Early spring in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, looked a lot like winter this year. Like most Floridians (64%, according to one article I just read), I was not born here in the Sunshine State. I moved to Florida in college, deciding after just one semester studying in New England, that I would pursue sunny weather and a degree in Interior Design over cold, gray winters and an English major. Looking back, maybe not all the decisions I made at 19 turned out to be wise, but for me, this one sure did!
I grew up in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, mostly in Bucks County, which is immediately Northeast of Philly. Founded in 1682, Bucks County is old by American standards, full of historic architecture in both urban and rural contexts, and the visual clash between history and modernity more common to this part of the country. Revisiting Bucks County now, with the eyes of the Floridian, interior designer I have become (so accustomed to relatively new construction, and a whole different set of architectural styles) is a fascinating experience for me.
From a more mature perspective, I can now appreciate the impact of my roots on the designer I have become, a permanent part of my artistic origin, when I come here. I feel lucky to have this wide visual vocabulary to draw from in my work.
With a short time to spare between family visits, I took a walk one chilly day in Newtown specifically to research details of shutters. (Shutters, real ones! Fellow Floridians, I know you understand why this might be exciting)
These exteriors have so much texture and character. There's nothing quite like a real, natural stone exterior cut and laid by human hands.
While on my walk, appreciating (nerding out on) stone exteriors and shutter details, I happened upon the Newtown showroom location of Hamilton Building Supply. What a great place to get lost in for a while.
So here's my plan. Some wonderful, future client is going to hire Angela Rodriguez Interiors to come design a beautiful custom interior somewhere in the Philadelphia area, and when I return I will most definitely be back to this fantastic place here as a resource.
Some standouts included this area clad in black painted, Boral siding which would be great for a humid area, and also the deep, foresty color palette of this kitchen display. The color palettes of the finishes chosen for the showroom displays were so earthy and rich, unlike what we usually get to work with in Florida, but were always contrasted with white to keep the feeling fresh and current. As a designer it's fun for us to explore different regional palettes and inspirations.
This display kitchen at Hamilton Building Supply featured a contemporary hood design finished in white Venitian plaster and antique brass trim. The placement of the square downlight above accentuates the mottled reflectivity of the plaster.
This is clever. We're always trying to balance TVs into beautiful room designs, which can be a challenge since when the TV is turned off, boom, there's a big black rectangle just drawing your eye right to it. So we've done the TV behind motorized art, TV that disappears into an electric mirror, TV that becomes art, and now this motorized display gives me all kinds of inspiration for TVs hidden in wall paneling. Nice!
It was a fun, inspiring little break in my day before I was off to my next family member's house for some quality time. Having lived in Florida now for a little over 15 years, I get to take a fresh look whenever I come "back to my roots" in the Northeast and appreciate each different design style, palette, character in its own right. One thing I did not appreciate though... the cold. Also the wind, and the rain. Nope, nope, nope. 2018 did not get the memo that it was supposed to be springtime.
I also had a few Instagrammy moments: appreciating the sporadic signs of Spring here and there; hiding out indoors with something warm to drink on a cold, gray afternoon; stopping for a quick visit to my former high school and checking to see if the undersea mural I painted nearly 20 years ago is still there- it was! Foreshadowing of the decision to relocate to a sunny, coastal climate, I am sure.
Cheers to Spring!