Thursday, April 28, 2011


It's the other most wonderful time of the year, the Kips Bay Showhouse is open! Now in its 39th year, the house is a beautiful townhouse once belonging to the Whitney's. It double doors have been flung open at 163 East 63rd Street and visitors will be crossing the threshold from now until May 26th. The home was once decorated by Sister Parish, and evidence remains of the Whitney's in the form of an old intercom system with their names and rooms listed on it.
This year, the Kips Bay shop will be on the first floor, and finds abound.
In addition, from May 10th through May 12th, Gilt Home is going to create a virtual pop up shop allowing visitors to buy items featured in participating designers rooms. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club.
This year, glamour, color and amazing artwork filled the rooms. It was the year of heavy hitters, (many of whom have licensed collections). This group includes those well on their way to becoming household names if they are not already.
Make a trip to the Upper East side Monday through Saturday: 11 am - 5 pm, Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 8 pm, and Sundays noon - 5 pm and get inspired.

A pair high gloss red doors envelope guests in a glamorous entry foyer by Mary McDonald.

A long banquette made the space look larger along with a low etagere.

Using gray, red and black Schumacher fabrics, she created made the entrance pop.

A fab red lucite box, decorative sculpture, brass turned candlesticks and black classical lamp from her Robert Abbey collection filled the surface of a glass topped brass console.

Wayne Nathan worked with a pop art color palette and killer artwork. A large low pink coffee table held flower vases, and interesting, brightly colored objects.

Nathan's space continued up the staircase, here he had a young artist create rectangular boxes out of multi-hued electrical tape.

The upstairs space combined singular stand along pieces that pack a lot of color punch.

Back downstairs, a vivid red wall holds a lucite and brass table and leads into Kemble Interiors room.

The Library was created by Celerie Kemble of Kemble Interiors. Existing Norfolk Pine millwork had to remain, so she worked with the neutral, highly ornate walls as a blank canvas. From there, she layered accessories, lucite touches and pops of feminine colors around the space.

I like the way she used two completely different end tables around the classic tufted sofa. Round pillows take a fun, less traditional direction.

The built in bookcases included round glass Asprey Bubble vases in pastel hues, travel books and a classic quill box. A knockout ornate marble console mounted in front of the shelves is a new way to think about using space- good ideas are everywhere in showhouses!

I love a Spoon Back Chair, this one, in a malachite faux finish looks fresh in one of Celerie's Schumacher fabrics.

Is it real or is it faux? Diane James Home's faux fig tree in an octagonal bone planter dots the far corners of the room.

Vladimir Collections Porcelain Black Hollyhocks frame a painting that sits on a mounted back piece over the mantel. Notice how the sconces are hung off of that back panel- clever touch.

A coral fabric covers the Tete a Tete curved sofa that sits before a floor to ceiling window.

Matthew Smyth was also required to work with an existing element in the house. In his case, it was a beautiful hand painted Chinese silk wallpaper. He made the rectangular shaped room feel more like a square by hanging curtains that create distinct sections to feature the walls and panels.

A round dining table makes the space feel intimate as opposed to imposing. What could be better than sitting at a small dinner with friends by the fire in this room, with the garden view?

Smyth's brand new book Living Traditions is featured prominently next to an antique silver tea set.

Charming details make this room subtle and soft- buttons around the top of the cream panels and wide pale blue cuff border made from Schumacher fabrics are oh so subtle.

To highlight the paper, a dark wood console holds two candlestick lamps that were found in the Kips Bay Gift Shop during the installation. If Matthew can score something to showcase, just imagine what you can find if you hit the shop. I recommend going daily, since you never know what new treasures will arrive!
A classical white pedestal base urn sits next to a lamp with clean lines on a 17th century chest. Here you can really see the painted landscape of Cherry Blossom branches blowing in the wind.

Just off the dining room, the garden space was enriched by Greener by Design.

His press kit reads, "My name is Richard Mishaan and I am an Art-oholic." Judging from his room, this is definitely the case. With walls covered in a punchy Philip Jeffries hemp Trellis pattern in orange and ivory, the stage is set. The large room includes two distinct areas, each with a different feel.

Gilded furniture is mixed with new pieces from his Bolier collection, making the layering of old and new really interesting.

Mishaan created two separate spaces in the room, with the carpets from Beauvais delineating the areas. The red and blue abstract paintings were done by the art aficionado himself.

A pair of unusual gold framed chairs surround a lacquer table with stacks of books and spiky sea urchin - like orbs.

A quadrant of modern prints hang above a brass and wood sideboard.

Talk about a transformation! This room was a 1950's pink space filled with wall to wall closets with wire lattice doors. Cayley Barrett Associates created a Master Bath and Dressing Room Retreat. Tonal shades of grey worked with the artwork covered mirrored wall and re-worked glass fronted doors.

A streamlined vanity with high tech touches, like a tv embedded into a round mirror, completed the limestone tiled space.

Amanda Nisbet's design team in their fabric finery made from Nisbet - designed fabrics at last night's preview.

The existing 18th century wall paneling and mantel were the foil for a femme pink and white fantasy.

Panels of her pink and white watercolor silk covered the walls. A shapely ebony console centered against the wall was the perfect scale for the room.

Using Watteau and Fragonard as touch points, Nisbet takes the space into modern times with an incredibly Marilyn Minter photo over the bed.

A diminutive side table holds a pink vase with cream roses and a few select books. This nightstand is a dream for most, just the bare essentials here.

Custom linens in shades of pink are her design, paired with a pink vermicelli quilt making a textured and layered bed.

Knowing a bit about Jock Whitney's love of racehorses came in handy for Campion Platt. He created a modern day club room with a nod to the celebrated former owner, exemplified by the contemporary artwork he included.

The curved corner room and rich wood millwork was highlighted by highly polished Venetian plaster in a glistening, light cream color. Floor to ceiling solar shades block out the sun. A 2010 video by Adam Sheffer and Alex Prager called Sunday shows a varied group of people recreated from Holly Golightly's day at the races.

With the news of the world at the ready, this art heavy dweller can stay on top of the business world.

A game table in the corner provides for leisurely pursuits like chess.

Jamie Herzlinger created a master bath, for him, based on French 1930's inspiration. The graphic black and white marble floors look even better in person.

Dark and handsome stried and lacquered Macassar Ebony frame the vanity with gold fittings.

Jeff Lincoln Interiors worked with design house classics, Fortuny fabrics and Gracie wallpapers. The cut corner mirror with circular ornaments hanging over the mantel in this cozy space is to die for.

Lincoln is adept at the art of display- visual moments like this are created around the room.

An Italian glass and brass console with ball detailing seems to channel the solar system; the rock crystal orbs on the table top mirror the round theme.

A pretty curve front Jansen desk from Florian Papp is combined with a funky brass lamp in a modern statement.

Hanging wall art around a mirror is another interesting take away.

Fortuny fabrics hang from curtain panels that are grounded by a cabinet of dark wood.

Barbara Ostrom Associates created a guest room fit for a queen. Or a really girly princess. A charming little chair to the left of the fireplace is an adorable touch.

Swathed in yards of blue and white silk, the canopy bed or Lit a La Polinaise (a bed in the Polish style) was inspired by 18th century French interiors.

Masses of fresh spring flowers and small oil paintings enhanced the charm factor.

The hallway leading to the stairs was done by Rauber and Rauber in a grey pinstrioe from Dedar. A brass Mughal Hanging Lamp from Odegard was an exotic touch.

Giant brass finials by Viya Home at Odegard were quite something.

Sister act Carolina and Janet of Rauber and Rauber Interiors will make us all rethink the staircase. There was tons of buzz about what they had done to the space at the preview last night, and for good reason. They took a swirly ikat from Dedar and covered every inch of the walls. It was amazing.

Inspired by Diaghalev's Ballets Russes, a period many people are into right now, they used a rich palette of grey, cream and saffron yellow.

Stephen Fanuka worked with Electrolux, creating a space age capsule for a laundry room. A new agey white glowing box, complete with pod shelving and LED lighting was enhanced by Thom Filicia's decorative touch.

The Jetson's would feel right at home here.

You gotta love a risk taker who has no fear of color. Harry Heissmann is your man when it comes to freedom of pattern play, color use and mixing. His psychedelic hideaway with dark walls included a larger than life giraffe, brass cobra with red buld for a tongue (once belonging to Elton John), mad bedspread and hot pink Lilly covered chair.

A quiet spot for reading? Um, maybe not. Daydreaming, yes. E.T. tends to have that effect on people.

A little wicker side table holds pastel French macarons with a matching Porthault cocktail napkin.

A turquoise Spitzmiller lamp and preppy pineapple dress up the nightstand.

Aurelien Gallet painted the entryway to his Gentleman's Lounge in a French plaster blue and white varying stripe that led the eye upwards.

Artwork hung from a door? Sure, you can enhance any blank surface with art.

A wavy wall surface was a fascinating way to create texture. By hanging a quirky ornate shovel that glorified an everyday object, I could tell this room was not going to be ordinary.

De La Cuona linens in deep reds and greys are nice against the creamy zig zag walls. A club like atmosphere makes you want to sit and stay awhile. With so many fascinating objets all around, why not?

Gallet is big into Memento Mori- he poses with a life sized skeleton and has another skull on a bookshelf. A little bit Deyrolle a little bit daring, this Frenchman goes for the gusto.

An 18th Century skull reminding us all of our mortality has a prominent place with the books.

A darling little LaLanne Pigeon/Lamp perches on the windowsill, peeking out from behind a sheer curtain.

A beautiful French 18th century Bureau Plat desk by Rene Dubois has inlaid Greek key detailing across the front.

More quirkiness- an elephants foot stool.

A dark wood etagere is chock a block with books and a shelf acts as a bar.

He mixes a serious 1930's antique cabinet with a fun mirror and neon piece of contemporary art.

Setting the mood with Adele crooning through the speakers, Brad Ford created a Stereo Lounge. Working with BDDW, upholstered sofas and custom table stole the show. A Chris Lekrecke bookcase delineated Ford's space, a giant rec room on the top floor. One half was done by him, the other, by Robert Stilin.

Mixing textures and neutrals, his space feels like an updated Montauk beach house in the city.

The subtle curve on the back of the sofa and ball leg is elegant and mid century all at once.

A record player was built into the center of the BDDW table ensuring an ultimate leisure time lair.

Speakers embedded in wall to wall light wood paneling are a hi fi essential.

Kick back and enjoy the view in a chair upholstered in a tanned Moore and Giles leather.

Keeping the original lattice work from Sister Parishes time, Gunn Landscapes worked with the outdoor terraces to extend the interior living areas outside.

Rajaie Khoury, a designer with Robert Stilin, was introduced to me by Joe Lucas in LA. We all get together with Brad Ford when we are in NYC and talk East coast West coast design. Rajaie greeted visitors with a friendly welcome as they entered the lofty space.

A tray ceiling and wall of sliding doors were original to the room. Stilin envisioned the room as a place for a serious art collector that appreciated vintage touches.

Textural cashmere, wool and animal upholstery in shades of grey unified the seating area.

A Richard Prince piece hangs above a cabinet with a beautiful, minimal lamp and yet another skull.