Carolyn Thornton

Thornton Designs

{Newspaper Article - Tribune Review 2/26/05}

Pittsburgh Post Gazette - March 10, 2001
Showcase vignettes offer glimpse of interior designers' visions

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 floor.

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 room vignettes.

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.