Sunday, April 19, 2009


Tiny rooms ruled the day at this Kips Bay. Making a space cozy can be as much of a challenge as filling a huge room with seating arrangements. Floral motifs, special painted details and bright color stood out this year. Below are the standouts, providing beautiful ideas, fun elements and unexpected touches. The rooms are spread out over 5 floors of a massive townhouse.
Albert Hadley was the Honorary Chair this year, so many designers added a Hadley element in their rooms to pay tribute. Further uptown, Gerald Bland, antique dealer of all things understated and elegant, mounted a show of Hadley's iconic interior drawings for the occasion. They are worth seeing.

A Christopher Maya vignette greets visitors as they enter the showhouse. Chairs with colored tufting have become one of his signature elements .

He used an ikat print as the dominant pattern the large first floor entry foyer.

A round table grounds the large hall space. His clever use of screens make the space more intimate.

Blue and white Chinese vases dot the mantel and ikat shades on a huge chandelier pull the scheme together.

Small seating arrangements in plum velvet with a wide swath of ikat make for easy conversation.

The first room that guests enter into on the main floor if that of Bunny Williams Inc and Beeline Home, called Tous Dans Un: All In One. I have profiled her collection in the past, seen here, mixed with antiques and fun touches. A red Egg Chair and framed Hadley interior drawings on the mantel are a nod to his favorite color.

Two enormous paintings by British public relations gal turned painter Sarah Graham dominate the room. The bright turquoise and green tie in with the Tiffany blue walls.

Painted sisal with Hadley stars and a bold border add a graphic element to the floor.

A long table serves two purposes-- one side is set for two and the other is a makeshift desk. Mango and turquoise colors create an island feeling in a city setting. Behind the table, a Thomas Hope bookcase grounds the wall.

Amy Lau for Maya Romanoff decorated the first floor staircase with beautiful handmade paper flowers that grew out of paper tree branches. The huge blooms added instant artwork to the vast walls.

Charlotte Moss's created a master bedroom suite,complete with a Michael Devine fabric-draped entrance. In typical Charlotte style, the 2 rooms are girly, with pretty things everywhere. Sumptuous details include embroidery, walls filled with framed artwork, charming small furniture pieces and special antiques.

Matching consoles flank the fabric- filled entryway that lead to the sitting room.

Her vast list of resources were highlighted on a long, framed list that was hung off a 4 sided revolving picture easel. It's all in the details!

D. Porthault linens on a Louis XVI day bed create a relaxing space, very French in feel.

A huge urn of flowers on a pedestal create just the right amount of drama with height and mass.

In addition to the bed and desk area, a casual seating area welcomes guests.

A Jansen desk is loaded with stationery, pretty storage boxes, a small flower arrangement and everything else a busy lady needs at her fingertips. A mini telephone table puts the modern technology to the side, so the beautiful elements are the focal point.

My favorite piece is this low slipper chair, upholstered in a classic floral. It is a spot to perch or put things.

An Italian marble console breaks up the wall that leads from the sitting room to the charming bedroom space. Monochromatic burgundy flowers add a pop of color to the serene palette.

In the bedroom, grey blue De Gournay tea paper offset a solid fabric- draped canopy bed, surrounded by mismatched end tables.

Matthew Patrick Smyth worked with Gloria Vanderbilt, recreating the bedroom of her youth. This 1940s room was faithfully reincarnated from an aunt’s house near Washington Square Park. She lived there when she was 16, after living in hotels up to that point. This was her first real bedroom. A Swedish clock, Indian chair and velvet quilt make for an eclectic, feminine retreat.

Her Washington Mews view in winter is painted at the window, and adds a charming vista through silver grey silk drapery.

Frills can delight a young girl. A sumptuous daybed and linens are soft pink and blue grey. Gloria wrote a message on the Silver leaf wallpaper from Schumacher, giving her room a personal touch.

A 1920's Peacock- filled screen and inlay table sit in the corner-- reminders of her well- traveled youth. The exoticism and mix of these pieces was unexpected in the 1940's.

Joe Nye was inspired by Otto Zenke, a 1960's Palm Beach decorator. Burnt orange walls covered in Phillip Jeffries raffia grass cloth and a mustard yellow ceiling tie the color scheme of his two small rooms together. Pops of color from a Le Menache floral fabric coordinate with Grosfield House Swag back chairs and cabinets from Joe Nye New York at Claremont.

Yellow Peking glass and Orange Crush soda bottles bring humor to the small second sitting room.

Art and color converge with Leger prints. The lesson here is to have fun with decorating.

A black Muirfield bench grounds all of the sunny brightness.

McMillen's room was a barrel- vaulted space they turned into A Gothic Inspired Dining Room. You can tell they had fun with the room. It incorporated whimsical touches-- quirky dining chairs covered in a zig zag stripe added a fantastical quality. Here, a feature wall covered in Stark Brambles showcases Gregory Kuharic's white Gourd Forms from Liz O'Brien. Their unique forms add a playful element.

Color Vibe by Eileen Kathryn Boyd was yet another explosively colorful example. Lime green, orange and hot pink are coordinated through accessories, fabrics and artwork. It was refreshing and lively, perfect for a warm climate.

In contrast, Donald F. Schermerhorn's space called for serenity now. Greys, eggplant and eggshell colors in his Loft Lounge with a floating bed, glass fireplace wall and seating area were a sea of calm.

The solid chair forms are lightened by the floor length panels at the window and vase stands that hold Chinese glazed pottery jars from Florian Papp. An abstract oil painting in matching tones complete this exercise in tranquility.

Garrow Kedigian's The Artist's Retreat was a tiny area on the top floor. A seating area with a wall banquette and table had a Neoclassical and Greek motif. This masculine work space combined classic elements, including Tuscan red walls with a a cream inset border to match the Greek Key rug.

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