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Designers' Showcase

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The Hermitage 1808 Hermitage Road

Ann Arbor's newest Designers' Showcase

Text by Beverly Hunt. Photos by Jack Stubbs

Creativity, time, energy, skill and money have been poured into the re-design of the 28 room mansion, the Hermitage House at 1808 Hermitage Road.

The results are dazzling.

So many local firms and designers have generously contributed their services to the renovation project for the Guy Palazzola Memorial Scholarship Fund.  Designer Andrei Zaitzeff estimates that approximately 600 hours of working time were required to complete the studio apartment designed by Susan Bay Interiors, Inc.

According to Bob Anderson, it took Anderson's Design Studio at least 120 hours of painting, paper hanging and carpentry to transform a foyer bath and powder room.  Each of the more than 20 firms involved devoted considerable time and money to their own projects.

Jane Hughes, designer for Handicraft, suggests that their investment in furnishing a living room for the Hermitage includes about $1,700 for lamps, pictures and accessories, $950 worth of carpeting installed and $9,000 for furniture.

THE PRODUCT of the efforts of all these talented people is a house filled with innovative decorating ideas...and not all the ideas have expensive price tags.

A visitor in search of decorating inspiration should watch for:

COLOR-color as gorgeous as the names "Frosted Apricot" or "Sea Mist Green"...Colors that are deep and warm and rich...or pastel and romantic...crisp and sophisticated or soft, subtle and relaxing.  Color schemes are carefully orchestrated to follow a theme in minute detail.

WINDOW TREATMENTS-the variety includes sheer casement curtains, crisscross tie-back draperies, a revival of lace curtains used in new ways, Austrian shades, shirred glass curtains and window screens in appliqued fabric.

ACCESSORIES-antique dolls and toys, shells, clocks, family photographs, blossoming plants, green plants, books, glassware and crystal, paintings, antique furniture and lighting fixtures all help to transform a room into a more personal environment.

WATCH FOR THE surprise of navy fabric with a print dot pattern completely upholstering the walls of a small sitting room designed by Warren Lewis for Tyner's.  A collection of framed prints, paintings and photographs forms a composition lining one wall.  Historic family photographs are beautifully framed.

Watch for a young girl's room called "Through the Looking Glass" designed by Tarrieann Jones for West End Studio.  The shrimp colored Victorian reproduction wallpaper is echoed in a print papered old trunk.  Bed pillows are lace trimmed while antique photographs in antique frames contribute to the flavor of nostalgia.

It's possible to wander from room to room in The Hermitage, enjoying it, admiring it, stopping for a bite to eat in the garden room cafe and listening to music...but it's also possible to come away with a wealth of decorating ideas and a new respect for their creators.

'Her Nanna's Hideaway,' a sunlit sitting room, above, was designed by Valoree Sprentall for Ann Arbor Craftsmen.  Lace curtains provide both light and privacy.  The pale green rug is bordered in white and rose while striped and patterned fabrics use shades of rose and green.  It's cozy yet open and airy...a very personal room.

BEFORE: The formerly dark storage area, above becomes a light and airy guest bedroom, below.

AFTER:  Whitewashed walls complement  a collection of early 20th century toys, furnishings and memorabilia.  Sheer fabrics in white checks or stripes on white contribute to the airy look of this room by Susan Bay Interiors, Inc.

BEFORE:  Bob Anderson, above, begins the carpentry work for the foyer bath and powder room at left.

AFTER:  'Powder Your Fantasy,' above, was designed by Cathy Bandy and Marjory Ruedisale for Anderson's Interiors.  Patterned Art Nouveau paper in mauve, flesh bright white and sea mist green provides dramatic impact in a small area. 

Living room with a welcoming feeling, right, designed by Jane Hughes, Lynn Archer and Marilyn Kennedy for Handicraft.  Colors are soft subtle tones of beige and brown.  Carpeting is frosted apricot.  Walls are papered in beige grasscloth; sheer beige casement curtains have a slub weave.  Brass accessories gleam.