Not your typical Home Show

Model house, range of activities planned at 64th RI Home Show


The RI Home Show returns to the Convention Center on April 3-6 - four fun-filled and inspiring days consisting of hundreds of exhibitors, food demonstrations, seminars, free giveaways and kids’ activities.

The RI Home Show is in its 64th year, and is the largest and longest running exhibition of its kind in Southern New England. It is also considered to be one of the best in the country.

“This year’s attendees will enjoy many new and inspiring attractions,” said Rhode Island Builders Association (RIBA) Executive Director John Marcantonio. “The RI Home Show is not your typical home show. It’s a true experience that is unmatched, so we encourage all homeowners to join us to learn and take home amazing and inspiring ideas.”

The popular model house is back and bigger than ever, thanks in part to Johnston-based CRM Modular Homes. For the third consecutive year, attendees at the annual home show will have a one-of-a-kind extraordinary exhibit to stimulate their imaginations - a full-sized house that will be constructed on-site three days before the show. Only this year, the house is actually for sale!

In 1989, Carol O’Donnell founded CRM Modular Homes, which offers customized modular house plans and designs.

“I actually had a booth as an exhibitor at the RI Home Show going back about 20 years ago,” she said about her long history with considerably one of the best home shows in the country.

The house was stored at JR Vinagro Corporation on Plainfield Pike until being transported to the R.I. Convention Center at 6 a.m. on Monday. O’Donnell was on-site Monday through Wednesday to supervise the entire construction process. She said the undertaking has consisted of very “precise” planning and collaboration among numerous individuals.

“We start off by reviewing the details of the house that I’ve selected,” said O’Donnell. “Then we brainstorm ideas for landscaping.”

Rhode Island Nursery and Landscape Association (RINLA) members will assemble a “kitchen garden” for the house’s landscape. The “Ultimate Edible Landscape” is an array of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs that will help attendees “spring” into season.

According to RINLA Executive Director Shannon Brawley, the “Ultimate Edible Landscape” is a utilitarian space that is practical and aesthetically pleasing. The front yard is a traditional garden, whereas the backyard features a patio and fireplace created by Arnold Lumber, as well as native and wildlife plants. The landscape is designed by Catherine Weaver of North Kingstown-based Tupelo Gardenworks, Ltd.

“We wanted to demonstrate how a home’s landscape can be both beautiful and functional,” said Weaver. “Instead of doing a traditional front yard that is solely ornamental, we aimed to demonstrate how a homeowner can grow their own food in a small space, while still having a beautiful display. Home and urban gardens have been growing in popularity, and we wanted a display that exemplified this.

“The backyard was designed to incorporate an outdoor living space, which is a terrace that features ideas for people to consider for outdoor entertainment such as a hot tub and pizza oven,” she continued. “With the ‘Ultimate Edible Landscape,’ we’re interested in educating folks about what exists in our natural, native environment that they can actually consume.”

About the level of commitment of RINLA members who have offered to the “Ultimate Edible Landscape,” Weaver added, “This is truly a labor of love from all the professionals who have given it their all to make this possible.”

For the second straight year, the room-by-room decor will be handled by Karen Corinha, an interior designer from Mansfield, Mass., who was among a prestigious group of decorators and designers selected to “deck the halls” inside the White House for the 2011 holiday season, and more recently last Thanksgiving.

“Together, we make revisions and discuss improvements as if the house was our own,” said Corinha, who worked with Cabot House Furniture of West Warwick to select pieces that “would best showcase Cabot’s diverse selection, give each room its own personality, and flow well with all of the other rooms in the house.”

Additionally, Corinha collaborated with J&K Electric - another Johnston-based company - to select light fixtures.

O’Donnell added, “The challenge is getting the house to the R.I. Convention Center and then putting it all together before the show begins on Thursday.”

Two weeks ago, the entire team met at O’Donnell’s Hartford Avenue office to review the game plan of constructing and fully adorning the house in half the time they had last year.

At last year’s RI Home Show, more than 10,000 attendees toured the Saco Bay-style house on display. When asked about the motivation behind opting for the Cape-style house this year, O’Donnell said, “I actually own the land in North Scituate that will serve as the permanent destination for the house, and a Cape-style house would look beautiful in that location.”

Manufactured by Maine-based KBS Building Systems, the 2,000-square-foot house is more than twice as large as last year’s model and boasts three full bathrooms, a three-car garage and a walkout basement.

Furthermore, according to O’Donnell, the house will be ENERGY STAR-certified, which is consistent with the new addition of the Energy Expo in the 2014 RI Home Show lineup. Sponsored by National Grid and the RI Energy Efficiency Resource Management Council, attendees will have access to free seminars, hands-on demonstrations, and an opportunity to learn about energy-saving products and services from 100 energy efficiency vendors. According to show organizers, one lucky patron will walk away with a $5,000 Energy Home Makeover.

“I’m expecting that the home’s sheer size alone will be a ‘wow factor’ for RI Home Show attendees,” said O’Donnell, who added that patrons who tour the home will be offered a brochure with information about every component of the house.

Locally, five Cranston businesses - AA Ceilings and Builderz, LLC, Lumber Liquidators, Miracle Method of Providence-Bathroom Restoration, Phantom Screens/Retractable Solutions and The Pool Source - will also be among hundreds of companies on hand to help invigorate imaginations and transform home improvement visions into reality. Exhibitors include a diverse list of area businesses representing numerous products and services that include builders, re-modelers, kitchen and bath specialists, landscaping, home security, furnishing, flooring, appliances and many more.

A range of other activities is planned as well. On April 3 from 7:30 to 9 p.m., attendees will have the chance to have their picture taken alongside the Boston Red Sox World Series trophies, which will be located in the Energy Expo section.

On all four days, attendees will have access to free educational seminars on interior design, landscape and gardening, and energy. Additionally, RI Home Show-goers can enjoy entertaining cooking demonstrations by Chef Frank Terranova from the popular NBC10 “Cooking With Class” show, Season 8 “Food Network Star” finalist Chef Linkie Marais, and many local proprietors.

There will be plenty of raffles and giveaways in addition to the $5,000 Energy Home Makeover. Prizes include a seven-night trip to Bermuda for two, as well as four Apple iPad minis that are up for grabs as part of the RI Home Show’s Instagram contest.

Kids won’t leave empty-handed, taking home tricks learned from Duncan YoYo Master Eric Giradi and balloons created from the Guinness World Record Holding balloon artist Lon Cerel, who has been voted as “Rhode Island’s Best Party Entertainment” for three consecutive years. Those 12 and under can spin a colorful wheel for a chance to win a new bike or toy. Children can explore the Kids’ Energy Corner, a part of the RI Home Show’s new Energy Expo.

Tickets are available at the door. Adults: $10, seniors: $8, and free admission for children 15 and under.

Hours are as follows:

Thursday, April 3 (3 p.m. - 9 p.m.)

Friday, April 4 (3 p.m. - 9 p.m.)

Saturday, April 5 (10 a.m. - 9 p.m.)

Sunday, April 6 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

For more information about the 2014 RI Home Show and schedule, visit and


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