STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
What’s your home improvement resolution this year?
You’re in good company. Last year, thousands of people dropped by the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City over the two-weekend Philly Home Show seeking ideas and advice. The 2017 show runs Jan. 13-16 and 20-22.
“There’s definitely a place to get inspiration and a place to get a project started,” commented Philly Home Show manager Alyson Caplan.
This year the star power comes from HGTV and DIY Network’s Matt Muenster Jan. 13-15, and Vern Yip of TLC’s “Trading Spaces,” NBC’s “Home Intervention,” HGTV and HGTV Magazine Jan. 20-21.
In a phone interview, Muenster, host of the show “Bath Crashers,” estimated that he’s remodeled 220 bathrooms on TV over the last nine years. “The best part is the reveal (to the homeowners),” he said.
A restaurant and casino interior designer turned bathroom design trailblazer, who insists that beige tile does not belong in the bathroom, Muenster said that among the topics he’ll cover in his presentations will be ways to make your bathroom as big as you can, and how a fireplace or a refrigerator can be a lavatory amenity.
“I know my style is very modern, but I’m open to a more traditional design for a homeowner if that’s what they like,” said Muenster, who encouraged visitors to come to the home show with questions for him when he takes the stage at 7 p.m. Jan. 13, 2 and 5 p.m. Jan. 14, and 1 p.m. Jan. 15.
Believe it or not, he said that countertop glass vessel bowl sinks are going out of style because of functionality issues. “They never drain … you can’t clean the countertop,” said Muenster, who predicted that gold and brass fixtures will make a comeback.
Other how-to presentations include “Preparing for, and Living through, Your Remodel,” “Organizing before Your Move,” “How to DIY Green” and power tool workshops for women. Check www.phillyhomeshow.com.
Besides having more than 300 exhibitors, designers, contractors and other remodeling resources under one roof, the Philly Home Show is also a place to learn about design and decor trends, such as sustainable flooring materials and upcycling. Area do-it-yourselfers will be flexing their creative muscles during the fifth annual Habitat for Humanity UpCycle Challenge. This year’s challenge is to create a statement decorative piece out of wood pallets. The works will be displayed on the show floor, and you can vote for your favorite. The UpCycle Challenge pieces will then be auctioned off to benefit Habitat for Humanity.
Interactive highlights include a “Live a More Sustainable Life @ Home with IKEA” display featuring eco-friendly design ideas that are either high tech or no-tech. Another is “Designing for the Senses,” by K Gallery Art + Design and The Painted Home, with two different home theater rooms outfitted for an immersive experience beyond just pleasing the eye.
Designer Tommi Mischell of K Gallery Art + Design said that her room will have two of “the most comfortable recliners you could sit on and watch TV,” posters advertising a forthcoming short film featuring Kathrine Narducci from “The Sopranos,” a stereo system from a partner company of hers in Cherry Hill, a popcorn machine, and “of course there’s going to be wine tasting the nights of the show.”
And did you ever imagine that designing your own sofa was a way to stay within your budget? Mischell will have a paper handout for you to start thinking about what your dream sofa would look and feel like. “I’m presenting my own brand of sofa/sectional sleeper. It’s very colorful. It’s almost like a rebellion to winter. I call it ‘My Blossom.’ The idea is for attendees to ‘create your own blossom.’ It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Mischell said.
“I feel like when you’re designing, you’re thinking of the five senses anyway,” said Denise Sabia of the Ambler-based The Painted Home. Her room will feature remote control lighting; a color scheme with grays, browns, blacks and tans that she described as having a monochromatic look; a 72-inch TV; a “giant sectional” with faux fur pillows and handmade throw blankets; plus a cowhide rug.
Sabia’s inspiration was: “What would me and my three kids love?”
Get hands-on with new Make-it, Take-it workshops with local bloggers, crafters and designers. “This is something we started last year. It’s wildly popular,” Caplan said.
If you plan to drive to the home show, Caplan recommended parking for free at the South Philly Ikea store at 2206 S. Columbus Blvd., and taking the Philly Phlash to the convention center.
Also, on Martin Luther King Day, Jan. 16, all retired and active military, nurses, first responders, firefighters and teachers will receive one free ticket with ID.