A Q&A with Anthony Baratta
The honorary design chair on creating the Junior League of Hartford Designer Showhouse.
Why did you decide to chair this particular showhouse?
For all the good that the Junior League of Hartford does for its community—assisting women, children and families on such a direct level—it was an easy “yes” for us. Also, with our team partially Connecticut based, we were excited to do a showhouse alongside the local talented designers.
This is a first for your company to design a room in a showhouse. How can that be possible?
We’ve never been able to take the time to do a showhouse— to take time away from our daily workload. Since this showhouse was presented with such a quick turnaround time, we felt we could spare the time for such a great event.
What is the importance of showhouses—for designers and for the public?
The importance of a showhouse for designers is the chance to create a fantasy without the constraints of a normal project. They get a chance to experiment and flex their creative muscles. For the viewer, it’s an interesting experience because they get totally inspired by the newest, freshest design ideas—not limited to the reality of a typical project.
What was your first impression of this home?
The house was charming. It reminded me very much of my hometown of Nutley, New Jersey, which was developed at a similar time that West Hartford was developed.
How did the small scale of the rooms play into design of the spaces?
It allowed the designers to make such intimate, focused spaces, scaled to normal life that we are used to in our own homes. There’s tons of information from this particular showhouse to teach us all how to live nicely.
There’s a lot of color, pattern and layering here. What’s the trick to making that work?
There are so many different versions of color schemes and layering examples at the showhouse, it was great to see. For us, we like to stick to classic colorations—here primary colors—and then mix in a range of patterns, from large scale to small. The color is very controlled to make it all play nicely together.
Quite a few antiques were used in this home. Are they on an upswing in popularity?
Yes. For those looking for a more personal interior, antiques are being requested more often these days.
What was it like working with this group?
I was very impressed with the work of all the talented designers that participated. They certainly didn’t need my help in putting their rooms together! I learned a lot of nice things from their decorating.
Can you envision yourself living here?
Of course—the spaces are all inviting, it’s in a beautiful town, in a beautiful house, by a babbling brook. Why not?
What was the biggest takeaway from this experience?
The warmth and generosity of all the designers, the great support from the women of the Junior League, and the wonderful opportunity made possible by CTC&G. It was a great sense of community, especially after such a long time of not working in such big groups.
What’s your next showhouse?
Kip’s Bay, Dallas, is next on the docket. The room is going to be much more catered to life in that part of the country, since we are always conscious of our audience. We are looking forward to a totally new challenge.
The print version of this article appears with the headline: Behind the Scenes.