at the 45th Annual
Kips Bay Decorator Show House
A visit to the Kips Bay Show house takes you on a journey through an upper east side, Manhattan Georgian mansion designed by 19th century architect Charles Platt. To me each year, this Show House raises the bar of what we collectively deem as the finest examples of design in the country. A show house is special in that there are no clients, so just like a fashion designer brings over the top design to the runway, a show house allows the architect and designer to use their imagination and make it a creative feast for the eyes and senses.
This year for the 45th annual Kips Bay Show House, eighteen of the most renowned interior designers and architects were given six weeks to transform their assigned space. After a celebratory Opening Gala where over 1,000 guests turned out to celebrate the exceptional designs, the house is now open for public viewing until June 1, 2017.
There are many beautifully appointed rooms, but there are four that especially captured our attention. Earlier in the fall, I gave a talk on opening day at NY NOW at the Jacob Javits Center about design trends I feel are emerging and growing in 2017, and these are four aesthetics and movements I identified after traveling to some of the finest design industry events and shows in the world this year, from Paris to London. One of the design concepts that keeps showing itself is a nuanced, layered and rich aesthetic with lots of detailing. It seems the days of minimalism are over for now, and we are embracing opulence but with a special attention to the artisan-made then layering that together in an un-decorated manner. This feels lived in and approachable yet sophisticated. It speaks of travel and tells the story of the homeowner through their collections, and their love for exotic materials from rich textiles to art. These four designers captured this movement the most in their spaces, and for that reason we are naming and showcasing them here today.
Much is expected from us designers in today's market and world, and we must be able to multi-task, adept at many skills from decorator to floral designer to social media expert. It is not an easy feat, but these talents certainly top our list of favorites, and please take a look at why...
The Kips Bay Decorator Show House
Tuesday & Thursday,
photo credit, Stephen Kent Johnson
It feels as if Cotton was inspired by Edith Wharton's "Old New York" and the aristocratic lifestyles of days gone by, and he sets the tone with this detailed Fromental wall paper. Is it bold to suggest the bedroom feels a bit melancholy? Cotton's intended client is an aging aristocrat, and one can almost imagine her pining over her journals from her luxurious past as she is surrounded by all her jewels from a life lived long ago. We think it's genius, and the home feels real and artistic. The splash of vibrant colors set against the dark bedding and moody aesthetic adds an interesting juxtaposition which takes the designs a cut above the average show house design.
San Francisco interior designer Ken Fulk brings creative layering to this elaborate dining room. Anchored with a rich, green lacquered trim and fireplace, he then combines the beautiful wallpaper panels with a theatrical and elaborately set table and all the while channeling the home of a fictitious and eccentric host from the 1960s who lived and entertained elaborately in her upper east side home. The detailed wallpaper panels by De Gournay show her predilection for the fantastical fascination with animals and then he combines that design with the cloud-painted ceiling, and it all starts to feel over the top (in a great way) and we wish to be an invited guest to this table. Ken and his team even arranged these beautiful, gorgeous flowers.
photo credit, Danny Ghitis-The New York Times
Richard's sitting room is layered and nuanced and feels like the home of well traveled, sophisticated client. He utilizes wares from places far and wide, and the 15th century Middle Eastern wallpaper paneling from London's Iksel Decorative Arts sets a beautiful tone. We feel at once transported to a Venetian Palace, as we stand upon this richly colored and detailed Turkish rug from our friends at F.J. Hakimian.
photo credit, Alan Barry Photography
photo credit, Danny Ghitis--The New York Times
Connecticut landscape architect Janice Parker wove together a rich story of bamboo and plantings, with a large moon gate constructed from pussy willow branches. This is the home and garden of the former Chinese Institute so Parker smartly channels travels to Asia with a glamorous Old Hollywood appeal. The red lanterns, bench and plantings add the right touch of needed drama.