By Candy Williams
It's hard to believe that many people will trust their
doctors, lawyers and tax accountants with personal business,
but they're afraid to talk to an interior designer.
But it's true, says John DeSantis, executive director
of the Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show. Despite growing
interest in home remodeling and redecorating, "we
have discovered that many people who are interested
in doing projects in their homes are intimidated by
the thought of contacting people in the design field,"
In an attempt to help people with decorating questions
and concerns, members of the American Society of Interior
Designers will again offer daily "Ask a Professional
Designer" consultations at the show. DeSantis says
the program was extremely popular last year.
Karolyn Spagnolo, a Gibsonia designer and chairwoman
of the society's Home & Garden Show committee, says
visitors are invited to bring floor plans, fabric swatches,
photos or other tools to help design experts solve their
decorating problems in free 15-minute sessions.
Color concerns are typically
"our No. 1 question," says Spagnolo, "along
with 'What can I do with a long rectangular room?'"
At the organization's Design Showcase, designers will
display before and after home transformations. Photographs
will show actual completed projects and the changes
made to the appearance of a room or area of a home.
"Our intention is to show ideas that are real to
Western Pennsylvania homes," Spagnolo says. "Our
designers deliberately chose projects that are typical
in this part of the country."
Also, eight designers have been invited to create room
vignettes featuring new decorating ideas and products.
Spagnolo is designing a neoclassical residential bar
in her 4-foot-deep by 8-foot-wide by 10-foot-high space.
She says it will contain three flat-screen TVs stacked
vertically, so the imaginary homeowner can keep an eye
on his stocks, a sporting event and another favorite
A lot of families are including
first-floor master suites in their new home plans. "People
who are building their dream homes in their 30s and
40s are thinking ahead to when they are older,"
she says. "Most new homes also have two to three
furnaces and air conditioners" so an unused portion
of a house can be left unheated to save money on heating
and cooling bills.
Besides Spagnolo, local design firms creating room vignettes
include Barclay Langston Interiors, Fox Chapel; Angela
Nolfi & Co., Mars; Carolyn Thornton Interior Design,
North Hills; Astorino, Downtown; Pavilack Designs LLC,
Wheeling, W.Va.; and Hue Marlatt, Morgantown, W.Va.