This Bathroom By Kate Hutchison Provides A Soothing And Sophisticated Retreat

The Dalton-Bell-Cameron house, built in 1914, was one of the most unique homes in High Point, North Carolina. Built in the Craftsman style, the house was quite different from its more traditional Victorian and Colonial neighbors. But the pioneering structure was stricken by two major fires—one in 1997 and the other in 2012—and by 2017 it was in such a forlorn state that the city ordered it be to be either repaired or demolished.

At that point, the High Point Preservation Society stepped in to save it, just prior to it being sold to Rick Lewis and his wife Margaret Bell Lewis, who had once lived there as a child. Following the purchase, the Society and the Junior League of High Point moved quickly to help with the goal of restoring the home. To assist the new owners with some of the restoration costs, they decided to raise funds by creating a showhouse in the historic home, enlisting a diverse group of 21 extraordinary designers to bring the interiors back to life.

In our recently released aspire design and home Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Kate Hutchison to learn more about her creative process in designing the hall bathroom for this project.

aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Kate Hutchison: I was invited to participate later than most – I think I had about 2 months. It was a tight turnaround, for sure!

aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Kate: I was coming into a space that another designer had decided to walk away from, so the room had already been framed and roughed-in per their requests.

While there are things I would have done differently, I was excited and grateful for the opportunity to participate and immediately resolved to go with the flow. The timeframe was certainly a challenge, so I made a point to avoid overcomplicating the process. In the end, I realized that keeping things simple and remaining flexible served us well!

aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Kate: The timing of the tile installation was quite unnerving (it was very much down to the wire), it would have delayed every other aspect of the job.

aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Kate: Because of the tight timeline I knew cabinetry and shower glass were out of the question. My plan immediately shifted to a softer approach, which included a skirted vanity. I wanted a wide tape trim along the bottom edge of the skirt and I fell in love with Schumacher’s embroidered Arches tape. The rest evolved naturally!

aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Kate: Yes and no. I don’t often gravitate towards pinks or blush tones, but I do tend to keep things clean and bright.

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?
Kate: It was an individual process, but a hidden blessing that came from being asked to participate later in the game was the ability to see renderings of other spaces. I knew that the hallway leading to my bathroom was going to be bold. I chose to go in a subtle direction so the spaces didn’t compete.

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?
Kate: This was my first showhouse, and I loved having a small space! It helped inform a lot of decisions that I could have overthought. Of course, I’d welcome the opportunity to stretch my creativity on a larger scale!

aspire: Describe the town of High Point in one sentence.
Kate: (Disclaimer: this is where I was born and raised, so I’m biased!) High Point is a charming and welcoming city that is fairly quiet outside the hustle and bustle of Furniture Market, but it never fails to embody the true meaning of Southern hospitality.

This or That?

aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
Kate: Wallpaper
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
Kate: Area rugs on hardwood
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
Kate: Beach
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Kate: Color!
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
Kate: Dinner
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
Kate: 18th Century
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Kate: Drapery panels when possible, otherwise tailored Roman shades. Rarely nothing!
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Kate: I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t seen either… I’m not great at sitting still.
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Kate: Definitely Broadway shows!

Photography by Dustin Peck.

Click Here to view more interviews with the 2019 Junior League of High Point Designers’ Showhouse designers.

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