Royal Treatment

For three days, the world of interior design will revolve around the Miromar Design Center as the 2013 Home Design Show comes to town from February 14-16. With a jammed schedule of seminars, collection previews and showcase room presentations, the inspiration will be flowing for both season professional and novice decorator alike.


Highlights of this year’s event are sure to be:

  • The Dream Room Tour, a series of 16 exquisitely designed rooms in a variety of styles and techniques, showcasing an array of luxury furnishings and home accessories for just about every room in the house.
  • The Art Walk is a casual, map-guided tour of 11 galleries and showrooms featuring art and antiques with meet-and-greets with artists as well as gallery curators.
  • The Design Seminar Series will feature 17 design professionals and specialists, discussing some of the latest and greatest techniques and artistic movements in the industry. Each day has a full schedule of speakers, with keynote, Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, scheduled to speak on February 14 from 1-2 p.m. followed by afternoon tea and a book signing ($15 per person). Admission the Design Seminar Series is free and no reservations are required.
  • For those who love outdoor living, the Best of the Best Outdoor Living Event is the place for you. The design center’s atrium will transform into a giant lanai, showcasing the latest in outdoor furniture, the newest weather resistant fabrics, lighting, outdoor kitchens, and fire pits to name but a few. 
  • Take a break from high design each day for light sips and picnic-style eats at Lunch in the Lawn from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

For a complete schedule of events, please click here. Below, International interior designer Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, shares pieces of her extensive family history and offers her take on South Florida design.


Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill - Blenheim Palace- The Life of the House: How Rooms Evolve - Rizzoli

   International interior designer Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill brings history to life, through her family and her work.

   The eldest daughter of the eleventh Duke of Marlborough and a descendant of Sir Winston Churchill, she specializes in renovating historic British country homes, including her family’s estate, England’s prestigious Blenheim Palace.

   Spencer-Churchill also creates furnishing fabrics and wallpapers and has launched a furniture and home accessory collection for Maitland-Smith.

   She has published several books on interior design and her family history, and her eleventh tome, The Life of the House: How Rooms Evolve (Rizzoli), was released in October.

   Browse her new line at the Miromar Design Center in Estero, or, on February 14, meet her when she visits as the keynote speaker for its Home Design Show. She shared with NI pieces of her own history as well as her take on Naples design. 


NI: Can you give us a taste of what you’ll talk about in your lecture?

HS-C: I will be mainly talking about my new book, The Life of the House: How Rooms Evolve, which looks at how and why rooms have changed over the centuries from an architectural and social history point of view. I will touch on my family home, Blenheim, too, and will be happy to answer questions.


Can you tell us about the importance of this effort to preserve historic treasures in Great Britain from your perspective?

I work on many listed houses in Britain, and I have always tried to retain and respect the heritage of these great houses whilst at the same time making them practical for twenty-first century living. We restore architectural features where possible or replace them as close as possible to the original, and any new additions, whilst may be more contemporary in style, are carefully designed to blend with the old.


Your newest book, The Life of the House: How Rooms Evolve, illustrates the transition in design over the years. Which room do you think has changed the most and why?

I would say undoubtedly the kitchen, which was originally generally in an outhouse or annexe of the main house because of the risk of fire (and smells) and was little more than an open fire. Today, they are large, all-encompassing multifunctional rooms with sophisticated gadgets and technology. The bathroom has also changed but then didn't exist until much more recently.


If the walls of Blenheim Palace could talk, what would they say?

I think it would be like listening to an historical novel with lots of intrigue, drama, fun depicting the life of the different family generations and their guests over the last 300 years—i.e., a Blenheim Downton Abbey!


What is your favorite piece in your furniture line with Maitland-Smith and why?

I don’t really have a favourite, as all the pieces have a useful and decorative function. I do, however, like the sofa with buttoned back and seat, as it is very comfortable as well as elegant. I also love the new games table, which has great brass detail.


What other projects are you working on at the moment?

A large villa in Poland, an apartment in an historic palace in Vienna, a new build house in Jersey, various houses in London and the English countryside. I am about to design a rug collection for another U.S. company.


What is your impression of South Florida design and architecture?

I am interested in the electric architecture of [Addison] Mizner, [Maurice] Fatio and [Marion Sims] Wyeth, and I have visited some of the houses which they built. I think because it is largely a resort town, you can get away with the Moorish and different mix of European and Beaux Arts styles that have been applied. I also find some of the new build house very attractive.


Besides design, do you have any other great passions?

I love architecture and especially learning about different cultures and their influences. I also love antiques and artifacts and find it a shame that they have lost their appeal recently, especially amongst the younger generation. I also enjoy other travel and outdoor activities.


What is your favorite childhood memory?

Holidays in Scotland with family and friends, very much like Swallows and Amazons.


What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Visiting antiques fairs, historic houses, museums, walking, riding, photography, cooking and entertaining.


What quote inspires you?

“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”—from my ancestor Winston Churchill. 


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