By Patricia Sheridan
Roaming the acres of exhibits
at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center during the
annual Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show is a task for
only the truly tenacious. To avoid H & G overload
and get in a more decorous mode, head to the American
Society of Interior Designers' Showcase on the third
For the fourth year, the ASID's
Pittsburgh chapter is offering free decorating advice
and showcasing the work of its talented members in 8-by-4-foot
Carolyn Thornton of Carolyn Thornton
Interiors said the growing variety of design clients
disproves the idea that interior designers provide only
a service to wealthy people.
"More and more people are
using the resources of the ASID, maybe because so many
more people are working today and there just isn't time
to do it themselves," she said.
Using an interior designer does
take the legwork out of finding wall, window and floor
coverings, furniture, lamps and just about anything
that decorates a room. They also have access to sources
not available to the general public.
Thornton and Angela Nolfi of
Angela Nolfi & Co. are among the eight designers
who give home show visitors a glimpse of their interior
vision using displays. They also will answer questions
at the popular "Ask the Designer" booth, where
visitors receive free 15-minute consultations.
"This is just a great place
to get ideas by asking questions. We've actually had
people bring in blueprints," said Thornton.
Her vignette, "Art Nouveau
Nuances," depicts a vine-covered back porch setting
with a wrought-iron table and chair. On the walls, a
very deep (21 inches) Scalamandre border called "Wisteria"
crowns a brick wallpaper backdrop and trompe l'oeil
wallpaper window by Greff. The room's accessories include
period pieces like a birdcage, lamp, plant rack and
baker's rack. Among the items on the baker's rack is
a Betta (Fighting fish) Plantquarium.
"It's a complete ecosystem,"
she said. "The fish swims in this vase and lives
off the plant growing out of the top and no real maintenance
is involved," other than adding water occasionally.
Demonstrating that even the smallest
space can exude ambiance, Karolyn Spagnolo of Spagnolo
Design created a dressing room for the lady who loves
luxury. A Neoclassical-style Henredon display cabinet
with glass shelves to store sweaters and other personal
items is nicely balanced by an oriental rug and beautiful
fabric ceiling with a crystal chandelier from Sterling
Light. The crown molding is painted gold and reflects
the ormolu accents on the armchair and cabinet.