1st Dibs: Introspective Magazine May 2019


In This Year’s Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse,
Bold Colors Prevail

Written by Jorge S. Arango | Original Article

Photography by Joshua McHugh

Photography by Joshua McHugh

For the past several years, a trend toward traditionalism has defined New York’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House, the nonpareil of designer showhouses that each year raises money and awareness for the trailblazing Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. Recent iterations have evidenced a certain theatrical, romantic style — call it maximalistclassicism — that referenced the work of Tony Duquette or Renzo Mongiardino. But now, with those pyrotechnics out of their system, participating designers’ penchant for tradition has settled into something more grounded in time-tested architectural details and old-world craft — eglomise, in particular, is enjoying a new vogue.

Many rooms of this year’s showhouse — occupying a double-wide Georgian townhouse on East 74th Street, designed in 1920 by D. & J. Jardine and once owned by George Whitney, as well as, later, by Dorothy Hearst Paley — also feature labor-intensive wall treatments and spectacular lighting. With few exceptions, rich color palettes prevail.

There are too many spaces to cover comprehensively, but here are a number of our favorites, from the top of the five-story structure to its garden level.

Fifth Floor

Robert Passal, partnering with Daniel Kahan Architecture, offers a subdued yet sensuously chic look in his living room (above). One barely notices the low ceiling, thanks to the subtly classical interior envelope of white-painted paneling, cornice and overscale ceiling frieze, punctuated by an Art Deco chandelier from Newel. The curvaceous, feminine forms of pieces like a pink silk-velvet sofa with fur throw, Deco bergeres from Karl Kemp and a voluptuous custom tufted armchair are balanced by more masculine materials: the bronze of an Angela Brown coffee table and handsome circa 1963 mahogany Maison Leleu bookcases from Maison Gerard.

It’s easy to almost miss the narrow set of steps that leads from this level to Young Huh’s artist’s garret — actually a penthouse space above part of the fifth floor. Young enveloped the stairwell, as well as the garret, in Fromental’s lush, graphically upsized Braque wallcovering. Many designers might have surrendered to the pattern’s impact by pairing it with clean-lined furnishings and muted fabrics. Not Young, who worked with consultant Cynthia Byrnes Contemporary Art to fill the walls and an adjustable easel from Maison Gerard with equally strong artworks. Plaster chandeliers (a three-tiered version and a smaller Stephen Antonson one from Liz O’Brien) illuminate the designer’s own French chair and duchesse brisée, a marble-topped table from Bardin Palomo Home and a Turkish-style corner sectional.

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