If you want to peek through an interior designer’s eye, the best place to go is to a designer show house. The Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club is hosting their annual fundraising Decorator Show House and it promises to be a visual treat for the senses. This year’s Show House is located in a neo-Federal mansion in New York’s Upper East side neighborhood. Its original owners included clothier Maurice Brill, and John Hay Whitney, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom and financial titan. Current owner Disque D. Deane - a real estate investor and philanthropist - has generously offered his home as the site of the 2011 Kips Bay Decorator Show House.
The mansion interiors boasts deep golden Norfolk-pine paneled rooms in its original design. Designer Celerie Kemble envisioned for the library a lighter mood and updated it to more contemporary tastes (see photo above). Using a bright spring palette, she added bursts of color around the room. Above the fireplace is British painter Hugo Grenville's Still Life with Equestrian Figure, suffused with a sunny glow. The tête-a-tête seating is custom-upholstered in vivid pink and the surrounding armchairs and sofa in cream fabrics, creating an airiness of what would have been a somber library. Crowning the room is a stunning skyscape in verre eglomise by Miriam Ellner, made from gilded glass of gold leaf and blue tones.
The hallways of the four-story mansion are also dressed to impress. Designer Wayne Nathan decorated the first and second floor halls with graphic prints and retro pop furniture. Presenting a pop of color, a hot pink acrylic table displays a tablescape of cherry blossoms and flowers on the main floor. Surrounding the stairs, whimsical box-cutouts fly across the walls.
Interior Designer Barbara Ostrom provided the romantic touch to the Show House. The original room was drab and small and Ostrom transformed it to a glorious French 18th century-inspired bedroom. Period moulding and the elegant fireplace is provided by Marut Custom Woodworking. The star of the bedroom is a canopied high bed draped in silver-blue Osborne & Little fabric. Drawing your eye upward is a sky mural and starburst painted by Diane Worner.
Inspired by the children of the mansion’s former owner, John Hay Whitney, Designer Harry Heissman created K's Hideaway, a fantasy bedroom for kids to feel at home in. Dominated by a towering giraffe in the corner, the bedroom is filled with visual candy. The floating lucite bed by Charles Hollis Jones is illuminated from beneath and covered with a rainbow zigzag bed throw. An E.T. pillow sits on a Lilly Pulitzer fabric-covered wing chair. To create the mood of an intimate retreat and a place for the eye to rest, the walls are covered in a warm Phillip Jefferies chocolate quilted wallcovering.
For the ultimate in bathroom glamour, Designer Jamie Herzlinger turned to the French Art Deco period for inspiration. The Art Deco style was known for using rich exotic woods and sophisticated materials. Herzlinger created a wall unit around the vanity made of macassar ebony. In a uniquely risque touch, Herzlinger added corset-string details on the cabinet door. Dramatic black and white granite patterns were chosen for the floor. This masculine master bathroom would add a grand statement to any mansion.
As you can see in the designs above, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House offers a myriad of ideas and tastes, and some fanciful surprises too. There are still more designers and rooms to view, so stop by the Show House - they're opened for another month to the public.
This article has been reprinted with the permission of the Sheffield School, New York, NY. Sheffield began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded its course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng Shui, Wedding and Event Planning, and Jewelry Design. With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.