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Annually, famous interior designers remodel a luxury Manhattan home into an elegant exhibition of fine furnishings, art and technology. We bring you Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2019, in an event that started on May 2nd and will end on the 30th.
See also: MADE IN ITALY: THE AFTERMATH
“When the house was built, this was always a wet bar,” Dove explains of his assigned space, which he has transformed into a glamorous champagne bar. But in creating this new design, Dove channeled the 1970s, and specifically the likes of Truman Capote and Lee Radziwill, whom he could easily imagine attending functions at this type of house. Dove used a Kohler faucet and sink in amber—which he selected to align with his palette of blue and golds.
“This room was actually the reception room to the house,” Bridges says, noting that before deciding to create her “Le Salon des Chiens,” as she calls it, she was faced with a series of challenges. “They’re all these dog walkers that kept going by,” Bridges, a dog owner herself, explains of how she first came up with the idea to create a room that celebrates dogs. The room is indeed a temple of sorts to the canine species, in that it’s an area in which any pet owner could happily play with, feed, or bathe his or her loyal companion. “Everyone who worked on the space was a dog owner,” Bridges adds.
“This is a fully working kitchen—there’s nothing fake about it,” Christopher Peacock stated. Peacock, whose company specializes in custom-built cabinetry of all types, continues on to add that this time around, “I wanted something that was a little bit more personal to me, and that really tapped into family experience.” The most notable homage to Peacock’s parents comes in the form of the kitchen island, which on its far side reads, “It is what it is,” his father’s signature saying. The kitchen island was, like all of the cabinetry, custom-built by Peacock. “I’m all about quality and detail—that’s my thing”.
When most people think of a breakfast room, frazzled family mornings likely spring to mind. But Vicente Wolf’s took an opposite track, when transforming the house’s breakfast area into “The Dreaming Room,” as he calls it. Instead of a table well-equipped to send kids off to school, you’ll find Kohler’s large Ceric bathtub at the center of it all. The paneled walls have been painted a deep purple—offsetting the marble mantel and lush green plants installed. In a sense, the dichotomies depicted, which include Wolf’s intended sense of yin and yang, perhaps sum up the room best.
Delaney was in part inspired by the magnolias that can be seen up above the space. This then prompted her to work with Bay Area ceramicist Jessica Abbott Williams to create custom ceramic plates and resin hangings that depict the same type of flowering plant. The resin hangings are unusual in that pieces of this sort aren’t generally used in exteriors. The plates, which depict the same style of line-drawn artistry, are offset by Chilewich place mats. “We’re riffing on people who put chargers up on their walls,” Delaney explains. “Except this is about nature.” Nearby, a heated seat is apt to set guests at ease, while down below the deck, Delaney’s composition really takes off. “We’re builders,” First, there is a trompe l’oeil wooden log that makes for its own fireplace.
“This carpet was shipped to Alaska instead of New York.” These are practically the first words to come out of Brian Gluckstein’s mouth, when explaining the unexpected journey that the pièce de résistance of his spiral staircase took before ending up on the Upper East Side. However, the custom rug by The Rug Company arrived just in time, magically transforming the space with a fan-inspired design that appears to unfold as it spreads out over four stories. The archival estate of Jeremiah Goodman, the American interior studio portrait painter, supplied the works hung on the walls, whose faux paneling was inspired by that of Jean-Michel Frank. Vintage sconces add light, while the pièce de résistance is arguably the central chandelier. Suspended from above, 4,000 brass cherry blossoms hang—each of which is secured by a single crystal.
To create the “Rhapsody in Blue” dining room, Cullman & Kravis’ Lee Cavanaugh, Alyssa Urban, Katie Sutton, and Dani Mazza all came together to work in collaboration. The four women were drawn to the rooms’ height, as well as its round and square elements. On one wall, an antique mantelpiece from Maison Gerard serves as an anchor, while bay windows frame an adjacent side. A Fred Brouard piece draws its own aura of attention at the center of the room, while gold paillettes help lighten the room’s purposefully dark palette—made possible in large part thanks to Dedar’s fabric.
Corey Damen Jenkins stated “I thought, why not flip it, and make it a lady’s lair or a lady’s library?”. All around, the evidence of Jenkins’s efforts is clear. A Valentino gown inspired the custom curtains by The Shade Store, while Benjamin Moore’s Pink Swirl paint was used in some areas. Beautiful late-19th-century antique Asian screens are incorporated, as is an antique writing desk that dates back to 1926. There’s also a white-leopard-print rug, of which Jenkins jokes, “No snow leopards were killed in the making of this room.”
It came at me from different places,” Charlotte Moss says of her design inspiration for the house’s master bedroom. “Then I found this fabric on Instagram,” she says of the bed’s lavender palampore hangings, which ultimately gave Moss her palette. Moss’s palette was further confirmed when she saw Lady’s Gaga’s periwinkle dress at the Golden Globes. After that, she set out looking for periwinkle gingham, which appoints the room’s walls, and ultimately had to be woven in the U.K. “So many of the things in this room are things that I own,” Moss continues, citing the Suzani textiles as one example. Some of the furniture seen are also her own designs from her Century collection, such as one particularly useful petite end table. Other brands were included as well (Antonio Articulating Easel provided a floor lamp designed by Thomas O’Brien.)
Eve Robinson’s room “pays homage to Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own,” as the designer herself puts it. “The soft gentle curves are meant to evoke a women’s sensuality,” she adds, saying too that the room is intended to support a woman’s responsibilities, in terms of work and family. A Miriam Ellner fireplace and new plaster crown moldings easily catch the viewer’s eye. Robinson designed the room’s desk and had the couch custom-made. “It’s a mixture of contemporary and vintage furnishings,” she explains, noting that the chairs were borrowed from Donzella, while the cocktail table is vintage. The rug is from Crosby Street Studio, Jeff Zimmerman created the lights, and the end table was sourced from KGBL. Last, but certainly not least, Alpha Workshops’ beautiful and textural wall coverings unite the space.
Out of all the rooms in this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House, only one was made to look like a guest bedroom. Peter Pennoyer Architects took on their design with gusto, with the firm’s design director Alice Engel saying, “We imagined this as a really fun guest room for a Parisian houseguest.” However, as serene as the space feels, it was not without its fair share of challenges. When asked if there were indeed any, interior designer Engel laughs that there were “tons.” For starters, sourcing enough of Schumacher’s Le Castellet fabric, which makes up the room’s walls and curtains, as well as the Pierre Frey fabric used, proved to be somewhat difficult.
The preexisting brown terrazzo floor and chimney couldn’t be ignored in Pappas Miron Design’s designated Kips Bay room. For designers Alexandra Pappas and Tatyana Miron, that was the good thing—as was the room’s adjacent bathroom, for which Stone Solutions in Yonkers, New York, fabricated the gorgeous sink. Flos lights counterbalance an antique chandelier, for starters. Elsewhere, a rug, which the duo happened upon while visiting a dealer in Stanford, New York, plays off the room’s dominant use of stone. A Venetian beaded mirror, which Miron stumbled upon while on a run on New Year’s Day, perhaps has the best backstory, however. (Four trips to the shop later, and the mirror was hers.) It’s now hung against a backdrop of Ressource paint.
“My clients are a New York family,” Jennifer Cohler Mason says of the imaginary couple she had in mind for her living room design. “They are big art collectors and love to entertain at home.” While the Donald Sultan tar-covered floral work is just one piece that draws that imaginary scenario out, Mason’s room is ultimately more about texture—an element that she says is “really important to me.” The walls (another standout element of the house) have a plaster finish, while the entryway is covered in a Brutalist wallpaper. Fifties lounge chairs from Guy Regal make for a lovely pair, while Todd Merrill’s sofas helps anchor the room. Studio Van den Akker is responsible for the cocktail table, while Dedar and Holly Hunt are behind the window seat and window treatments, respectively. Last, but certainly not least, Mason included a small framed photograph of her two sons.
“We designed a boudoir-themed room,” Britt Zunino of Studio DB starts off. Zunino, whose partner in work and in life is Damian Zunino, astutely notes that working with this room was a nice fit for the firm, considering the fact that they deal with both interiors and architecture. Throughout, small and thoughtful touches abound on either side of the Kohler claw-foot tub. Custom tiles by Alison Rose of Artistic Tile were used in the bathroom. And thanks to De Gournay, an interior created by Elsie de Wolfe for Marlene Dietrich, and the wallpaper used for that project specifically, has received a reinterpretation. (As a thoughtful touch, an image of Dietrich in front of the wallpaper was incorporated into the room.) Across the way, a U-shaped couch, designed by the couple, has magically found its way into the space. (Although Britt concedes getting it in proved to be quite the challenging feat.)
“I really wanted to put together a space that felt like a fresh interpretation of classic style,” Paloma Contreras says. “I got lucky getting a room with such great bones,” she adds, noting that since the room in question was situated on the same level as the master bedroom, she decided to make it into a woman’s study. Navy, chartreuse, and spring green (on Schumacher’s moire curtains and drapery by The Shade Store) punctuate her otherwise neutral palette, while custom wallpaper panels from De Gournay supply an added dose of beauty as well. Liz O’Brien’s candlesticks are another welcome detail, as are the antiques interwoven throughout the space.
If any one element within this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House was to be named as a standout, Sarah Bartholomew’s plaster-fluted walls would certainly be in the running. The designer created the paneling to “architecturally transform the room,” although she readily gives credit to the artisans who helped her achieve her goals. Bartholomew’s room is minimalist yet warm, with allusions to AD100 maestro Stephen Sills’s Bedford living room. From the chaise longue to the desk, the room is a “mix of old, new, modern—and a very classic curation of art,” as she puts it. Bartholomew, who is Nashville-based, admits that she didn’t really draw upon the Tennessee city when designing the room. However, upon further reflection, she notes, “The Southern aesthetic is one of surrounding yourself with beauty, and that’s what this room embodies.”
Katherine Newman decided to name her office room “The Pink Dragon Study” in reference to the environment’s auspicious strength. It’s a fitting choice, considering that issues of sustainability were at the heart of Newman’s thought process. Moreover, she aimed to create a room that was classic yet modern, by mixing works from different styles and periods. (The diversity is evident elsewhere as well, from the geometric marquetry that helped inform the walls to the bronze butterfly clips that can be seen.) Unlike other rooms in the house, there is a notable absence of textiles. However, Newman thoughtfully counterbalances that fact by including Canadian artist Brent Wadden’s textile-informed work. An elegant and craft-oriented choice—not unlike all the decisions it took to put together the room.
This is the first Kips Bay for Charleston-based designer Matthew Monroe Bees. To create his composition, Bees imagined that he had been asked to design a room inside Charleston’s Drayton Hall, which is a preserved Georgian mansion. Schumacher created the wallpaper, while the South Carolina city’s American College of the Building Arts provided the molds used for Drayton Hall—which found new life in the form of casts seen on the ceiling. “I pretty much hauled everything from Charleston,” Bees laughs, noting that he flew up his installers for the process as well. The two screens, which cordon off the room from a bathroom, and make up the backdrop to a William IV sofa, were created by Gracie. However, it is a 1860s desk (that Bees believes weighs around 300 pounds), that is, at least in his eyes, the most special piece.
After climbing a (very narrow) flight of stairs to the house’s fifth and final floor, the airy expanse of Young Huh’s “Young at Art” room comes as something of a surprise. Nevertheless, the high ceilings and skylight windows make for the perfect setting for this artist’s studio. “We really imagined this as a a space for a bohemian woman who is a world traveler,” Huh and her team had to do a full gut renovation of the bathroom, which now features glass and tile from AKDO, and a Kohler farm sink. The sink at the end of the hallway is the perfect addition for Huh’s plotline, as it serves as a place where her imaginary client can wash brushes and arrange still lifes. (“She loves flowers, as do I!” Huh laughs.) It is the Ironware International chandelier that perhaps best embodies Huh’s theme. Each individual shade was painted by her friends Alberto Villalobos, Audrey Margarite, Brett Williams, Danielle Armstrong and Danielle Colding, before the fixture itself was painstakingly installed.
Robert Passal’s room was based on a French 1940s salon. “We used a lot of the techniques they would have used in the 1940s,” he says. “Everything is plaster—all the trim, the molding. And then we modernized it by incorporating seamless technology.” Case in point: the speaker sound wafting through sheet rock, and the mirror television that easily dissolves when turned off. “Everything in the room is custom or vintage,” he explains, noting that most of the fabrics are from Schumacher. Stark Carpet provided its own contribution as well. Perhaps the most challenging element was the pink velvet sofa, which had to be sewn on-site (it arrived in four pieces). Passel admits with a laugh that they, meaning himself and his collaborator, Daniel Kahan Architecture, were the last ones done, thanks in no small part to their focus on doing pretty much everything by hand. Asked what his advice for next year’s class of participating designers might be, Passal says, “Just to do your thing and be yourself,” adding that there can be pressure at such show houses to reinvent the wheel. “I wanted to make [this room] livable and approachable.”
“Part of my professional life I spent at Christie’s,” Richard Rabel, the interior designer and former senior vice president of the esteemed auction house, tells AD PRO. “So all of my interiors projects I sort of see through that prism. When I got this space, I zeroed in on the Aesthetic Movement of the late 19th century.” Two icons of late-1800s design became particularly helpful sources for inspiration. The wallpaper is one seamless piece, which was constructed using hand-molded gesso as well as 23K white and yellow gold. Beyond the enlarged and somewhat abstract interpretation of peacock feathers, metallic touches continue in the form of small dots that extend in a sunburst formation across the ceiling, and down the adjacent walls.
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