Every year, the staff here at Kathy Kuo Home and The Kuotes joins around 15,000 other attendees at the Kips Bay Decorator’s Show House. For anyone unfamiliar, think of it as the Olympics for interior designers (without the trumpet music or Coca-Cola sponsorship). This year, 23 elite designers were given just six weeks to transform their space into a showstopping design, each staged within the glamorous limestone mansion that is the Carlton House townhouse at 19 East 61st Street, currently on the market for $49.5 million dollars. In an interesting twist from last year’s show house, this year each room was remodeled and handed off as a plain white box, so the designers were also put in charge of the molding, trim, and architectural details (and wait until you see how some designers solved for this!). For those of you who couldn’t make the show (or if you just want to relive the experience), here are our twelve favorite show house standouts. Enjoy!
Entrance Hall, designed by David Collins Studio
Enter the show house, and you are immediately saturated in romantic, poignant blues (Cook’s Blue by Farrow & Ball, to be precise). The look instantly reminds us of our Regal Royal lookbook. Designed by David Collins Studio, the entrance hall was inspired by the enduring English style of Edwin Lutyens paneled room at the Berkeley Hotel in London. For a quick design history refresh, Lutyens was a British architect remembered for his imaginative adaptations of traditional architecture and his paramount role in the construction of New Delhi. The scarlet sconces used above are actually custom pieces designed by Lutyens’ living granddaughter.
Dining Room, designed by Alex Papachristidis Interiors
Let’s start this paragraph with a …woah! Can somebody say extravagant? Alex Papachristidis, the designer of the room, is renowned for his arresting, elegant interiors that meld together classical motifs with modern perspective and sophistication. Needless to say, Papachristidis (say that three times fast) did not hold back this year at Kips Bay. Gilded finishes, a dining table with a glistening ceramic base, and an oversized, golden-glazed gourd stand out in this nuanced and cultivated approach to ostentation. Notice how the chairs are encrusted with alligator skin, and even the custom wallpaper has been enlarged to play with scale and offer a sense of grandeur. It’s no shock that Papachristidis has appeared numerous times on the AD100 list and Elle Decor’s “25 A-List Interior Designers.”
Family Room, designed by Suzanne Kasler Interiors
Author of two design books and creator of several signature lines, Suzanne Kasler soothed us with her calming family room that lives up to the name she bestowed upon it: “Sophisticated Simplicity. ” The space is filled with antiques from Paris flea markets. And the muted palette, clean lines, and airy furniture placement tailors the room for a feeling of casual classic elegance.
Staircase and Landing, designed by Kati Curtis
“I want to create beauty that borders on the spiritual, and create an uplifting experience for those who walk through the space.”
This hand-painted, chinoiserie-inspired wall panel by de Gournay brings this landing to life and transforms as it continues up the stairs. Curtis wanted show house visitors to have a spiritual journey as they climbed the staircase Curtis named “The Path to Enlightenment.” The hallway dressers flanking the threshold are bone inlay antiques, but you can get the look with our Aiden dresser.
Salon, designed by Sawyer | Berson
A personal favorite for many of us at Kathy Kuo Home was this luxe and moody salon designed by the award-winning duo Brian Sawyer and John Berson. As soon as you step inside, you melt over the yummy textures and rich palette. Inspired by Milan’s 1930s Villa Necchi Campiglio, the salon is grounded with a chunky terrazzo floor and surrounded by deep emerald, Venetian plaster walls. This salon was also home to perhaps the most standout art in the entire show house (although Gil Walsh’s powder room, featured below, is competing with the startlingly large portrait of Jennifer Lopez). The oil paintings in the salon above are originals by Andrea Vaccaro and sit in gilded frames on a brass panel—mixing metals at its finest.
Making a pit stop at this jewel box powder room designed by Gil Walsh. We love the placement of the art reflecting cleverly off the round mirror. Because if there’s anything better than J Lo…it’s two J Lo’s.
Living Room, designed by Victoria Hagan Interiors
In a world where futurism meets coastal Americana comes Victoria Hagan’s striking living room. The chimneypiece here is made into a bold, red lacquered statement piece in an otherwise clean, white room. As a fun detail, Hagan also sewed LED lights into the curtains for a stark and unexpected technological touch.
Master Bedroom, designed by Timothy Whealon
This dreamy master bedroom imagines new ways to play with pattern and geometry. Whealon said he drew his inspiration from English country homes and David Adler (an architect renowned for over 27 country homes he built in Chicago in addition to the breathtaking Castle Hill in Massachusetts, his most famous work). From the fun print on the four-poster canopy to the chinoiserie garden stools (get the look) to the high relief plaster branches and leaves on the wall—the amalgam of shapes and color at work in this room is executed to perfection.
Home Office, designed by Phillip Thomas Inc.
This small space, which Phillip Thomas affectionately named the “Lady Lair,” was made big with a radiant ceiling in a pink gloss and vibrant graffiti work done by Andrew Tedesco Studios over the fabric-covered walls. Inspired by his mother, the room creatively braves together acrylic, lacquer, gold leaf, mirror, and every color of the rainbow! “Don’t be afraid to mix colors and prints,” Thomas told us as we entered the room—a word of advice he truly took to heart. We mean… how cool is the upholstery below?
Lounge, designed by Garrow Kedigian
“It’s about something that is fleeting… Kips Bay is only here for a minute. We’re only here for a moment.”
We swooned over this dark and moody “Napoleon’s Lounge” the moment we walked in and… brushed away the walls? That’s because all of the trompe l’oeil paneling featured here was chalked onto the blackboard paint by artist Rajiv Surendra (Sound familiar? When Surendra is not spending his time as a calligraphy artist, he works as an actor most notable for his role as mathlete Kevin Gnapoor in Mean Girls). Kedigian encourages everyone to touch the walls, as the room was inspired by the idea of impermanence (and, of course, Napoleon). In a quote for the NYT, Kedigian said, “It’s about something that is fleeting… Kips Bay is only here for a minute. We’re only here for a moment.”
Guest Bedroom, designed by Olasky & Sinsteden
Twin beds are coming back, and they’re great for the guest room! Maximilian Sinstden and Catherine Olasky prove it in their peaceful bedroom retreat complete with antique furniture, fresh flowers, and a soothing palette—all great ideas for preparing your guest room for the summer. These standout, towering canopy beds add height to the space, and they are upholstered in a gorgeous Fermoie fabric that juxtaposes beautifully with the beachy fabric from Warner Textile Archive in Essex, England that covers the walls.
Bedroom, designed by Drake/Anderson
In a debut design for Drake/Anderson (a brand new firm merging superstar design duo Drake Design Associates and Caleb Anderson Design) comes this dusty grey palette peppered with hints of glamour. Our eyes were immediately drawn to the Baguès crystal chandelier, the lavender, glacier-esque sculpture, and the undulating velvet chaises. But it’s the meticulous details that truly make the room special, like the gainage-wrapped moldings in a sleek, silvery fabric.
Art Library, designed by Eve Robinson Associates
According to the designer Eve Robinson, this new age art library was designed to be a “space for reflection and enrichment.” The structural light fixture with the egg-like lights was designed by Robinson herself and looks perfect against the most distinguishing feature of the room—the Trove wallpaper that was made to look like the surface of Mars. You know we love a good wallpapered ceiling, so it’s unsurprising that we were blown away by this room’s understated sophistication.
What was your favorite room? Let us know and tell us why in the comment section below!