Always anticipated and never disappointing, the Kips Decorator Show House is the high interior design benchmark on which the spotlight shines brightest. While there is never an overarching theme, the latest edition (now through May 31, 2019) somehow inspires journeys, both literally and metaphorically. Even the act of traversing from room to room is a tour across time and destinations unknown while never having to leave the confines of 36-38 E74th Street. It’s the kind of staycation of which dreams are made. This year’s venue, (designed by architecture firm D&J Jardine in 1870) stands along the street’s row of Italianate brownstones, and was, in 1948, the property of Dorothy Hearst Paley. Because it consists of formerly two townhouses, its 14,000 sq-foot bones, 23 interior designers and architects were able to lavish their creativity and skills across several horizontal spaces (as opposed to the more commonly vertical ones of a sole townhouse).
The gallery entry by Richard Rabel welcomes with a soft gray seamless wallcovering, dotted by metallic details that radiate through the space; while the blue carpeting and the wall at the base of the staircase are punctuated by patterns that suggest the feathers of a peacock. Brian Gluckstein transitions smoothly up the rest of the four-story spiraling stairs with pale blue grasscloth walls, custom blue carpeting with a medallion motif, and crowned by a spectacular thirty-foot mobile of hand-crafted and strung brass cherry blossoms that reaches all the way up to the overhead oculus skylight. Tucked away between the reception hall and another room, Jim Dove makes optimum use of a small area which he envisioned as a jewel box of a wet bar where the likes of Lee Radziwill and Truman Capote might indulge in a little tete-a-tete over a glowing Cambria quartz counter, a beautifully cut glass vessel from Kohler, and sips of champagne.
A dining room by Cullman & Kravis Associates’ convention defying re-design of a square room served up a circular table to pull everyone together for a more congenial way of dining while basking the splendor of modern accoutrements. Damian and Britt Zunino, on the other hand, offer an equally unexpected treat with a dark clawfoot tub down the center sightline of a hall that leads into the bathroom with a boudoir attitude. The deep green walls and the de Gournay murals add to the notion of being in a luxurious jungle. On Robert Passal and Daniel Kahan’s leg of the itinerary, it’s Paris where Mr. Passal has assembled a meticulous mix of vintage and bespoke contemporary pieces into a salon for the mind and spirit.
Next stop is South Carolina for Matthew Monroe Bees’ rich interpretation of what a room might look like today at Drayton Hall. Mr. Bees ably balances heritage and modernity with chinoiserie, French burgers, and details that encapsulates some of the best Charleston has to offer. And then, there’s Charlotte Moss’ bedroom, the ideal sanctuary for any vagabond. She has brought together palampores from the Nile, a Dutch lantern, a Chinese screen, baskets from Tanzania, Mongiardino ginghams, a rug from India, a secretaire from Sweden, all of which harmoniously share a space from which to gather memories or better still – dream about the next journey.
The 47th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House raises funds to benefit its local youth development center in the Bronx and flagship of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that has served the community’s youth for over 100 years. Other participating interior designers and architects include Christopher Peacock, Corey Damen Jenkins and Associates, LLC., Eve Robinson Associates, Jeff Lincoln Interiors, Inc., J. Cohler Mason Design, Katherine Newman Design, Paloma Contreras Design, Pappas Miron Design, Peter Pennoyer Architects, Sarah Bartholomew Design, LLC., Sheila Bridges Design, Inc., Vicente Wolf Associates, and Young Huh LLC.