Friday, May 22, 2015

Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2015

The view of NYC and the river from my MIL's apartment in Fort Lee, NJ.

We were in New Jersey last weekend visiting relatives. On Saturday I took the ferry across the river to Manhattan for ICFF and the Kips Bay Decorator Show House. I love the ferry. Seven minutes on the water and you're in Midtown.

I have yet to sit outside. Photo from the NY Waterway site.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club. The Club's nine Bronx locations provide 10,000 kids with after-school and enrichment programs in reading, math, homework help, computer literacy, career exploration and the arts. Jennifer Lopez and Kerry Washington are alumnae.

In its 43rd year, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House is the Club's signature fund raiser and the premier event of the design world. Where else can we get an up close and personal look at work by legendary and soon-to-be legendary designers -- under one roof. This year's venue is the Arthur Sachs Mansion on East 66th. Open daily until June 11th, the five storey Sachs Mansion is nothing short of fabulous.

I toured the house last Saturday, May 16th. Except where noted, all pictures by me.

The first floor. Jamie Drake's octagonal foyer.

The tension and drama of contemporary power.
I took this with my phone.

My first impression was, hmm, a bit edgy. Followed by, ah ha! This foyer is Manhattan! Strength, statement art, finest materials, superior workmanship, "I'm doing it because I can" and an antique mirror as a reminder of the gilded and raucous history that brought us to this spot today. Give me enough time and I'll put a spin on anything. Maybe I should have gone into politics.

Ayala Surfaty's glass and polymer art/light sculpture hangs from the ceiling. Its soft glow reflected by the Japanese mica (not just any mica, Japanese mica) flecked walls. Herve Van der Straeten's Psychose Console from Ralph Pucci. A Chihuly vase. Nothing is nameless.

Ayala Surfaty's light sculpture in Jamie Drake's foyer. Like crystal formations. I took this pic with my phone. 

The glitz and power of the foyer gives way to the restraint of an elegantly simple hall by Ronald J. Bricke. The incredible floating staircase climbs five storeys.

Another phone pic. It is not a big space.
This hall was packed with people. Here's the NYT photo by Bill Buck.

Halima Cassell's hand-carved stoneware sculpture sits on a modern pedestal next to an antique Klismos chair.
Mural by Vesna Bricelj. NYT

At this point the docents encouraged the visitors to start the tour on the 5th floor. Uncharacteristically I complied. But we'll stay on the first floor and my phone pics for this post.

Walking through the hall brings us to the kitchen and reading nook.

Kitchen by Christopher Peacock features a "live edge" wood countertop. It looks like burled walnut but it is really English Wych Elm by Grothouse.
Love the plaid AKDO tile backsplash.

The Arthur Sachs Mansion is a townhouse, long and narrowish. Lighting is everything in a house with no side windows.

Brass pendants from Remains Lighting hang above the kitchen island.

The breakfast table is well lit by another brass fixture; the large window looks out on the garden. The little round mirrors are great light reflectors. I imagine these are quite welcome on a cloudy day.  

If lighting is everything in a house with no windows, tied for second place are reflective surfaces and the warmth of gold.

Beyond the kitchen at the bottom of the rear stairs, lies a tiny fantasia of a nook orchestrated by Bennett Leifer Interiors. Scheherazade and Princess Moonlight share a book and a pot of tea under a shooting star. Under a magic star. And couldn't we all use a magic star?

A carved rock crystal or quartz chandelier. I need one.

This fairy tale is set in New York. Angles, edges and art as furniture required.

All art is a labor of love. Some may call this hand painted paper "really nice wallpaper." Or is it art?

Japanese Garden on gold gilded wallpaper with bronze pearlescent antiquing by de Gournay.
Hand painted.
That's it for the first floor.

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Summer is finally here in New England. I'm off to the paint store and then the garden.

Thanks for reading,
Linda Pakravan


  1. Wow. It's life and aesthetics on a whole different plane. I wouldn't want to live in it, but you've presented the photos in such a way that at least I understand why these show houses happen. Thank you.

    1. You hit the nail on the head. A whole different plane. Or planet. The best show houses are the ones that might not be the "prettiest" but the ones that spur us on to think and look at things differently.

  2. Anonymous28.5.15

    Here In Richmond, we have an annual Symphony Designer House which I always attend for those few rooms which simply blow me away. Much is so over the top that It doesn't appeal personally, but I so appreciate the talent and hard work which goes into creating them. In this lovely tour you've provided us, I am so drawn to the Japanese Garden wallpaper. Just exquisite. And so is your MIL's view. Wow!

    1. Glad to hear you support your local House! Hope you share your pics from your next one.


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