After Losing Magazine Partner, Showtime House Returns With Technology

By Courtney Thompson September 10, 2010, 12:28 PM EDT

Photo: Emily Gilbert for B

As they say, the show must go on. And Showtime's Show House did, too: After successful outings in a Gramercy Park townhouse and a sprawling Tribeca Penthouse, the cable network opted to host its third incarnation of the designer-driven Show House, this time without Metropolitan Home as a partner, since the magazine folded in December.

Running through October 27, the event is taking over three penthouses and the rooftop of Midtown's Cassa Hotel and Residences. The new location, along with the addition of two new shows to promote (The Borgias and The Big C) and a new roster of 24 designers and architects, required some changes. Still, Larry Kieran, Showtime's vice president of promotions, partnerships, and licensing activation, added yet another element to the mix. “I wanted to show how high design and cutting-edge technology can be integrated into everyday spaces,” he said. “I wanted guests to interact with the spaces through sight, sound, and movement to heighten the overall experience.”

As in years past, the Show House had two design teams create rooms inspired by seven Showtime series, including Dexter, Nurse Jackie, Weeds, United States of Tara, and Californication. This resulted in two interpretations—often wildly different in size and scope—for each program.

The Dexter Refuge designed by Jeff Andrews, for example, was a dungeon-esque room created as a “space for Dexter to go if he didn't have to hide,”  Andrews said. The room included a cowhide carpet fragmented into pieces ”like Dexter's mind,” according to Andews, as well as a jar of detached baby arms, a massive bed hanging from the ceiling, and the children's book A Drop of Blood adorning a table. Next door in the Dexter Gaming Room, Gregory Okshteyn of Studios GO created a massive white piece modeled using animation software similar to that used to create the Dexter game application for the iPhone. Comprised of 1,100 pieces of white lacquered medium density fiberboard, the chair was inspired by “surgical tools, body parts, and fear,” Okshteyn said.

The house had a pair of Met Home vets on board, too. After the magazine's special projects editor, Samantha Nestor, and vice president of development, Christie Boyle, who had worked on the Show House since its inception, were left without jobs last winter, they formed Chrysanthemum Partners, with the hopes of producing show homes. For Showtime, the duo picked up where they left off, sourcing new designers, scouting locations, and reeling in media and technology partners like Wired, The New Yorker, CNet, HP, Toshiba, and Optima.

“This is a program where entertainment and lifestyle are intricately connected,” Nestor said. “As producers, we get to create livable theater. With the designers, I play the role of part mother hen, part sorority mom, a little bit of tough love in thereI buy the pizzas when everyone is on deadline.”

In addition to being open to the public on Saturdays for $15 tours through October 23, the Show House is also available for private events for a $13,000 rental fee, which includes cleanup and security. Private events already booked in the space include a Fashion's Night Out party for Jason Wu this Friday, an American Cancer Society fund-raiser, a rooftop party for Time Out New York, and several New Yorker events.

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