Maryline Damour moved to Kingston from Brooklyn four years ago, and since then she’s seen an influx of interior designers and craftspeople set up shop. Damour, who is the principal designer and cofounder of the architecture, design, and construction firm Damour Drake, noticed that this burgeoning community — not just Kingston, but the Hudson Valley — lacked a network for connecting and collaborating. She sought to bridge this gap. “I decided to create an event that would bring designers together in a highly curated way, so I created the Kingston Design Showhouse,” she says.
Showhouses are customarily designed by one person or a firm, but she arranged for 10 designers from around the Hudson Valley to each have her or his own room in an 1800s home at 139 Downs St in midtown Kingston. “I wanted to speak to the uniqueness of Hudson Valley design, and Kingston represents a microcosm of the creative energy across the region,” Damour says. “We’ve seen an explosion of creators here, and city officials have embedded the arts community into the engine of their decision making, which has attracted even more economic growth.”
Photo by Doug Menuez
As word spread about the project, interest surged; soon, 45 artisans and 50 vendors, mostly from Ulster and Dutchess counties, became involved. “This was very eclectic from a typical showhouse — the design was bold, not what you’ve seen in magazines and not particularly in line with current trends,” she explains. “One designer was paired with an illustrator, for example, and they developed this unique neo-Victorian wallpaper; now the illustrator, who’s never worked in wallpaper, and the designer have a new product to offer clients.”
Nearly 400 guests attended public viewings last October, with proceeds from the $10 admission fee benefiting the nonprofit People’s Place agency.
Designers can apply to be part of the 2019 Kingston Design Showhouse by filling out a membership application form on Kingston Design Connection’s Instagram profile by May 13. Homeowners can submit their homes as potential showhouses via Instagram, as well.
Damour hopes to make this an annual event: “With more designers coming to the area, Hudson Valley style has become an incredibly unique, layered mix of arts; any type of design can happen here.”