Saturday, June 10, 2000

Homearama goes global

Decors, designs stress luxury with touch of the exotic

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer contributor

A glass block wall overlooks the bathtub in "The Avanel" by Zicka Walker Homes.
(Dick Swaim photos)
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        Homearama 2000, the annual showcase of new homes presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati, invites visitors to sample the decorative delights of many cultures.

        Beckoning from behind handsome brick and stone facades are interiors reminiscent of French country houses, Caribbean hideaways, tony Continental townhomes and palazzos.

        Homearama opens today and continues through June 25 at River's Bend, a Warren County golf development off Ohio 48 in Hamilton Township. On display are 17 decorated and landscaped homes, priced from $670,000 to $2.2 million. Eight of the homes are sold.

        Just a few minutes' stroll from the greens and sand traps of River's Bend's new Tournament Players Association course, traces of faraway places appear in a palm-themed West Indies room here, a wood-lavished pub room there, classic columns in formal rooms, extensive use of marble and sun-baked tile, Oriental serenity in floor plan and views.

  • What: Homearama 2000, sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati.
  • When: 4-11 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon-11 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, through June 25.
  • Where: River's Bend, Hamilton Township in Warren County. From downtown Cincinnati, take I-71 north to Exit 28 (Ohio 48). Go south about 11/2 miles on Route 48 and turn right on Winding River Boulevard to Homearama parking.
  • Tickets: $7 adults, children under 12 free with paying adult. Two-day pass: $12.
  • Information: (513) 851-6300;
        Furnishings, whether painted country French or elegant campaign-style pieces, carry out design themes while emphasizing comfort.

        “A nice flow and warmth is what you should feel in this house,” Jeff Olinger, owner of Pinnacle Building Group Inc., says of his French country-style “Provence,” his first Homearama project.“I wanted 91/2 out of every 10 visitors to say, "I could live here.'”

        Many houses contain entertainment rooms with state-of-the-art equipment. Other popular concepts include a children's homework/computer center and cozy spaces for family meals and together time.

        Color schemes at Homearama rely extensively on soothing earth tones, but there is ample use of rich colors like burgundy and mustard. A few homes showcase hot new colors — lavender, eggplant or pale green — in one or two rooms. Layered wall color and faux finishes are widely used, as are stenciled designs in subtle contrasting shades.

Chandelier in "Copperstone" by Hensley Homes Inc.
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        In several homes, design teams transformed powder rooms or closet spaces into decorative accents by the use of dramatic wall coverings and intriguing appointments. For instance, interior designer Jane Kurelis opted to use powder room space off the formal dining in Plantation Homes' “The Wynstone” for an exotic “snug,” or dining niche.

        A blend of textures in many homes' decor makes a tour a tactile experience. Rough tile or three-dimensional tile accents contrast with sleek granite or marble in baths and kitchen surfaces. Burnished satin finishes give faucets a very upscale appearance.

        “I want to hit you just below the level of awareness,” says Dennis Walker of Zicka Walker Homes Inc., pointing out various design details he hopes will make his house, “The Avenel,” stand out to visitors and potential buyers.

        For instance, he hired a lighting expert to illuminate the carved moldings in the home's great room.

        Future residents of this golf community will lack no culinary amenity. Designers have provided handsome and highly functional kitchen spaces which include top-of-the-line appliance brands Sub-Zero and Thermador. Some kitchens include temperature-controlled wine cabinets.

        Some Homearama 2000 highlights:

        • A two-story cherry paneled library, complete with spiral staircase and antler chandelier, in “Copperstone” by Hensley Homes Inc. and interior designer Ron Hammond of Lazarus. The room also features his and hers office nooks nestled among bookshelves.

        This home, the most expensive in the show at $2.2 million, is sold.

        • A paper collage called “Map Wall” in the study of Pinnacle Building Group's “Provence,” with interior decor by the Lazarus Interior Design Studio.

Pewter spirals decorate this bannister in "The Avanel."
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        • A curving wall of glass and wood paneling in the great room of Zicka Walker Homes' “The Avenel,” with interior design by Globe Furniture Galleries. Curves are used to good effect throughout the home's interior.

        • The circular sunrise window in Ray Murphy Homes' “Monet's Paint Box.” The house, with an architectural plan by Fx Studios and interior design by Christine Combs, also contains a two-story solarium and indoor waterfall.

        • The flexible use of space within a geometrical “Leonardo's Sedan,” also by Ray Murphy Homes. Fx Studios terms its arrangement of consolidated living spaces “nouveau practical.”

        The exotic home's “Hotel Master Suite” is public/private space that can be separate or opened by invitation. There's also first-floor “personal interest space” the architect envisions as anything from potting shed to auto bay.


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