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NUTS & BOLTS / PATRICK MOTT

Celebrities Get Room Service at Show

August 15, 1992|PATRICK MOTT

Please tell me you've had this dream, so I won't feel like a borderline psychotic:

You're walking around in an unfamiliar neighborhood --someplace in Pakistan, say--and you turn a corner and there you are on your own street. And before you is your own house. And you don't recognize any of the neighbors. But they seem to recognize you. They smile and say hello. Rod Serling steps out of the bushes to shake hands.

And you sit up in bed, gasping, and promise yourself that you'll never eat a bowl of your own chili before bedtime ever again.

Yep, it's bizarre, all right. Colleen Williams is going to have to trust me on that one, because it's going to happen to her today. Her experience at the Southern California Home and Garden Show at the Anaheim Convention Center may not hew exactly to my nocturnal scenario, but she's almost surely in for a powerful blast of deja vu. Williams, one of KNBC's local news anchors, is one of four celebrities who are having rooms designed for them at the home show by Orange County interior designers.

Along with Williams, actor David Birney, former Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo and mystery novelist Elizabeth George were visited recently by the design pros, all members of the American Society of Interior Designers, who surveyed a particular room in each of their houses with an eye to redesigning them or to assembling furniture and design elements for a particular use.

The transformed rooms will be re-created--or seen for the first time--at the home show.

So, about 11 this morning, Williams is going to stroll through the institutional crush and din of the home show, past spa displays, pest control booths and hot dog stands and enter . . . her own music room.

Or at least Dawn Piel's and Joan Grundeman's vision of her music room. What the two designers, from the Laguna Hills firm of Design Profiles, found when they visited Williams' Pasadena home was a bright, airy, tasteful room off the entryway that exuded music like Tom Lasorda exudes ballet.

OK, it has a stereo and a lot of CDs in it, but it also houses an unmistakable collection of Air Force memorabilia--plane models, photographs, a pilot's helmet and oxygen mask--that is common and dear to every pilot. The items belong to Williams' husband, Jon Dudley, an Air Force pilot Williams met while covering the Persian Gulf War.

However, the gear isn't exactly aesthetically congruent with Chopin. So, says, Williams, it'll get a room of its own once the music room materializes.

Whether it materializes in Piel and Grundeman's incarnation won't be decided, says Williams, until she shows up at the home show this morning and sees it for the first time. Though she consulted with Piel and Grundeman, she says her decorating tastes are so eclectic that it's difficult to second-guess her.

A passionate collector of furniture--she has three dining room tables, for instance--Williams likes to be surrounded with "slouchy, comfortable things, mostly in muted tones. I like mixing new and old things, but I'm not really a fan of modern furniture. I'd like the room to be comfortable and elegant. I think you can have both."

Actually, she already has it. The soon-to-be-music room is now a kind of den that Williams and her husband use for entertaining or for listening to the small fountain outside while enjoying the view of the mountains. Painted bright white with the floor covered in Spanish paving stones, the room is dominated by a high writing desk and captain's chair at one end and a huge, dark woven bamboo armchair in the center. A pair of white wing-back chairs on the other end of the room faces the mountains, and a fireplace and bookshelves cut into one wall.

It's comfortable, but, said Grundeman, Williams wanted it to be more inviting still.

"She wanted a room where people would be comfortable and feel compelled to come in and relax, but not so casual that they would kick off their shoes once they got inside," Grundeman said. "Colleen loves what you could call the 'shabby chic' kind of feel: rich, warm fabrics that are inviting but that may have been around a little bit. Not brand new and crisp and shiny. And she likes softer colors."

To that end, Piel and Grundeman have assembled an English tea table in lieu of the more common cocktail table, persimmon crown and base molding for more definition, a sofa with "sloppy down seat cushions and back cushions and nice, generous rounded arms in tone-on-tone damask," and an English secretary to approximate the writing desk in the actual room.

The walls are covered in simple, muted taupe to soften the room, and on the floor is an Oriental rug that picks up the greens, persimmons and beiges of the furniture and the walls, and damps some of the ringing sound in the room.

Williams has favorite horse prints hung on the walls, and Piel and Grundeman are approximating this at the show with similar hangings.

And this time, the room has a true centerpiece: a baby grand piano. Williams is the musician of the house.

Williams says she has purposely kept herself in the dark as to what her disembodied music room will look like at the home show.

"I thought I'd surprise myself," she says.

Fine. But please, Colleen, no chili the night before.

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