Turn of the centuries design

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And the winner is …

While the students toured the Mount Vernon estate Wednesday, members of the Congressional Club — congressional spouses with design or architecture expertise — judged each room.

At the conclusion of a special Thursday luncheon, Alexa Hampton announced the winners. First place, UNCG for the Family Parlor. Second, George Washington University for the Dining Room. Third, UNCG again, for the downstairs Center Passage.

Perhaps better than the honors was the opportunity to talk with and give a tour to industry leaders such as noted designers Hampton and Barbara Hawthorn, both on hand.

Hampton, the competition's honorary chair, is one of Architectural Digest's Top 100 designers, DeLorbe noted. Designer Hawthorn is chair of the MADE: in America National Advisory Council.

Both were very encouraging, very complimentary, Leimenstoll said. “Definitely some networking the students would not normally be engaged with.”

DeLorbe marveled at what this meant for the students as they neared graduation. “They're making industry contacts. They're making showroom contacts. They're making design professional contacts,” DeLorbe explained. Plus they are pioneers. “No Historic Trust house has ever allowed something like this to happen. These kids are the first…” And consider what this does for their portfolio, he added.

And yes, the Washington Post wanted to do a feature.

Leimenstoll recalled Hampton commenting, “I can't believe how poised your students are.” Ashley Wilson and Hellman were complimentary as well.

DeLorbe said, “We have been so impressed with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. They are rivaling anything that professional designers do at the very high end.”

This would be considered a “super-high-end project,” he noted. “This is an Architectural Digest-like project level and they met that challenge, which is unbelievable.”

Chancellor Linda P. Brady hosted a luncheon for a number of UNCG alumni the next day.

Paul Sherrill, a successful designer in the DC area, was among the alumni — a delight for Leimenstoll who'd had taught him 25 years ago. Ashley Boycher '10, who received her MS in interior architecture with a concentration in museum studies and is associate exhibition designer at the Walters Art Museum, was there as well. Nicole Ware and Lauren Postlmayr spoke, and the students showed off their work in another tour.

On the Family Parlor mantel, teapots rest under prints of Thomas Day woodworking. On the Family Parlor mantel, teapots rest under prints of Thomas Day woodworking. The judges loved that the teapots were tarnished.

The UNCG group had learned some things the judges loved. “The jury was impressed with the little touches that gave it personality,” Leimenstoll said, such as the stencil motifs in the parlor that were derived from the stair stringer bracket design.

The tea pots on the mantle were a hit too. “They loved that they were tarnished.”

Other rooms got great remarks as well. Alexa Hampton said the Linen Room with the large map was her favorite, Leimenstoll noted. And the judges remarked on the details in Ellie's Room — “her sketching, painting, books — the pot of nail polish.”

And the 17 pillows. Most were created by the students, led by Postlmayr with her “great organizational skills.”

The professor reflected on special contributions by each of her students. “Each had strengths that complemented each other.”

“What made me proudest? It pulled into a package that reflected our teamwork.

“We all planned this.”

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