Designing for a Cause

Arkansas Symphony Designer House

Photography by Richard Rasmussen

Photography by Richard Rasmussen

Hey Sandy!

My friends and I are so excited that it is time for the Arkansas Symphony Designer House again! We always enjoy touring the home and seeing what the designers have done to it.

We are all big fans of yours and spend lots of time in your room taking in the

details. Then we discuss it over a delicious lunch and on the entire trip back to Hot Springs.

We are curious as to how the process works — how do you become a part of the house? Are you given the freedom to do as you like to your space, or do they give you restrictions? And is the homeowner involved?

Thanks for representing Hot Springs in style!


Dear Jane,
Thank you and your friends for supporting such a wonderful cause. The Arkansas Symphony Guild works tirelessly to raise awareness to the public and promote the many programs the Symphony offers. And who doesn’t enjoy viewing a beautiful home?

You have brought up a question that I have been asked many times over my long history of being a Symphony House Designer.

There is a board/committee that discusses what designers they would like to include. This is typically based on the designers’ experience, because they want designers who are well known so they can draw a crowd. After all, it is most importantly about raising money.

Once they have created their list of designers they invite them to tour the home so each designer can select the room that he/she wishes to design.

As far as restrictions, they pretty much leave it to the designer’s discretion. Personally, I always meet with the homeowner and share my vision with them on my space. I consider this a courtesy and I always love to see their reaction to the plan. This year the homeowner is so excited about our area, she said she wants it all.

Once I arrive at a design scheme, I begin the process of selecting all the furnishings, art, rugs, window treatments and all the other details that will go into the room. The next step is measuring every detail of the room, right down to where the electrical outlets are placed. This is the key to furniture scale and placement. I meet with electricians, floor people, the window treatment workroom and any other trade I will need to complete my design plan. As I always say, “you are only as good as those that surround you!” I am blessed to have an excellent design assistant who really brings a lot to the table.

After the design is complete, the parties begin. First is The Bare Bones Party, which is a great event for guests to see the empty space and study the designers’ color boards. The color boards show the designer’s inspiration and vision for their area.

The next day the designers take possession of their rooms and the fun begins. This culminates with the grand Crescendo Party. Guests arrive to see the house completed before it opens to the public the next day.
I hope I have been able to solve this puzzle for you. Let me know the day you and your friends plan to tour so I can be there! The dates are April 15 through May 8.

See you there!


Photography by Mara Kuhn

Photography by Mara Kuhn

Roasted Asparagus and Mushroom Carbonara

Serves four
• 1 pound asparagus, cleaned and cut in bite-size pieces
• 8 oz. mushrooms, quartered
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Salt and pepper
• 8 oz. fettuccine
• 4 oz. pancetta
• 2 eggs
• 1 clove garlic, chopped
• 1/2 cup parmigiana regains, grated
• Lots of fresh cracked pepper
• Chopped parsley
Toss asparagus and mushrooms in olive oil; add salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet to roast at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. Cook the pasta. Cook the pancetta and pour off grease, saving one tablespoon, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Mix the egg, cheese, pepper, salt and parsley in bowl. Drain the cooked pasta, reserving some of the water. Mix the pasta and egg mixture with the roasted veggies and the pancetta. Add a little reserved pasta water, then top with the cheese and parsley.

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