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Design in the valley

Designer show houses are usually the domain of big cities and resort locales, but soon Turlock will join those ranks and see a show house unveiled that highlights the creations of designers from around the state, and raises funds for some local nonprofits.

The Christopher Kennedy Show House Central Valley is transforming a 1971 mid-century post-and-beam construction of approximately 3,200 square feet located on California Avenue in Turlock. The show house is sponsored by ASPIRE Design and Home magazine and led by national renowned designer Christopher Kennedy.

Kennedy was raised on California’s Central Coast and was inspired design-wise by the state’s modernism and the time he would spend with his father. 

“I am especially fond of afternoons in the pool,” Kennedy wrote on his website. “Because my father was older when he had me, at age 56, he retired when I was quite young. After my parents’ divorce I spent summers and winter holidays with him in the Bay Area. We would swim in the pool much of the day, happily doing laps and frolicking. We took road trips to Hearst Castle (where architecture and design first captured my attention), Big Sur, and the Oregon Coast. Monterey’s Concours d’Elegance car show was an annual tradition.”

The nostalgia of those days and times is reflected in Kennedy’s work and his overall design aesthetic.

“As I look at my body of work, after nearly 15 years in the design business, it becomes evident that I am decidedly nostalgic,” Kennedy wrote. “But I don’t feel that I am nostalgic for a certain architect, a certain form, or a certain chair. Rather, I am nostalgic for that simpler, more gracious time. I think that we as a society have a similar collective yearning.”

Kennedy started the decorator show house in Palm Springs in 2014 and the Christopher Kennedy Compound during Modernism Week in Palm Springs is widely regarded as one of the two most influential decorator show houses in the country.

“It is easy for Napa Valley, the Hamptons or Manhattan to have a show house,” Kennedy said. “But why not a thriving American town? We believe in giving a classic American city its day in the sun.”

Millen Joseph is the owner of the Turlock home and is serving as the project coordinator.

Christopher Kennedy

“This event will spotlight and highlight our Valley for the nation,” Joseph said.

Each room of the house will have a unique decor representing the work and aesthetics of the designer selected for that space, while keeping in step with the overall style of the home.

“Because I serve as the lead designer, I meet with the client and learn their tastes,” Kennedy said. “We develop a design palette and then the designs are filtered through me.

“For our home, we want it to be a beautiful home, but a real family is going to live there and enjoy it, so it needs to work for their lifestyle,” Kennedy said.

The show house is set to debut Oct. 5 and will be open for public viewing through Oct. 13. The funds raised from ticket sales to view the home will be donated to Dancing with the Turlock Stars, which will dispense the money to Jessica’s House, Covenant Care at Home Hospice and the Salvation Army.

Joining Kennedy in designing the home are: Kelli Ellis, Dawn McCoy, Justine MacFee, Kathleen Jennison, Max Humphrey, Dan Rak, Raili Clasen, Nicole Kasprzyk, Chris Reed and Mark Lytle. 

For more information and tickets visit