This has been one of the busiest springtimes I can remember—which is great, of course, but the only downside is that I wasn’t able to make it up to New York to preview the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, like I did last year.
But the organizers were kind enough to send photos, and because New York is such an easy trip from DC, I hope you will go to see this annual Fantasia of design. The images here are some of the more memorable dreamscapes:
This bath spoke to me because every time I call out my 14-year-old on something, “My Bad!” is the answer. Put in an entirely different context, it makes for the perfect theme in a master bath.
Inspired by the classic prewar black and white bathrooms, this design is thoroughly formal and symmetrical in layout, but completely modern in detail, this elegant master bath of the Kips Bay Show House fused sumptuous materials, burnished bronze fixtures and shimmering glass to create an inviting atmosphere of both repose and personal indulgence. A striking geometric stone tub is offset by softly sheathed windows and an oversized glittering chandelier, which casts a soft glow to the tableaux. The dramatic high contrast scheme is softened by vibrant colors, lush fabrics and magnificent accessories–his refined harmonious space exudes an air of sophisticated simplicity.
This is one part of the stairwell Benjamin designed within a three-part study.
This is Benjamin Vandiver’s Kips Bay Debut in which he has done a three part installation: An Ending, The Ascent, Reincarnation. Through his installation, Benjamin examines how classic designers like Fortuny collide with emerging conceptual artists like Material Lust. His installation is a study in the evolution of design.
I met Alex on a panel I moderated in the Stark showroom at the Washington Design Center last year, and his personality is just as vivid as this ebullient dining room. I love the modern print telling one to “Eat a Peach” against the splendid Gracie design on the walls.
I always believe that a room should be lived in, used and enjoyed. I think it is modern for a room to have more than one purpose. In a house this size it often hard to get everybody together, that’s why our dining room is a place for the family to meet, mingle with guests and sit down to dinner. In our sitting room/dining room you can have a drink, and wait for guests or family member to arrive. It’s a glamorous and enchanting space with custom artisanal pieces; 18th century antique furniture and Roman Antiquities, and a magical custom hand painted wall paper by Gracie; creating a backdrop for elegant and fun entertaining and stimulating conversation. My room is about hosting guests in a space that is comfortable, fun and luxurious.
I’m no J-Lo, but I would LOVE to powder my nose right next to her!
“Powder rooms are some of my favorite spaces to decorate,” says designer Gil Walsh. “Because of their small size, you can be indulgent with materials and finishes.” To that end, Walsh has created an alluring jewel box of a room featuring deluxe Kohler fixtures that include a sleek black Veil wall-hung toilet and a sparkling Briolette faceted glass vessel sink atop a Kohler tailored vanity. The luminous mica wallcoverings are by Baker, as are the mirrors and accent stool. An assortment of exuberant Tony Duquette by Remains Lighting fixtures and exquisite flooring by Cosentino North America complete the composition. “For so many of my clients, we begin with the art, and this was no exception,” she says. Three pieces are standouts- a work by emerging undersea photographer Chris Leidy, the grandson of the late fashion legend Lilly Pulitzer, a sculptural creation by Nancy Lorenz and a pensive close-up of the entertainer Jennifer Lopez by renowned fashion photographer Tony Duran. “When I saw the Duran photo of Jennifer Lopez, I immediately felt both visually and spiritually inspired to design the space around it,” says Walsh. Indeed, Lopez was an early member of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club performing arts program during her childhood in the Bronx. “Like many Club alumni,” she revealed in a recent interview, “I can honestly say I don’t know where I’d be today without the Club.”
I could easily live in this lair. And I’ve got home offices on the brain, since I’ll be outfitting a new one before too long! (more on that later)
Interior designer Phillip Thomas has created a “Lady Lair”—a lady’s sanctuary from the day-to-day chaos of urban life and stressful careers—for his debut at the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse. Thomas chose to pay homage to someone who has had and continues to have a tremendous impact on his evolution as a designer: his mother. Paying attention to the overall proportions of the space, Thomas selected architectural elements, such as plaster moldings and custom glass, to create the feeling of warmth and the illusion of greater space and depth. Grounded in classical principles and ideals, the room is turned on its head through the selection of furniture and materials. This is immediately evident upon entering the room when one sees that spray paint has been applied in multiple colors to beautifully upholstered crème walls. Thomas selected furniture and art from the 20th century to the present for the room — as well as adding a piece of his own design — all to create a layered and sophisticated space reflecting his client’s numerous passions—art, furniture, fashion, literature, the law, women’s rights, family, etc. Every element and detail at once captures the elegance of his muse while simultaneously reflecting her playful, adventurous, and voracious character. It is both a classical and a forward thinking space.
Kati calls this tableau “The Path to Enlightenment,” and I agree! I can imagine myself walking through a wooded dreamscape under purple skies—no drugs required.
Having been awarded two of the main staircases at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House I saw a unique opportunity to express what is not only an aesthetic, but personal vision of mine. Using the metaphor “The Path to Enlightenment,” I sought to carry people from floor to floor with a beauty that borders on the spiritual, and create an uplifting experience for those who walk through the space. There are many diversions on the journey to enlightenment and I incorporated ideas evoking a journey that is beautiful, colorful, and engaging. To illustrate the allure of these diversions, we chose a DeGournay patterned wall covering as the feature on the stairs and landings. Furthering the point, we selected furniture with exquisite elements and fine workmanship. This is seen on the 4th floor landing, where we placed the almost dark and intimidating, but stunningly seductive gothic side chairs, paired with a very contemporary burled wood cabinet trimmed with blue lacquer. Incorporating Anglo-Indian elements let us contrast the very traditional against the very contemporary – the swooping sculptural balustrade which we painted in a strong, dark, reflective navy blue, emphasizing the flowing curves of the stair. Keeping us on the Path is a changing sequence of events guiding us up, represented by the butterflies. They lead us to flowers and through to more butterflies. As they go higher up the stair walls, the wallpaper loses all complications, all distractions and becomes a soothing sea green. Calm and quiet, very peaceful and very tranquil, we’ve reached our ultimate destination – Freedom – the end of the Path.
Can you describe a room as fresh and ornate in the same sentence? That’s what this bedroom space evokes here, between the gold accents and the modern references to classic, uncomplicated American quilt patterns in the rug and upholstery.
The White Orchard Room harkens back to the bedrooms of the great English Country House—reinterpreted with a fresh, edited, modern sensibility. The White Orchard Room was created with the great 1920’s houses built on the North Shore of Long Island in mind, such as Caumsett and Old Westbury Gardens and the David Adler houses built on the North Shore of Chicago. It is a room where Doris Duke or Cecil Beaton might find respite from their jet set lifestyle. English, Asian, and Swedish influences abound, but it is ultimately, distinctly and classically American. In his signature style, Timothy Whealon’s light filled room is airy, edited, and referenced. Like all his rooms, there is a cross-cultural, artful mix of the pristine and the patinated, antiques and bespoke furnishings as well as natural objects, to create calm and inviting interiors that evoke feelings of air and light.
I’ll end with this lovely space by Suzanne Kasler, whom I just interviewed last week for an upcoming story in Luxe Interiors + Design. She’s everywhere these days, between Kips Bay and the Southeastern Showhouse & Gardens in Atlanta, which she chairs (and which I blogged about recently). I’m transfixed by that deco-like painting against the lines of the tables and etagere, which are grounded in the soft colors of that rug.
Inspired by the tailored and classic architecture of the Carlton House we were excited to design a family room in a New York City townhouse. Our room has a unique place in that it is off the fabulous Clive Christian kitchen and then connects to the most stunning outside terrace. The room is casual, but refined, incorporating books, art, and beautiful objects, many collected from the Paris Flea Market, that give the room a personal and inviting sensibility. Inspired by the adjacent limestone terrace, we selected a palette of muted natural linens and velvets, with a chic grey blue stripe that functions as a neutral. Incorporating beautiful, classic, fluted plaster molding, unfinished oak floors and high gloss Farrow & Ball Pointing white creates the architectural envelope I always use to begin my projects. These architectural elements, details, and layers create an added dimension that make the family room a place to unwind at the end of the day…a room where you can enjoy both the kitchen and beautiful outdoors. How special is that interaction, especially in a place like New York City! This room is my definition of sophisticated simplicity…
Spring is a beautiful time of year to go to New York—let Kips Bay be your excuse. Here are the details:
44th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House
The Carlton House Townhouse
21 East 61st Street
(Between Madison and Fifth Avenues)
New York City
WHEN: Thursday, May 12 – Thursday, June 9
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 5pm,
Tuesday & Thursday until 8pm; Sunday: 12pm – 5pm
Note: No entry a half hour before the show house closes. Children under 6 (including infants) and pets are not admitted.
tickets may be purchased at the door or online