Tuesday, May 19

A Return to Classicism & Luxurious Design at the 2015 Kips Bay Showhouse

Thoughts on the
2015 Kips Bay Showhouse:
A Return to Classicism & Luxury and Detailed Design 
But With A Modern Take...

The Kips Bay Showhouse is the annual NYC event that sets the bar high for the design industry, consistently providing spot-on superb state-of-the-art and innovative design. The industry shows up in droves to this gala event, and this year was no exception with a packed house of well-heeled folks who fawned over every detail in each nook and cranny.  This year's house is set in a beautiful townhouse (the Arthur Sachs Mansion on 66th street) in the swanky neighborhood of the upper east side nestled in a quiet block and only steps away from the Park Avenue Armory.  Upon entering the expansive home, one immediately begins to dream about this luxurious lifestyle, perhaps the homeowners busy themselves with weekly galas and art openings while hosting guests regularly serving up stylish cocktail parties in this well-appointed home that is a nod to the past in a modern version.  Wise choices were made when choosing the designers this year, and the rooms are fantastical in a way showing us the most luxurious of spaces and rooms we will most likely dream about for months ahead.  If I had to choose one word to describe the trends coming from this event, I would choose "Luxury" with a capital L, and there seems a special attention to detailing, craftsmanship, and at times, the unusual and more layers than I have seen in quite awhile. Much more edited though than in the past with a return to classic traditional design, but this time with a a modern twist.  Unexpected art and accessories live alongside rich, detailed curtains dripping with passementerie (there is even trim on the walls) and antiques everywhere.  Entertaining at home is obviously on everyone's collective minds these days, as can be seen in Christopher Peacock's state-of-the-art but inviting kitchen with Smart appliances that even sync with your iphone!  The tables are set with panache, the rooms are outfitted with details beyond our imagination, yet it is still fresh and warm.  There are unexpected pairings of modern and traditional elements altogether in one moment.  There is much to see, and you need to go back more than once to truly take in all the nuances.  Here are a few highlights which include designs from three of my favorite designers: Alessandra Branca, Tilton Fenwick & Mark D. Sykes.  Although many of us do not live in quite the bejeweled and richly curated rooms seen at this showhouse, this gives us a place to dream, which is exactly what a showhouse needs to do. 
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara

the crowds came out in force for the evening gala last week!

1. Tilton Fenwick's upstairs entryway transports us somewhere exotic with layered patterns, textures and utilizing the firm's fabric and wallpaper collection with Duralee.  This room is difficult, long and narrow and we do not even notice because when Suysel and Anne get their hands on it, the design duo takes fun, whimsy and sophistication and wraps it together in one lovely box. 
two photographs via Timothy Bell photography
a snapshot of the Tilton Fenwick gals
2. Mark D. Syke's layered dining room is a gingham, red and wicker wonderland!  Mark's dining room seems to channel another designer, Mark Hampton, who over twenty years ago brought us tradition, luxury and style. Sykes did a tremendous job at bringing his vision to fruition and inspired by design and style legends Marella Agnelli and Renzo Mongiardino, the dining room shows layers upon layers of rich design yet you are never overwhelmed.  It is warm, inviting, sophisticated and there are items you least expect in a formal fancy dining room, including wicker furniture (from Sloane), modern and surprising art and lots of potted flowers, and, well, gingham.  

this photo via Architectural Digest Magazine

I am smitten with this room - a lovely cornucopia of 
toile, gingham, a stylish bar, flowers, a well set table with wicker!

 3. Alessandra Branca's beautiful pink lair shows us once again that she is one of the greatest designers of our era.  Branca never disappoints and almost always brings the drama through color and beautiful classic design together.  I love her vision.  The color pink is currently on my radar (I recently decorated my room at Design On A Dime in this very similar color).  it is not easy to get pink right, and there is a fine line but when utilized correctly it has the refinement that is hard to define.  This room is light and effervescent with surprises, yet it's classic.  I love the bench in front of the fireplace, the eclectic art, the small cocktail table and all the accessories and vignettes Branca brings to each corner.  Something Branca tends to do really well is create small seating areas, like rooms within a room, and she showed this at Designer Visions a couple of years ago as well.  This room can serve many purposes while keeping it regal.
photography credit these two, Rafael Quirindongo