ShowHouse Santa Fe 2018

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by Amy Gross
photographs by Lou Novick

Chef-inspired, designer-driven

Chefs pair wines with food; interior designers pair furnishings with décor. And last October, ShowHouse Santa Fe took a bold, creative step in pairing chefs with designers, for a sixth annual event that was as delicious as it was glamorous. “A World of Taste” tasked over a dozen design teams and local restaurant luminaries with creating culinary samplings and beautiful tablescapes for the Friday night Gala Preview party. The Gala is the traditional reveal of the house and the kickoff to two weekends of ShowHouse touring. As a fundraiser for Dollars4Schools, ShowHouse welcomes hundreds of partygoers and visitors looking for interior and architectural design inspiration.

“It was fun and interesting to watch the creative juices of two creative groups work in tandem for a common cause,” says John Vollertsen, a.k.a., Chef Johnny Vee, last year’s honorary ShowHouse chair and the organizer of the Gala party. “Many of the designers had never worked directly with a chef, and vice versa, and I think both groups learned a little about how the other group operates.”

Listed with Santa Fe Properties’ The Bodelson-Spier Team, the house and casita on Madrid Road had been in one family’s care for over 40 years. The design teams, along with a landscape architect, landscape artist, and several artists-in-residence, transformed their assigned rooms, spaces, and outdoor areas using inspiration from their restaurant partners, modifying some of the original finishes and leaving others in place.

Co-founders David Naylor and Jennifer Ashton once again brought their expertise to organizing the event even as they designed their own, multi-room spaces—Naylor the master suite and Ashton the guesthouse. It wasn’t the biggest home ShowHouse has transformed in its six years, but Ashton feels it was one of the best.

“On that scale of house it reminded me how everyone delivers, no matter what,” she says. “I’m always taken with how every design team executes and just goes with it, even in the little spaces.”

ShowHouse mixes experienced and new-to-the-industry designers, with everyone interpreting the annual theme to help bring cohesion to the house. “A World of Taste” was a bit of a risk in that it was less design-specific than in years past; organizers worried the house might lack continuity. In actuality, says Ashton, it inspired designers to up their games and give a little more. “It was fun, and different, just like every year should be.”