A favorite destination for design inspiration, the annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House will be open seven days a week from May 1 to 31. This year’s sponsors include Kohler, AJ Madison, Hickory Chair, Hearst Design Group, Morgan Stanley, Farrow & Ball, Cambria, AKDO, The Rug Company, Schumacher, Architectural Digest, and 1st Dibs. Proceeds will benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.
The Show House has inspired interior design trends since its launch in 1973. This year’s 15,000-square-foot space at 110 East 76th Street is a must-see for design enthusiasts.
2018 Designer Room Descriptions and Inspirations
B.A. Torrey: “The Afterparty”
Walking into B. A. Torrey’s room is an experience intended to pique the senses. Luxurious textures fill the space—from the cerused oak of the custom millwork, brass of the stools and coffee table, crystal of the lamps, plush velvet and mohair of the upholstery, shimmery black and gold wheat inspired fabric of the Hermès throw pillows, and chunky honed stone of the fireplace and bar counter—this room is made to touch. The room is complete with a wrap-around bar, smoking terrace, deep sectional seating, and a fireplace.
Barbara Ostrom Associates: “Art and A La Carte”
Barbara Ostrom’s room is inspired by the brilliant use of color seen in art shows and museums during the past winter, and a library/dining room Ostrom saw in the home of avid art collectors. Ostrom said, “When I was given the dining room to design for Kips Bay this year, I decided to transform the room into the vivid sense of color and excitement I felt when viewing a great painting.”
Branca, Inc.: Master Bedroom
Alessandra Branca’s master bedroom is inspired by the sunshine of the south. The room’s sunny yellows and sky blues are warm and inviting. The room is large, allowing Branca to incorporate a seating area and a large king size bed. The art is a mix of a Roman still life painting, and a great Tina Barney landscape photograph. Branca said, “The whole point is that you could live in this bedroom…and should!”
Brian del Toro: “Laura’s Bedroom”
Brian del Toro’s bedroom was inspired by a vintage, hand-painted Robert Chowder screen from the 1960s, decorated with birds and flowers in soft natural tones and pale greens. The screen is a feminine focal point for the bedroom. Simple and elegant furniture pieces give the room a more contemporary feel. The walls are covered in a soft, modern, graphic print fabric from Quadrille, offering a modern counterpoint to the Robert Chowder screen.
Bunny Williams Inc.: “Gilded Knots”
Bunny Williams and Elizabeth Swartz contrasted the simple, light wood walls of their room with vibrant patterned furniture and accessories. The space features a tree painting, giving the room the tree house feel that the designers wanted. Williams and Swartz said, “Imagine that you have a very comfortable living room in a tree house, where you can look at the sky through gilded leaves and watch a spider make a giant cobweb.”
Clive Christian: Kitchen
Clive Christian’s kitchen features the contemporary Metro Deco cabinetry range, perfect for this Manhattan townhouse setting. The kitchen was designed using a combination of precision and technology and centuries old artisan techniques. Aqua dyed veneers tie in aqua leather lined cabinet backs, adding a pop of color to the warmth of the walnut, while two sparkling Baccarat crystal chandeliers add texture and movement to the space.
Dan Fink: “Diana’s Stair”
Dan Fink paired the iconic stair rail with a graphic and gilded wall covering, designed in collaboration with Gracie Studio. The room’s furnishings are both old and new. A romantic Italian bombe commode from Chinese Porcelain Company lends its storied past, flanked by the more stoic Sorney chairs. At its heart is a Leleu table that is a landing place of objects and memories collected with time, and a relief of the mythical huntress, Diana, shooting her arrow up the stair and into the sky. Fink said, “I wanted the space to have a quiet glamour, grace, and strength, as though the modern Diana might live here were she around today. It’s in their balance that all of her unique and beautiful pieces come to rest.”
David Netto Design LLC: Kitchen
David Netto’s kitchen is full of reds, inspired by Brooke Astor’s famous library, and Mario Buatta’s incredible room. Netto believes dark and glossy shades of red are glamorous. Netto said, “I love a room full of books, and any good decorator knows making something a library is the easiest route to success. I wrapped the books in mysterious white sleeves because I thought a Kips Bay house is all about dreams; dreaming of what a house will become, dreaming of who lives in this fantasy room.”
Drake | Anderson: Salon
Jamie Drake’s bold, yet nuanced palette of saffron, ochre, and umber envelope Drake/Anderson’s plush, luxurious salon. The room blends multiple design languages, including modernism and classicism, color and texture, and materiality and form. The 19th-Century English Regency mantle creates a classical focal point, and a contemporary mirror by Erwan Boulloud reflects the room’s rich coloring. The room is full of shimmering elements including chandelier crystals and beads and sequins on the upholstered walls. The salon is adorned with a large black and white abstract painting by Nicholas Carone, and works by James Walsh, Alfred Maurer, and Charlotte Park.
Juan Montoya Design: “The Moonlight Room”
Juan Montoya’s room is inspired by the night sky. He said, “When I gazed into the celestial sky one evening, a vision of this room appeared to me…I envisioned a space driven by cosmic forces united with elements from different eras throughout time.” An abstracted silhouette of the moon is reflected in the carpets and on the wall surfaces. Each piece was carefully curated, adding layer upon layer of depth to space and meaning. The early 20th century chandeliers contrast with the cubistic wall paneling, hanging like brilliant miniature moons in their own right.
Katie Ridder Inc.: Guest Bedroom
Katie Ridder’s guest bedroom room is a calm retreat from the hustle-bustle of New York City. The room is feminine, comfortable, and serene. The room features a four-poster bed by Anthony Laurence Belfair, and an Oushak carpet with reds, pinks, and blues that match the pink and red walls. Ridder said, “To add style to the functional necessities, I lacquered the bedside tables and upholstered the headboard and footboard in faux fur. The coloring of the fabrics from pink to green to yellow plays off the pink walls, and special details like the curvy teddy bear fringe on the Roman shades suggest a whimsical spirit. The result, I hope, is a room my guest would be happy to return to after a stimulating day in the city.”
Marcia Tucker Interiors: Dressing Room; Master Bathroom
Marcia Tucker’s dressing room is a staging area for the fashion lover who loves to plan her look of the day. Inspired by Barneys Fashion Director Marina Larroude, the dressing room is filled with a playful mix of iconic and of-the-moment pieces from Barneys. Tucker upholstered the walls in sumptuous Dedar fabric. This dressing room is full of authenticity and personality, whilst remaining timeless.
Tucker’s master bathroom is a peaceful sanctuary, designed to ensure complete relaxation, focused on personal wellness and offering escape from the distractions and chaos of daily life. The bathroom is modern, and includes a spa, sanctuary, recharging station, and an art gallery. The bathroom also features a wall of live greenery from Magnaflora, rose gold fixtures from Kohler, accessories from Hermès, and a light sculpture by Arturo Alvarez.
Mark D. Sikes: “Sleeping Beauty”
Mark D. Sikes’ boudoir is fit for a princess. The room features a custom hand-painted Gracie scene, and antiques from James Sansum that once belonged to C.Z. Guest and Bunny Mellon. The room is beautiful, comfortable, and inviting; the ideal place to rest, read a book, write a note, or even have a drink. Delicate Porcelain flowers by Valdimir Kanevsky sit adjacent to modern art by Kit Reuther. The room embodies timeless style and glamour.
Mark Hampton, LLC: “Olympia Folly”
Alexa Hampton’s room was born out of her ever enthusiastic and growing neo-classicist tic. Hampton said, “Clearly, I have seen Gladiator one too many times. The interior furnishings of my Mediterranean oasis are filled with what are, to me, the necessary, final visual tropes for this fantasy to be complete: animal skin patterns evoking the hunt and rich, sumptuous fabrics and trimmings, fit for a king.”
Michael Herold Design: Foyer
As one steps into the entry foyer of this year’s Kips Bay Showhouse, they are instantly transported into a place far from the hustle and bustle of city life. Michael Herold’s room is inspired by his recent travels to Europe. He chose a Nicolas Poussin inspired 17th century landscape wallpaper by Iksel Decorative Arts to adorn the walls. A strategically placed wall of mirrors gives the illusion of an infinite countryside landscape. The room also features an Alexander McQueen Monarch rug in smoke tones to help ground the entry foyer and to juxtapose abstract forms with the traditional landscape wall mural. Matching antique bachelor chests flank each side of the room, creating dynamic focal points for displaying collections of modernist sculptures and art. The walls and ceiling are decorated with gold leaf light fixtures to add richness and depth to the room.
Nievera Williams Design: “Garden Terrace”
Mario Niviera collaborated with Schumacher to design an outdoor space. The garden design is inspired by Schumacher’s ‘Citrus Garden’ pattern and the design work of Josef Frank. Lush plantings, and climbing vines are evocative of the fun, playful, and cartoon like images within the fabric. The dark, modern outdoor furniture contrasts with the organic, jungle-like planting. Niviera said, “We believe the garden, as an extension of the home, should be designed to bring joy to our everyday lives!”
Pavarini Design: “Home Wellness Retreat”
Charles Pavarini III’s Home Wellness Retreat for mind, body, and spirit balances residential interior design concepts with Ayurvedic elements to unify the design vision through the physical and metaphysical. Each element within the space was carefully chosen to be non-competitive and rooted in the ancient philosophies of well-being to promote a luxury environment that gives individuals the opportunity to relax. The harmony created by the relaxing sound of water trickling into the pool, the sight of lush greenery from the private garden, and the nourishing effects from liquid fasting and juicing fosters a healthy routine. Pavarini said, “It’s our responsibility as interior designers to ease the spirit and to make people feel good about themselves by bringing function, great design, and peace to their home environment.”
Phillip Mitchell Design: “The Drawing Room”
Philip Mitchell’s drawing room is inspired by the history of family and the love of collections. Mitchell said, “I grew up split between a traditional family home in the Canadian countryside and the urban contemporary sprawl of Los Angeles. In either reality, I was surrounded by luxurious details: antiques, custom upholstery, window coverings and cushions in fabrics that were rare or hand-woven artistry and even lampshades that were bespoke. My mother made each space about comfort first.” Mitchell used different art collections to personalize the space and inspire a sense of intimacy.
Sasha Bikoff: Staircase
Sasha Bikoff’s space is inspired by the simple shapes and motifs—zig-zags, polka dots, squiggles, and pyramidal triangles—in the work of Memphis Milano designers Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini. The space’s walls embody a contemporary feel while still complementing the existing colors, shapes and movement. The space includes large photographs of supermodels, rappers, and pop stars, and vintage light fixtures. Bikoff said, “When I was first presented with the opportunity to design the staircase in the famed Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy feat, especially because the space itself was a challenge in its layout. I wanted it to be both aesthetically pleasing to the guests and meaningful to the kids of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.”
Scott Sanders LLC: “A Powder Room with Personality”
Scott Sanders’ powder room is decidedly masculine, with a “gentleman’s library” aesthetic. This room is the perfect place to escape from the maddening crowd to exchange a bit of gossip, touch up lipstick, or straighten a tie. The walls are covered in de Gournay’s new bas relief “Labrado” wallpaper. The powder room features dramatic black Kohler fixtures and extraordinary photography and fine art, including Harry Benson’s iconic 1964 shot of the Beatles’ Pillow Fight at the Plaza Hotel and a pair of exquisite 18th century Goya etchings.
Steilish Interiors & Architecture: “A Room with a View”
Stefan Steil’s space is inspired by the lush romance of Italy, the unending pursuit of beauty and joy, and a pronounced love of nature and form. This room is a transitional space in which to leave the city behind. The small sitting room is meant for tranquility and contemplation. This space is L-shaped and windowless. It features a Markus Brunetti’s oversized photograph of Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta in Siena, which functions as a “window.” The room’s pink marble bench reinterprets garden seating, a place to take off one’s shoes and remove any remnants of the outdoors. A collection of vintage wooden walking sticks mounted above the bench hints at the room’s original purpose—a mudroom. The space reinforces an appreciation for the constant interaction between indoors and out, and reminds people that there is always something to admire in each.
Wesley Moon Inc.: Bar and Pantry
Wesley Moon’s space includes three separate rooms: a wet bar, a butler’s pantry, and an elevator landing. Moon said, “My goal was to create one cohesive design to unify all three areas while still maintaining the purpose of each.” The wet bar is a decidedly masculine space. Moon incorporated a large amount of architectural lighting to make the bar glow. The countertop and back wall are covered in a dark Belgian Bluestone. Digital wallpaper murals cover the walls, and the room is finished off with significant contemporary furniture and lighting fixtures, as well as artwork that is also a modern twist on historical imagery.
The Butler’s Pantry is a modern take on a gilded age butler’s pantry. The room features a glass-front china cabinet lined with a citrus Holland & Sherry silk to house a stunning set of China by Richard Ginori. The cabinet is centered on the doorway for dramatic effect and to entice visitors to come on in. To offset the dark masculinity of the wet bar, Moon gave this room white marble floors from Akdo.
The elevator landing is a small but highly visible space. The space has a large Bill Cunningham mirror festooned with feathers. The walls are covered in faint gold paper, and the ceiling is covered in a handmade paper by Holland & Sherry, all topped off with a Ted Abramczyk chandelier.