Some of the country’s top designers worked their magic on a huge, double-wide $30 million townhouse in New York City for the 47th annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House. The event is a major fundraiser for the Kips Bay Boy & Girls Club, and this year was located at 36-38 East 74th Street on the city’s Upper East Side. The show house is a major design event that Architectural Digest has called “arguably the most important show house within the design community, and serves as a rite of passage for new and veteran interior designers.”
Homedit got a peek at all 22 of the amazing rooms on five floors of this 12,425-square-foot rare 40’ double-width Georgian townhouse. The levels are all connected by a magnificent circular staircase and the house includes 10 wood-burning fireplaces, an art studio with 17-foot ceilings and a serene private garden. Built in 1920, it was once owned by George Whitney and later Dorothy Hearst Paley, who was immortalized by Matisse.
Richard Rabel Interiors + Art, Ltd.
Dark and dramatic, the moody entryway design was inspired by the Peacock Room by Richard Rabel Interiors + Art, Ltd. along with the London home of Lord Frederic Leighton. The peacock-like design that extends up the staircase is made from one seamless piece of canvas, hand-painted and embellished with gold. The dots on the wall are repeated in a playful rug that goes up to the second story
Next to the staircase, the entry alcove includes a stylish bench and artwork against a wall also done in a hand-crafted, seam-free wall covering that Rabel says took more than a half-dozen people to apply to the walls and ceiling. The bespoke wallpaper was then embellished with lines of gold dots that carry through the metallic and dot themes. Altogether, it is a jaw-dropping entrance.
Jim Dove Design
Transformed from a standard wet bar area, this stunning Champagne Bar sits just off the entryway near the kitchen. Dove explains that he envisioned the space as “an intimate and luxurious refuge from a grand soiree or a private hideaway for a conspiratorial tete-a-tete over a last glass of champagne.” The entire space is aglow from the Cambria quartz countertop and the Kohler sink, thanks to underlighting. The walls are covered with a new Schumacher wallcovering that looks like silk moiré and has a marvelous texture. The artwork is composed of real film from the iconic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and was created by Alan Strack of Light Reel who debuted his work at the 2019 AD Design Show.
When looking down the center of the four-story spiral staircase, it’s hard to say what is more spectacular: The suspended sculpture that includes 4,000 hand-crafted brass cherry blossoms each held in place with a crystal or the custom rug that runs down the curved stairs and onto the landing of the second story. Designed by Brian Gluckstein and executed by The Rug Company, he says that it was inspired by the border on a Japanese fan. At the top of the stairwell, a round Georgian skylight window is at the center and the designer had to devise a support structure to serve as a base for the suspension without cutting off the light or the view of the window.
The walls of the staircase and the second-floor landing area are covered with grasscloth by Schumacher. To further embellish the space, Gluckstein enlisted Artist Cristina Pepe to add the beautiful custom painted detailing. The artist used a dry brush technique to paint the design all while renovation work was going on. The resulting details have amazing depth and intricacy.
Kitchen designer Christopher Peacock set out to pay homage to the kitchen in his childhood home in England while giving it a masculine flavor. The stunning dark gray cabinetry is paired with substantial hardware that features wood as well as shagreen leather-covered handles. The Cambria-topped custom-built island is large and very functional. What appears to be two windows are actually the spaces where they used to be before the renovation, which left the space windowless The designer recreated them using lighting and mirrors to achieve the illusion.
The focal point of the magnificent kitchen is the backsplash, which is actually made of paper-thin slices of English flint stones, arranged into a kind of mosaic. The earthy, natural colors are ideal for the space and the stone mosaic is also used across the room behind the coffee bar.
Jeff Lincoln Interiors, Inc.
Jeff Lincoln Interiors, Inc. transformed his classically formed space into a living room meant for art lovers, in which every piece is a special design. He used many pieces from his own gallery, Jeff Lincoln Art + Design, which focuses on new works by living contemporary artists. Design aficionados will recognize many of the items by Nendo and the Campagna Brothers, along with lighting and furniture by Jeff Zimmerman and Rogan Gregory of R & Company.
The fireplace is a custom fabrication by Chapter & Verse of Brooklyn, which was subsequently embellished with the “otherwordly” design by artist Yolande Batteau from the Callidus Guild.
The large and open living room features bay windows and is anchored by the “Lagoon” rug by Paul Robinson for the Rug Company. The walls are coated in Venetian plaster, which creates a neutral backdrop for all the artistic furnishings in the room.
Much of the content in this room is personally owned by the designer Charlotte Moss, from the textiles to the accessories and furnishings. Many items were acquired during travel, which clearly informs the room’s decor. Moss was inspired by the fabric on the bed, which then led to the other textile choices covering the walls and the windows. In addition to the bed area, there is a writing desk and a sitting area, both groupings being distinct from the others in terms of design.
Katherine Newman Design
Katherine Newman Design was named “The Pink Dragon Study” by the designer and has a very clean nature. More geometric elements and a lack of drapes distinguish the room. Numerous important pieces make up the furnishings and the lines in the pattern of the rig are repeated on the modern marquetry walls, punctuated by butterfly clips.
Designer Paloma Contreras was very taken with the bones of this room and drew on its features to create a personal study for the lady of the house. To highlight the millwork, she used it to frame panels of wallpaper by deGournay, turning them into the focal point of each wall. The mix of details and furnishings is emblematic of Contreras’ “modern-meets-traditional” style. Silk moiré drapes in a stunning shade of green — inspired by Valentino’s most recent haute couture show — help showcase the panels.
Pappas Miron Design
Walls upholstered in a rich teal velvet accent a room dominated by a floor-to-ceiling brown terrazzo fireplace. The large element was not something the designers could eliminate so they decided to embrace it, turning it into a stunning central feature for the sitting room. Brightened by the beautiful antique carpet that anchors the room, the space feels luxurious and comfortable. Above the sofa a playful painting adds an additional dose of European flair.
Adjacent to the sitting room is a bathroom, where the star of the decor is a gorgeous stone sink, fabricated by Stone Solutions in Yonkers, New York. The deep, rectangular basin is a full unity with a backsplash, shelf and stone-framed mirror that is truly one-of-a kind.
Peter Pennoyer Architects
When design director Peter Pennoyer Architectsl welcomed us into this room, she said it was designed as a guest room for a Parisian houseguest. The walls are covered with Schumacher’s Le Castellet fabric and the curtains are made from it as well. The designers retained the magnificent, embellished fireplace but painted it in a great metallic finish. In addition to the great prints and artwork throughout the space, the real pop comes from the saffron-colored sofa, a hue repeated on the interior of the bed’s canopy. Layered sisal and Swedish carpet lay a soft and textured base for the room.
Robert Passal Interior Design and Daniel Kahan Architecture
Inspired by the serene salons of Paris in the 1940’s these designers created a living room filled with a mix of custom and vintage pieces — as well as plenty of invisible technology. This pink sofa is one of the custom pieces created for the room and had to be assembled and sewn on-site. To keep the television from marring the space, it is actually set into a mirror above the fireplace and quite literally disappears when not in use. Design by Robert Passal Interior Design and Daniel Kahan Architecture.
Sarah Bartholomew Design
Sarah Bartholomew Design that strikes you upon entering this room is the wall covering — and it’s a disservice to call it a wallcovering. The fluted plaster walls, which also are made to curve as they meet the ceiling, are a major architectural feature in a generally boxy space. With such a transformative element in place, the color palette is neutral, putting the focus on the art and minimal furnishings, especially the marvelous lounge.
With an entrance hall like this, no one can pass y without being enticed to enter. Designed as a boudoir with Marlene Dietrich in mind, the space is sensuous and dramatic. The deGournay hand-painted mural puts the focus on the aubergine-hued claw-foot bathtub set on a marble base. To the right of the tub is a fireplace and a custom-fitted corner sofa. On the other side is a custom bar and vanity along with a separate bathroom.
Vicente Wolf Associates
The designer’s overhaul of the breakfast room created a different kind of space he calls “The Dreaming Room.” The focal point is the modern Kohler tub set before the fireplace. The deep color of the aubergine walls creates a dramatic yet soothing backdrop for the space, which is set on the main floor adjacent to the garden entrance. Across from the tub, an oversized mirror reflects the half-banquette, increasing the perceived dimensions of the room. A curving grass-green rug is like a magical path, leading to the door to the garden.
Young Huh LLC
To say that the space transformed into Huh’s “Young at Art” atelier was challenging to design would be an understatement. Oddly shaped with a high ceiling, a row of windows and a bathroom, it’s amazing to see that it became this bold space. Set against a bold and multicolored wallcovering by Fromental’s Brock, the designer added to the space by curating additional bold artworks. Huh notes that all the works are hung unframed and is a casual way to emphasize the feeling of a studio. The windows are framed with voluminous drapes that feature a bold vertical black and white stripe.
The challenging format of the area included a bathroom, so Huh used the black and white of the drapes to tie in with the larger room. Using multiple tile patterns in the bath echoes the bold graphics used in the main room without adding color to the mix — except for the gorgeous floral arrangement.
Eve Robinson Associates
Another homage to Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own,” this woman’s sanctuary is a serene space to work as well as friends and family. The room is a mix of vintage and contemporary that come together in a calming and gently feminine space that is, above all, welcoming. Instead of using the Miriam Ellner fireplace as it was intended, Robinson turned it into a rosé bar with a seating area, conveniently outfitted with stylish side tables. The sofa in front of the desk is a custom piece upholstered in a sumptuous cream and accented with muted tones that add softness.
Cullman & Kravis Associates, Inc.
“Rhapsody in Blue” is the theme for this dining room, which has been redefined for a more modern era. At the center is a round dining table that is paired with custom circular benches, adorned with textural metallic paint on the back of the velvet upholstery. The streaks of gold are a nod to the hand-crafted golden porcelain dots by Dougall Paulson’s Ebb and Flow that are scattered across the deep, moody midnight blue lacquered walls like stars across the galaxy. These were attached one-by-one in a custom arrangement. Drapes with custom golden borders embroidered down the edges frame the bay windows and across the room from the fireplace, this stunning cabinet again echoes the themes of swirling galaxies in the night.
Corey Damen Jenkins and Associates, LLC
What was supposed to be a gentleman’s study turned into a lady’s library at the hands of Jenkins. From the dark, moody floral wallcovering on the ceiling to the custom drapes inspired by a Jean Paul Gaultier gown, the space is bright and colorful while managing to be very refined as well. The walls are painted in a gloss tinted the palest blush hue while the furniture has clean, contemporary lines and provides bold doses of color in the room. The entire room is intended to celebrate the women who run the world, “from the household to Capitol Hill — and everything in between.”
J Cohler Mason Design
This living room is designed for a New York family that loves art, says Mason. And with New York residence come the radiators, that are often the unsightly element in the room. To conquer that, the designer created a window seat with a waterfall top that hides the radiator and adds lots of room for sitting and lounging. The marvelous channeled sofa and brass and onyx light fixture are both from Todd Merrill Studio and the multi-piece coffee table from Studio van den Akker. Behind the sofa is a bar unit with a wine refrigerator that is topped with Cambria.
Matthew Monroe Bees
In his debut at Kips Bay, Matthew Monroe Bees called up all the southern style he could muster and imagined he was decorating a room for Drayton Hall, an 18th-century estate in his hometown of Charleston, South Caroline. The resulting space is opulent and full of special pieces he brought from Charleston, including an 1860s desk. The eclectic mix of periods and current pieces brighten the muted colors of the past.
Delaney + Chin
Opening the back door of the home lays out a magnificent and private garden area made for entertaining or just relaxing with the family. Using the crushed stone that often lays the groundwork for gardens in Provence, the designers created an easy-care area that includes fixed and portable seating as well as sets of boule for a game of pétanque. Draping and the clever use of mirrors make the most of the garden borders and corners. Chilewich rugs cover the surface of the patio, which has plenty of seating and artwork that blends the themes of the garden.
Two large fountains are placed in opposite corners of the yard, each fashioned from the discarded baffle of a tanker truck. With a little welding and a pump, the metal — once destined for the trash heap — is transformed into a large and dramatic fountain.
On the deck, friends and family (and pets!) can enjoy the heated seat by Galanter and Jones, which can be used year-round to extend the enjoyment of the outdoor space.
These photos provide a glimpse of the stunning designs that have been created for this month-long showhouse. Each room has its own personality and distinctive decor, making it a real treat for the senses.