Posted on Sat, Jun. 19, 2004, Monterey Herald,
A room with 13-foot-tall bay windows on three sides sounds like a great thing to have, especially if you have spectacular views of Point Lobos and Stillwater Cove.
It was Connie Wyatt's least favorite room in the house.
The tall windows let in too much light and were difficult to cover with conventional draperies or shades. And then there were the electrical cords and connections that littered the spaces, thanks to her husband Cary's home office.
"It was an eyesore," said Connie Wyatt, recalling the way the room used to look.
The Pebble Beach couple's problems were solved, however -- with an SOS call to the popular cable TV show "Designers' Challenge."
A crew filmed concluding footage on the Wyatts' home last Tuesday. The show will air sometime this fall on the Home & Garden Television network (HGTV).
In "Designers' Challenge," three interior designers are selected to offer their solutions to a room dilemma. The homeowners choose one design, which is then implemented. Viewers at home get to see the process from start to finish during the one-hour show.
What makes this particular segment noteworthy is that it's being filmed in a location other than Southern California.
"When the show first started, it was all filmed in the L.A. area," said show producer Laura Patterson. "Last season, a few shows filmed outside the area were tested. This season, HGTV ordered 40 new traveling shows."
New Orleans and Hawaii were some of the other places picked; it's all meant "to give the show a new look," said Patterson, who works for Pie Town Productions.
"Each place has a style all its own... I know for Pebble Beach, they're really going to be playing up the destination," she said.
The Wyatts' son, who works in the television and film industry in Los Angeles, connected his parents with "Designers' Challenge" after hearing his mother's tales of woe about the room.
The Wyatts bought the five-bedroom French chateau four years ago and this room was the last one to get a makeover, mainly because Connie was stymied about what to do.
The two-story-high octagonal room had beautiful, huge windows, which needed to be shaded without covering up the Gothic detail at the top. The ongoing problem of the computer cords and equipment also had to be met.
In addition, the size and shape of the room, which had integral woodwork and a 16-foot vaulted ceiling, all made for intriguing design demands.
"Designers' Challenge" assigned three design teams to tackle the project. Chosen to make presentations were Robert Hale and Tom Williams of Hale-Williams Interiors of Carmel; Belinda Daguio of West Coast Interiors in Salinas; and Shane Reilly of Shane Reilly Interiors in San Francisco.
Each created a design plan and made their pitch to the Wyatts in February. Additional filming was done during the construction phase, and this week, the finished room was the focus.
Connie Wyatt said she at first feared she wouldn't like any of the three designs; after seeing them, she said to herself, "How am I going to make a choice? I like them all!"
But ultimately, the Wyatts went with Hale-Williams Interiors' ideas.
The shades that were suggested had a "theatrical draw" that suited the dramatic windows. A pulley system was created that ran through curved channels to hide the curtain cords.
As for the electrical cords, they were handled in the building of the desk and lateral file cabinets. In fact, all the computer equipment except for the screen was cleverly hidden.
Said Tom Williams, "The unsung hero of all this was Richard Lugo of Sunset Cabinetry in Pacific Grove. Working from my designs, he developed exactly how it would work, and he and Mr. Wyatt worked closely together on it."
Williams and Hale created a tawny gold color scheme with black accents -- "the colors of California in August" is how Williams puts it -- matching it to Western art on the walls that had belonged to Connie Wyatt's father.
The designers, homeowners and film crew cracked open a well-deserved bottle of champagne to celebrate the conclusion of the filming.
"We were thrilled," said
Williams. "It was just a great experience all the way around. It
was wonderful that 'Designers' Challenge' came to Pebble Beach."