Firehouse Party: Inside The 2022 Kaleidoscope Project Showhouse

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Much as a kaleidoscope can allow people to see the world in colorfully complex new ways, the Kaleidoscope Project is helping the design community find new ways to appreciate the contributions of BIPOC designers. Hospitality and commercial designer Amy Lynn founded the institution less than two years ago. “It’s important because our design industry—which is supposed to be all about color—was not inclusive or diverse,” she says. One area where she saw a distinct lack of inclusivity is among showhouses; so, she decided to create some. For their 2022 Firehouse Showhouse, she teamed with developer David Carver to revitalize a firehouse from 1906. Then, she invited BIPOC designers from Gray Space Interiors, the Austin Gray Design Group, Everick Brown Design, and Toledo Geller Interiors to unleash their imaginations—with each team taking a unit behind the classic firehouse façade.

The project would prove tricky as the firehouse is one of the oldest in Western Massachusetts. As an added challenge, the goal was to make the units available as affordable housing after the showhouse tours were completed in September. But both the organizers and designers persevered—and the irrepressible designer David Santiago helped document the project. Ultimately, Lynn says that the effort is worthwhile for both the BIPOC designers and the design community as a whole. “As an industry, if we were going to be at our best and show off our best, then we have to show off everybody,” she explains. “And that’s why the Kaleidoscope Project was founded: to let other voices be heard.”

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GRAY SPACE INTERIORS
Rasheeda Gray’s rooms have camera-ready polish. The bedroom shines in lush gold and green, while a dazzling geometric wallcovering is an explosion of sprightly green, pink and orange. Comfortable-yet-elegant furnishings round out the picture.

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AUSTIN GRAY DESIGN GROUP
Denise Gordon and Tanya Lewis joined forces with fellow designer Marilyn LaVergne for this transformation. Their statement art pops powerfully—on its own in the bath or in the living room among furniture upholstered in fabrics that beg to be touched. Meanwhile, a carefully curated collection of books and accessories lends an air of thoughtful sophistication.

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EVERICK BROWN DESIGN
Lisa and Everick Brown are a husband-and-wife team, in which she tends to lean toward the business end while he keeps his eye on design. In this elegantly appointed suite, the ultra-restrained palette of blacks, whites and neutrals soothe the eye. But they also take some big swings, with bold art in the bedroom and a delightful chandelier gracing the dining area.

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VIRGINIA TOLEDO
Toledo traces the inspiration for her unit back to the firemen who originally worked there. But starting with a heady concept does not stop Toledo from delivering fun and feisty designs—from a symphony of pinks and browns in this dramatic bedroom to the peppy print spicing up the walls of the bathroom. The vibe manages to feel fresh even as it incorporates throwbacks to beloved midcentury modern themes.

Photography by Tim Cree.

aspire design and home would like to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to the sponsors of this year’s Kaleidoscope Project Showhouse: Fisher and Paykel, Fiber-Seal Northeast, Sherrill Furniture, Universal Furniture, Arhaus, Circa Lighting, Currey & Company, Benjamin Moore, Neolith, Cosentino, Crossville, and The Shade Store.

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