Brimming with creatives and craftspeople and graced with a housing stock that runs the gamut from 17th-century Dutch Colonial through just about every American architectural movement right up to the cutting edge of Modernist design, it should come as no surprise that the Hudson Valley—and, in particular, bursting-at-the-seams Kingston—is emerging as a national center for interior design. This fact will be on full display October 11-26, when the second annual Kingston Design Showhouse takes over a 19th-century brick Italianate on Clinton Avenue. A collaboration between almost 20 designers, along with furniture makers, artists, contractors, and a few BOCES students, this year's showhouse offers 16 distinct takes on contemporary design.
"Hudson Valley designers have a very idiosyncratic point-of-view," she says. "For example, a ceramicist up here doesn't just make their own ceramics—they mix their own colors, they make their own wheel, sometimes even their own kiln. It's all about coming from a very natural space, going back to traditional modes of work, and pulling the best from the traditional and incorporating it with new ideas."
Damour's interest in interior design was sparked nearly 20 years ago, when she bought her first house—a fixer-upper in Kingston's Rondout district."It was only about 1,500 square feet, but I had to choose paint and find furniture," she recalls. "Interior design just hadn't been on my radar before that."
She began reading design magazines and researching how to fix up her space. She has long since sold the clapboard house (she now lives in a former fishing cottage converted into a full-time, winterized residence on the Esopus Creek), but that experience began her trajectory as a designer, eventually leading her to enroll in Parsons School of Design and move to Kingston full-time in 2015, when she partnered with contractor Fred Drake to found Damour Drake.
Three years into the venture, Damour had attended countless design showcases throughout the area and met a diverse array of makers, artists, contractors, and creatives. Over and over she heard different versions of the same sentiment: "It would be great to be part of a connected design community."
"My brain is always thinking about collaboration and connection," she says. After researching showhouses in major metropolitan cities around the country, she came up with the idea for the Kingston Design Showhouse as a platform to "collaborate and showcase the breadth and depth of design/build services in the Hudson Valley."
Amanda Sanchioni (House Color, Front Facade)
Ana Claudia Schultz (Dining Room)
Michael Cox, Foley & Cox (Front Parlor)
Kingston Design Showhouse will run October 11-26 at 302 Clinton Avenue, Kingston. Want to stay here? The historic home is listed on AirBnb as The Wiltwyck. Kingstondesignconnection.com