinter, who brought in custom-made gray bedding, a bed frame upholstered in charcoal and a gray rug. For the walls, however, he chose a shade of earthy green by Farrow & Ball called Vert De Terre and, for added warmth, a floating fireplace.
For her Madonna Bedroom, Laura Fulciniti of Buffalo Paint and Wallpaper also went for a gray upholstered headboard – this one fashioned from gray satin fabric by Kravet bejeweled with Swarovski buttons.
“Tufted headboards are all the rage,” said Fulciniti, who hung a 7-by-4-foot portrait of the performer and fashion icon. Also found here: a black bustier crafted from a piece of the metal flashing, another element the designers were required to use.
Darlene Ellis, of Buffalo Plumbing Showroom, pointed out something old that is very new again: freestanding tubs. She and two other designers from the showroom chose a white claw-foot cast-iron tub for their Marilyn Monroe Bathroom. “Cast iron holds in the heat extremely well,” Ellis said.
Other participating designers include Pamela Witte, of White Orchard Home Furnishings in Orchard Park, who designed the Beatles’ flat and reinvented the metal cube table as a fish aquarium inspired by the Beatles’ “Octopus’s Garden” song.
• O’Connor will present programs on storm-proofing your home at 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday.
• A Flower and Garden Market will be set up in the main lobby again this year, presented by F&S Design Studio. This is the place to shop for garden-themed merchandise and fresh-cut flowers.
• Zoologist and television host Jarod Miller, a Buffalo native, returns this year – along with some exotic animals. His presentation is 11 a.m. March 15.
Visit www.buffalohomeshow.com for information on exhibitors, parking (including valet), directions, presentations, contests and promotions.
Details: The Buffalo Home Show runs two weekends only – today through Sunday and next Friday through March 16 – in the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. Adult admission is $10 at the door, $7 online. Children ages 6 to 12 years, $3; free for ages 5 and younger. Discount tickets, $6, also are available at participating Tops Friendly Market locations.