Mystery of Almeria Street

Beth Dolan

Tampa Tribune

For months now, the house on Almeria Street in the city’s Golf View section has been abuzz with activity.

Walls removed, wallpaper hung, faux finishes applied, new lighting installed, rooms gutted.

But when the front door opens at 10 a.m. today, the 1997 Designer Showhouse presented by the Florida Orchestra Guild/Tampa will overflow with activity of a different sort.

An estimated 5,000 to 8,000 people are expected to view the house and its furnishings during the event’s three-week run to benefit the Florida Orchestra, says Design Coordinator Thomas Everett Lamb.

“The event is an opportunity for people to see what designers and architects can accomplish,” says Lamb. “They’ve donated valuable time, talent and materials to create a true ‘showhouse’.

“This showhouse gives justification as to why people hire professionals.”

From the formality of the entryway with its marble floor, antiques and unexpected bright-yellow-and-white-striped wallpaper to the sophistication of the master bedroom with its muted tones of khaki, charcoal and apricot, the house offers elegance at every turn.

More than 20 area designers decorated the 16-room, 7,000-square-foot house with its five bedrooms and five bathrooms.

Renovations desired by the home’s new owners, including gutting the kitchen, removing a hallway to open up the family room, enclosing a breezeway to create a garden room and moving pool filters and other equipment to a new pool house, forced the designers to compress their work into a tight schedule, says Pat Goetschius, publicity chairwoman for the guild.

“It’s a miracle that all the renovations and work has been completed,” says Goetscius. “But it’s a beautiful home.”

Among the highlights are:

  • The pairing of dark wood antiques and brightly colored wallpaper and fabrics in the entry foyer, which set the tone for the rest of the house. Designers David van Ling of van Ling Design Associates and Franco A. Pasquale of Mondial Interior Designs chose the furnishings to complement the house’s architecture, yet placed the furniture and accessories to give visitors a cozy and comfortable feeling upon entering the house. The pair also decorated the powder room with its 24 carat gold fixtures and the upstairs hallway.
  • Each piece of furniture in the living room is antique, says designer Hazel Hanlon of Mayfair Interiors, who used contemporary colors, such as vivid reds and blues along with muted greens, to soften the mood of the formal room. Antique Chinese wallpaper panels provide a focal point, while the yellow pear walls contrast with the dark wood tones of the furniture. An unusual touch is the seagrass area rug that covers a portion of the original parquet floor.
  • The family room with its vintage rose-colored walls and seagrass carpeting. Cotton draperies in a floral pattern echo the colors of the room and provide a frame for the open view of the house’s backyard pool, spa and fountain. A camel-colored leather sofa and overstuffed chair offer a relaxing site for television viewing.
  • “It’s a multi-purpose room and we wanted to make it work for all ages,” says designer Patricia H. Kelley of Pat Kelley Interiors, who along with Ginger Tarr-Shea of Ginger Tarr Interiors, Sharon Sletkolen of Sharon Sletkolen Interiors and Carole Brooks of Classic Gallery, created the room.
  • Natural colors – moss green, cinnamon and sand – offer a relaxed look in the library designed by Fred T. Lane of Livingston Interiors. Upholstery textures include patterned leathers of elephant and crocodile and blend with brushed cottons and tweeds to create a rich-looking and inviting room.
  • The completely renovated kitchen with maple cabinetry and simulated Mexican saltillo tile opens into the breakfast area that overlooks the backyard pool through a set of French doors. The kitchen and breakfast room have been painted in hues of apricot, raspberry, cream and mint green for a cheerful appearance. The rooms were decorated by Marty Sears, Sharon Cowart, Marisa Haedike of Marty Sears Interiors and Nancy Braamse of Old World Cabinetry in St. Petersburg.
  • In the downstairs laundry room, June-Annette Whisnant of Coast to Coast Window Covering and Design relied on a floral patterned wallpaper with colors that match those in the kitchen and breakfast area.
  • Designer Stapleton Gooch IV of Stapleton Gooch Inc. chose to decorate the walls of the dining room with a faux finish effect in a spring green color. White moire draperies are lined in the same plaid that covers the formal chairs to create a lighter, softer look in the formal room. The designer placed decorative birds around the room in a playful touch on the owner’s maiden name: Byrd.
  • The young lady’s bedroom upstairs, designed by Patricia Irwin of Patricia Irwin Interiors combines striking amethyst-colored walls with plaid and floral fabrics on the bed and window treatments. White trip adds freshness and the colorful artwork on the walls tops a room that any young girl would love.
  • Traditional, yet casual and elegant, the bedroom designed by Lori S. Kline and Kelli M. Howden of Burdines Interiors, features mahogany furniture that has been given a distressed finish, as well as traditional fabrics in shades of gold, sage and purple. A seagrass area rug casually falls over an Oriental area rug as a hallmark in blending the causal and traditional.
  • The bedroom designed by Barbara Huckabay of At Home combines old and new. Colors are fresh green, raspberry and yellow and highlight the old Irish farm bed.
  • Nineteenth-century Venetian beds are the focal point of the guest suite designed by Gail Appel and Wendy Albano of Designing Women. Antique lace panels of the windows and lustrous fabrics, as well as delicate accessories, create a relaxing, yet elegant room.
  • The master suite, created by Design Interiors Wholesale Furniture Showrooms in Ybor City, features antique reproductions from the Ralph Lauren Collection as well as oversized silver-leaf wing chairs to anchor the room. Soft colors were inspired by the wing chairs, say designers Sally Laskey and Diane Chitwood, who note that they wanted to create a “hideaway for the owners.”
  • A brick breezeway, designed by Annie Moore of Into the Garden, is designed to be used by a gardener interested in topiary. With painted dropcloth draperies edged in handmade raffia fringe and an assortment of European gardening antiques, the room would please any nature lover. The room leads the way to the gentleman’s retreat, designed by Viji Reddy and Lakshmi Sastry of the Silk Route.

Neutral colors and British and Dutch Colonial furniture offer a pleasant spot in which any gentleman can relax.


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