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Behind the Scenes - Galerie Showhouse
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Behind the Scenes - Galerie Showhouse

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Design by: Josh Greene Design  | @joshgreenedesign

We are excited to bring you this exclusive behind the scenes look at Josh Greene’s dreamy primary bathroom designed for Galerie magazine’s Sag Harbor House of Art + Design, which was open to the public this past August 2021. Our hope is that the details shared here will help inform and prepare you for your own show house experience.

When Galerie asked you to participate, what was your initial reaction?

How do I get out of this?! Haha. I was not looking to do a show house as this year has been super busy but when the editor-in-chief asked me to design the primary bathroom, I couldn’t say no. I decided to use it as a deadline to force me to finish the design of these medicine cabinets I am making, which are produced by Dowel.

When they approached you, did they have a specific room in mind for you to design, or was there a back and forth on which room you'd be responsible for?

Basically it was assigned to me, which is often the case in show houses. But it was a prominent room, so I felt honored.

A bathroom is definitely a specific space within the home — is it a space you look forward to designing?

I do love designing bathrooms. They’re more technical in that you have to draw everything in elevation and order plumbing parts that are buried in the wall, for example. The elements are really fixed and the materials are permanent, I really enjoy that. It’s a more precise design process than other rooms that are mostly soft furnishings that can evolve forever.

Bathrooms do present an interesting scenario when it comes to show houses. Some show houses aren’t owned by a homeowner, others are. With this particular show house, the owners of the home were involved at the periphery of the process. They were asked to approve certain things like tile and the positioning of the fixtures in the bathroom, which makes sense. It’s quite an endeavour to move around plumbing once the show house is over.

How long did you have, from the initial Galerie 'invitation to participate' to 'showtime'/ opening day?

It was pretty quick, I started in late April and the house was completed by end of July. That in and of itself is fairly quick for any project but this was an entire house with multiple bathrooms, kitchens, a pool, landscaping – it was truly a miracle. The developer, Building Details, really knocked it out of the park. My bathroom had to be designed really quickly because we had to close up walls for the plumbing and the stone and tile. So I didn’t have a lot of runway at the beginning for design development. It was a mad dash!

How do you decide which vendors you want to specify from?

This show house had three lead vendor sponsors, so I wanted to choose products from those sponsors as a starting off point. One of the sponsors was Native Trails Home, which had a tub I absolutely loved--so that was an easy selection to make. They were able to make the tub in a beautiful Ash finish that suited the bathroom perfectly.

Next came outreach beyond the sponsoring vendors. I leaned mostly on existing relationships. I reached out to sales reps I’d worked with in the past, who usually put me in touch with brands’ marketing teams. I also did some direct outreach to marketing teams. The geometric tile, for example, came from a vendor I’d never worked with before--Complete Tile. They actually ended up becoming a sponsoring vendor of the show house.

There was also a list of brands who wanted to be a part of the show house and were willing to donate product for free. I sourced from that list too. That’s how I selected the vanity from Florense USA. They were so wonderful to work with, I’m working with them now on another residential project.

How does the budgeting work? Did you have a budget to work with from Galerie or were all the materials and work effectively donated for the show house?
It was a mix--some things were donated, some things we had a budget for. Some things we had to absorb. For example, I elected to give the medicine cabinets to the homeowners rather than pay to have them removed and the wall patched up. When show houses are owned by actual homeowners who use the property, they’ll sometimes purchase product they love after the show house finishes up.
Designing a show house is a big commitment for a designer — how many hours would you say you devoted to this project. What were your "KPIs" so to speak and did you feel you achieved your goals?
Because of Covid, you couldn’t just swing open the doors and invite as many people as you wanted. Visiting was more measured and controlled. For me, because I had the medicine cabinet project test run, it was worth it. Overall, the room is gorgeous, I got to work with great vendors, got some good photographs and strengthened my relationship with Galerie. So it was a win-win for me.
After this experience, would you do a show house again?
It’s sort of like a red-eye flight: after you land, you swear you’ll never take one again. But after some time passes, you forget and then book one.