So, I decided I don’t get out enough. And what better excuse to take a girlfriends’ jaunt to New York than to see the decorator show house that’s benefitting the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which is celebrating its centennial this year? Designer Victoria Sanchez and I went up to check it out.
We were allowed on a preview tour of the house, which is at the historic Arthur Sachs mansion at 58 East 66th Street (between Park and Madison). It opens this Thursday (May 14), and goes through June 11.
The decadence of the design (and I mean that in a good way) was so overpowering that it’s almost hard to recall whole rooms; rather, this house is better experienced as a series of moments, vignette by vignette. And of course, I don’t want to give away so much that you won’t be tempted to go up and see for yourself.
This is the first of two posts, as there was way too much to pack into one!
1. Designer Jamie Drake has ensured that the moment you walk into the foyer, you’re on a Magical Mystery Tour. These floating, cloud-like lights are made from melted glass rods.
Next, you walk into the main hallway, where you can gaze up four flights of stairs into what seems like Heaven.
2. Ronald Bricke used the view to great effect in this hallway, strategically placing a chair with a mirrored tray on it at the base of the stairs, which reflects what’s to come.
3. I got a bit starstruck in the kitchen, where we met Christopher Peacock, the man behind so many fabulous bespoke kitchens that have been published EVERYWHERE.
He told us that the argyle-patterned mosaic tile behind the cooktop inspired this entire kitchen. I loved his moody dark cabinets, highlighted with chunky, satin brass hardware. And don’t you love how he treats his copper cookware like museum pieces?
I was also pleasantly surprised to see that he sourced the English elm bar at the end of the kitchen’s island with Grothouse Lumber, whom I’ve written about in the past.
“I love the idea of having this very tailored kitchen, and then when you sit, something very organic,” Peacock says. I agree.
4. Just outside the kitchen is the most glorious postage-stamp terrace, which landscape architect Janice Parker filled in out of nothing.
“This is a sanctuary—a place that feels strong and will hold you and keep you inside it,” Parker says. Here, she combined her favorite plantings in chartreuse and purple—such an optimistic and energetic combination. Besides, she says, “chartreuse is the new white—it’s all you need to plant your garden.”
5. Now, there is this space—a nook as you come out of the kitchen and head toward the back stairway, but which has large windows on two sides that look out to Parker’s garden. Designer Bennett Leifer, whom Traditional Home declared to be one of its rising stars for 2015, made this humble corner into a complete jewel box, with golden, hand-painted DeGournay paper, window sheers painted with the same pattern, and ethereal lights.
My camera’s got nothin’ on this, but here’s a snapshot from Leifer’s Instagram page, taken during installation. The luminescence of this paper makes me delerious:
This is the kind of space which, if you don’t do architectural photography for a living, you’re not going to capture unless you just go there. So go there, OK?
6. As you keep going up those back stairs, you’ll come up to Tilton Fenwick‘s butler’s pantry. Only she didn’t want it to be a panty. Instead, she made it into a dining room “lounge,” a retreat just off the screaming red dining room to cool off in shade of blue (and some really cool art, too).
“What would a client not let us do?” Fenwick associate Suysel dePedro asks (rhetorically). “Fringe-y tape trim on the moldings!” In reality, this was a necessary move, because it had to cover multiple outlets in that molding. This being a butler’s pantry, after all, one would expect countertops with appliances that need to be plugged in.
Here’s another fabulous shot, which I took from the Kips Bay Instagram page:
7. Moving into the dining room, you’re instantly hit by pattern upon pattern of red. But in L.A. designer Mark Sikes‘ hands, he’s hit a home run with his ability to combine haute-couture design—the “Adams Oval” mirror is circa 1776 and is worth upwards of $80,000—with… a rattan table and chairs?
“You want to put on a show. You want to create a room that people will remember, but you also want it to be timeless,” he says. Indeed. The table and chairs are from his new collection for Soane Britain.
8. Need to powder your nose? You’re in for design whiplash, as you step out of Sikes’ dining room and into this powder room, which designer Gail Green dedicated to the life and work of artist and AIDS activist Keith Haring.
9. The color red is definitely a theme on this floor—in every iteration from modern to traditional. Alessandra Branca, whom I have a new girl crush on, designed this to-die-for living room.
“This is going back to a livable living room, and having to be comfortable,” says Branca, looking quite comfortable in the photo above. “It’s meant to be chic and still be great.” What I think is great is the way she combines period pieces with modern art.
And I can’t get over her game table. I so wish I had a game table.
“A room, to me, should be like a hug. It should grab you and make you want to stay there forever,” she says. Maybe that’s why I stayed there so long!
10. The hallway and stairwell that connects all these second-floor rooms is no less magnificent. Designer Philip Mitchell of Toronto dug into his own firm’s art collection to fill every single inch of the wall space here.
“We wanted to create a sensorial experience coming up the stairs,” Mitchell says. “It’s a reflection of our passion for collecting.” I’ll say.
Mitchell’s work spans two floors, and each hallway has these little nooks across from the stairs. He used them as opportunities to create mini galleries, like the photography nook you see below on the left (and don’t mind that great big HUGE Hunt Slonem on the main wall!!).
So there you have it, the first two floors. Tune in tomorrow for the next two (plus the bonus—a glorious rooftop terrace filled with mosaic tile and rubber. That’s all I can say for now…)