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Celebrity interior designers showcase skills at World Market Center show

Television celebrities and designers, including one based in Las Vegas, combined forces and showcased the latest trends in interior design during this week’s World Market Center winter home furnishings’ show.

The group included Las Vegas designer Kimberly Joi McDonald, immediate past national president of the Interior Design Society, and celebrity interior designer Donna Moss of Dallas, who’s hosted several shows on HGTV in recent years, including 30 episodes of “Donna Decorates Dallas.” The others were former HGTV host Sabrina Soto and Bravo TV’s “Real Housewives of New York” alum Jill Zarin, who have a rug collection through Unique Loom displayed in the home.

The group did a temporary staging in a new 10,000-square-foot, two-story modern home in the historic area near the World Market Center. It was also on display during last week’s International Builders’ Show and companion shows in Las Vegas.

The concept originated from Mike Brenesell, a partner at KNB Associates of Las Vegas, which specializes in projects of staging homes to display during such shows where manufacturer clients display products that include speakers, plumbing fixtures, tile and countertops, paint, appliances, wood flooring, ceiling fans, furniture, cabinets and other decor.

McDonald said the partnership with Moss happened when the two met in Dallas in 2018 and Moss expressed her desire to do a showhouse in Las Vegas. Brenesell reached out to McDonald about doing a showhome, and that led to their collaboration.

“It started about staging one room, and that led to the whole home,” McDonald said. “This can show people what design can be like in Las Vegas. Although this home is modern minimalist, it is still very warm, and what makes it warm are neutral backgrounds with pops of color, the quality and texture. People are paying attention to function, and it drives more than beauty and aesthetics. We made sure there’s no compromise in beauty for adequate function and comfort. It has the nuances and vibrancy indicative of Las Vegas without hitting you over the head with a slot machine or neon sign.”

Moss brought a camera crew with her to film for Home Design TV (HDTV) a web-based television network that’s she’s launching this year. The Las Vegas display will be part of a series called “Best of Show.”

“This gives people a chance to visualize what a home would look like with our furniture in it,” said Moss, who described what she and McDonald did as “design a sophisticated modern minimalist, Zen, organic and tranquil compound, artfully coupled with bold, unexpected components reminiscent of Las Vegas vibrancy and show home worth flair, all within a sustainable home of state-of-the-art technologies.”

What viewers will see is four guest bedrooms and one master bedroom in the main house and a bedroom in a casita in the rear. The upstairs has a loft with a pool table and sitting area. That overlooks an open-air kitchen, dining room and great room.

Moss said interior design is not about one size fits all but what fits each homeowner’s style and budget. In their showhome, the designers selected every piece of furniture, paintings and other art that depict the latest trends and style.

In this case, the design aesthetic started at an informal dining room table with the selection of chairs made of seat belt leather and a live-edge wood table that’s growing in popularity. Overlooking the great room from above is a sculpture of a horse with small pieces of metal welded together.

“That started the inspiration for designing the home,” said Moss, while a wire sculpture of a person sitting at the end of the kitchen table was nearby.

The furniture trend as visible at the dining room table is mix-and-match, Moss said. People don’t want all the chairs around the table the same. In his case, it’s about putting styles together that work well. There was a leather industrial chair that was black compared to the blue seat belt chairs.

“The trendline is finding unique things that are still comfortable and usable,” Moss said. “It’s about function but about the beauty as well.”

The trendline for interior design when it comes to luxury homes is “everything is modern,” Moss said. But modern can come across as cold, and warmth has to be built into it, she said.

“You’re getting so far from traditional,” Moss said. “You are seeing a move to a clean, crisp, modern feel with pops of color. People are taking it to another level. Five years ago, this room might have been all beiges, grays and browns, but we’re adding pops of color, unique items and unexpected pieces. You wouldn’t normally expect to see a piece of driftwood molded out of resin.”

They used neutral-colored walls that are white with an accent of gray, Moss said.

“The white and gray walls have been popular for about five years and still trending,” Moss said. “We’re now starting to see a blend of grays and beiges.”

The floor is hardwood, but the house has many rugs with different styles. Moss said mottled rugs — those with spots of color — are popular in case a pet has an accident. There’s even a shag rug, which Moss said is on the verge of coming back.

In the bedroom, there are oversized paintings that lean against the wall from the floor rather than being hung. The art in the home is varied with a painting made of ground up meteor dust. Organic materials, including the use of quartz and crystal, are popular even in smaller sculptures on tables.

“People like natural in today’s society,” Moss said. “They want to feel like they are connected to the earth in some form.”

That’s the same with the lighting, which isn’t traditional either. There are stainless steel fixtures in shapes such as a galaxy showing several solar systems and pendants.

“People like it because it’s different,” said Sam Nia, owner of Instyle Gallery of Los Angeles, which supplied the lighting. “It’s unique that you don’t see everywhere. The normal lighting is chandeliers in most homes. This is stylish and fits with a large contemporary house.”

Some of the sculptures cost more than $15,000, which isn’t unusual because many people who live in a multimillion-dollar home tend to collect art, Moss said.

“A lot of people who have this type of home want to display their art,” Moss said. “Many are collectors, and they like a lot of wall space. Because there are a lot of windows, we had to be creative to put up the art.”

More people are applying slate veneers, a natural stone, to walls in 24-by-48-inch panels. The home also has stainless steel tiles that are unlike ceramic or porcelain tiles that people have traditionally used.

“You mix the metal with the wood to give it a softer feel,” Moss said.

The trendline in the bathroom is the use of Alexa to give commands such as turning on the shower. The home also has a sliding barn-door effect to use in the bathroom to be different.

There are wider doors of more than three feet in the home to make it feel more opulent.

Upstairs, there’s a combination of pink and black with chairs and rugs, but art dominates with a mix of colors and a hand sketch of a woman covered in crystals.

“The trend up there is a mix of concrete and acrylic, so you have the hard and soft,” Moss said, pointing to a concrete table with an acrylic base. “It is the yin and yang of putting together unexpected materials. Not many people can visualize how you can make them work. You have to build them.”

Moss said acrylic is more affordable. She pointed to her coffee table, which costs about $3,000 but previously would be double the price.

Not everything in a luxury home, however, needs to be expensive, Moss said.

The upstairs sofa is $2,500 compared to someone paying $10,000. Coffee tables priced at $300 are suitable in a luxury home, she added.

“I shop at Target and Kmart, but I also shop at Niemann Marcus,” Moss said. “We wanted to show in a house, if you find a good quality company that has more affordably priced furniture, you can mix and match it.”

Zarin, who has a rug in the casita, said the trend is toward colors like brick. She said rooms without much color need it to be showcased in rugs and pillows. Some rugs even look like pieces of art.

“Rugs are becoming more colorful because they need to add life to the room,” Zarin said. “You take the pillows to match the rug. Wall-to-wall carpeting is used less because people like area rugs because they are easier to manage, clean and replace. The trend is to be more affordable so you can replace them like pillows. That way they’re an accessory instead of a seven-year investment.”

The average size is 9 by 12 feet, said Zarian, and people want something soft and warm on their feet throughout the home when they have hardwood floors or ceramic tile.

Choosing rugs that are pet and child proof is important, so people buy hydrophobic fabric, where stains come out. Zarin said she spent $5,000 on a designer rug that was ruined when it got a few stains.

Quality indoor rugs can be affordable and only cost $600, while outdoor ones $300, Zarin said.

Soto said the trend for outdoor rugs like hers at the home is away from ones that are stiff to ones that are soft to the touch and can even be used indoors. Stain-resistant material, even for the outdoors, is important, she said.

Rugs are important because the outdoors should be a transition from the inside to ground the space and bring texture and comfort, Soto said.

“When you are lounging with friends and having a cocktail outside, it’s nice to have a soft setting rather than concrete,” Soto said. “It adds that homey living room space on the outside. People are using indoor outdoor rugs on the inside because they are so easy to clean and versatile. People don’t want to spend a ton of money on a rug in the family room, especially if they have young children.”

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