Talk of the Toile – The Bones of It All

The Junior League of Boston orchestrated their last decorator show house in the spring of 2006; since that time, stylish folk and design voyeurs in the greater Boston area have had to satisfy themselves with the lovely little show houses promoted by the Museums of Old York, local kitchen tours, and occasional random design events.  These events are perfectly wonderful and enjoyable; they’re just not Junior League of Boston show houses.

This past Tuesday, I attended a “Bare Bones Preview” of The Potter Estate in Newton, Massachusetts.  This estate, currently owned by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, will be transformed into the Junior League of Boston’s 35th Show House and will open to the public beginning October 16, 2012.  Tuesday’s preview was the public’s last opportunity to see the house before the renovations begin.

I had seen pictures of the Potter Estate, but could only guess at its true scale.  Walking through the empty rooms on Tuesday, I was overwhelmed by the Junior League’s good fortune.  The house, with its distinctive Second Empire mansard roof, has three full floors of large rooms, unique spaces, and many (many) original details.  There is a wrap-around veranda and a conservatory.  There are fireplaces, marble floors, staircases, magnificent woodwork, original tiling, and very ornate door hinges.

(Often in a show house, doors are removed to allow traffic to flow easily through the house; you may or may not see this stunning detail when you visit.)

I had spent half an hour strolling through the house in solitude when Chairwoman Elizabeth Tyminski joined me and we talked “show house” talk.  She eagerly told me about the designer excitement and she went through the notable list of talented individuals who would be responsible for turning bare bones into beauty.  It was thrilling to think about 34 decorator spaces and five glorious weeks of Show House!

As I was leaving, I met the talented individual who had designed the Front Porch of the Junior League of Boston’s show house in 2006.  She was running in with flooring and wallpaper samples; the samples were gorgeous and glamorous.  I could see that wallpaper in my mind’s eye as I merged into traffic on Route 128 and I wondered to myself “will I ever get over my love of this shiny object called the decorator show house?”

Given the size and scope of the Potter Estate, I think there will be plenty of things to write about until the renovations are finished and the house opens.  A lot has changed since 2006; even designers are blogging now!

Do save the dates:  October 16, 2012 through November 18, 2012.

And, yes, I volunteered to staff the house when it opens!

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