Motivated by the success of his recurring Palm Springs showhouse, the Christopher Kennedy Compound, the eponymous designer was lured to Turlock, California by a homeowner looking to create an exciting interiors experience in a classic American town. “I don’t think style is just reserved for the big cities and coasts,” says Christopher Kennedy, who collaborated with 15 other designers on a 3,200-square-foot midcentury residence that—following its October 2019 show dates— would become a family’s home. “The designers did the best of themselves and they also made it perfect for the homeowner. Our showhouses tend to be very livable, while still being very inspiring.”
In our recently released aspire design and home Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Justine Macfee to learn more about her creative process in designing the master bedroom and bathroom for this project.
aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Justine Macfee: As with many showhouses we had very limited time from start to finish to execute this design. This all came together in a matter of a few months – construction to completion.
aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Justine: Decorating a space while it is still under construction! By the opening of the showhouse, my bathroom was still under construction and not yet complete – so that was not ideal!
aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Justine: With help from Hugomento in San Francisco, I was able to curate an amazing collection of artwork for the space – which of course for a normal client and circumstance, would take some time to gather/collect, but with Hugo’s help I was able to curate a really fun collection.
aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Justine: “Diane Keaton at the Ranch” – bold black and white elements meet a fun splash of color. Old-world antiques meet fun contemporary textiles and fixtures.
aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Justine: I was part designing for myself, part for the overall objective of the showhouse space, so that was a tricky budget balance.
aspire: Despite the fact that there were so many designers involved, there is an inherent cohesiveness to the home. Did you all converse/collaborate? Or was this a completely individual process?
Justine: For me, it was an individual process, but I certainly became inspired but other designers’ spaces after they were installed! I think we were all pleasantly surprised by how cohesive it was, which I think is a nod to our organizer, Christopher Kennedy, and his discerning eye!
aspire: Is your preference for a showhouse a small space or a large space? Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity?
Justine: This is my third showhouse, and it seems I have had a “small space” every time! I think that has been a great opportunity to test my skills in getting as many ideas into one space as possible…but I think I would enjoy a future showhouse that allows for larger more dramatic moments.
aspire: Describe the town of Turlock in one sentence.
Justine: A hardworking California town with a small and tight community rooted in agriculture.
This or That?
aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Justine: Saturated color
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
Justine: 18th Century
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Justine: The English Patient!
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Photography by Dave Adams.
Click Here to view more interviews with the Christopher Kennedy Showhouse designers.
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