Decorators’ Showcase

What is Decorators’ Showcase?

Decorators’ Showcase is an opportunity to proudly present a historic Kentucky home for public viewing and spotlight the diverse talent of Kentucky’s top interior and landscape designers. Since 1976, Showcase organizers have chosen designers to redecorate rooms and properties, highlighting the beauty of a selected show house.

This event holds high esteem in Lexington and surrounding counties as a tradition that has been passed on through generations. People come from a wide range of counties and social backgrounds to tour the Decorators’ Showcase. This highly coveted event allows people to see inside historic homes they would not normally get to see. The average attendance is 3,500 people. Typically, 200 people attend an organized Preview Party, which is the kick-off to the Decorators’ Showcase. The Preview Party takes place the evening before the house opens to the public for tours for a three-week period. All proceeds from the event go toward NHOA’s Bluegrass Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.

How is Decorators’ Showcase Preserving a Legacy?

The Decorators’ Showcase helps preserve Kentucky’s historic legacy one house at a time! Since 1976, the event has:

  • revitalized 23 prominent properties, reminding people of Kentucky’s rich history;
  • strengthened the legacy of prominent Kentucky families related to these properties; and
  • enhanced the resale value of properties (some of the homes sold as a result of revitalization by showcase decorators).

Previous Showcase Properties

1976    BIRCH NEST

1978    THE MANSION AT GRIFFIN GATE

1979    FAYWOOD ESTATE

1980    AUVERGNE

1981    SHADY LANE HOUSE

1982    BELL HOUSE

1984    LOUDOUN HOUSE

1985    WAVELAND

1986    MOUNT BRILLIANT

1988    CENTRE CITY CONDOMINIUMS

1989    MEADOWTHORPE MANSION

1991    FIREBROOK MANSION

1992    NORMANDY FARM MAIN HOUSE

1994    PINKERTON – ROUSE PLACE

1997    THE GRANGE

2000    SPENDTHRIFT FARM

2002    PROVIDENCE PLACE

2003    LA BELLE

2005    CORINTHIA

2007    ROSE HILL

2008    SHADY SIDE

2010    GLENLARY FARM

2012    HIGHLAND HALL

What is the History of the Decorators’ Showcase? 

The Decorators’ Showcase began in 1976 as a fundraiser for The Women’s Neighborly Organization (WNO). WNO was a group of local women who, in the mid-sixties, worked together to address some of the problems of poverty and racial inequality within Lexington’s inner city. The group’s activities included starting preschool programs and nursing home visitations. Many members had young children who often went along to “help Mommy teach.” As part of their generosity members made birthday cakes for nursing home residents and provided activities for the residents who otherwise would have none. 

As WNO expanded, the organization hired professional teachers, increasing the need for additional funds. During a trip to Atlanta, one member visited the local Decorators’ Showcase and suggested holding one in Lexington to raise funds. Somehow this grass-roots group of hard-working women who were accustomed to the hardships of the inner city managed to pull off a beautiful Decorators’ Showcase! Dr. and Mrs. Jim Stambaugh donated their lovely home, Birchnest for the inaugural event. WNO members met decorators, wrote programs, fixed fancy boxed lunches, cleaned the house and worked on the yard.  Many members had children who snacked on peanut butter sandwiches and played on the Showcase grounds. Due to all the hard work of the WNO members, the first Showcase was a huge success.

As WNO grew, members identified the need for improvements in the quality of life for local nursing home residents. WNO volunteers and community leaders worked together and founded the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency in 1981.  A small core of Ombudsmen was trained and began providing advocacy in local nursing homes.

A Showcase board of volunteers was established and when WNO decided to close its preschools, the Decorators’ Showcase became a project to benefit the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency.

It is always a pleasure to see some of the original volunteers at the Showcase. We never cease to be amazed and delighted that this wonderful project has continued for almost 40 years!  We think of all the nursing home residents who have benefited from it and the many designers and volunteers who continue to make the Showcase such a success and so much fun.

How Can I Get More Information?

For more information about the Decorators’ Showcase, or to discuss hosting a Showcase, please contact Laurie Clewett lclewett@ombuddy.org at 859-277-9215.