The next stop on Blogfest 2013 was breakfast Monday morning at the 41st annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House, a five level townhouse located at 161 East 64th Street and built in 1899. The 5640 ft2 townhouse is complete with a two story glass atrium, two terraces, three wood burning fireplaces, and an elevator. It was purchased in 2003 by Richard T. Sharp, but was never lived in and used only to house the owner’s artwork. There is nothing like boosting the value of a property than to have 18 of the most renowned interior designers from around the country decorate the interior with their best work, so it is no coincidence that soon after the house opened to the public on May 4 that the townhouse was put on the market and listed with Sotheby’s International for a cool $16 million.
Although I am a regular at many show houses, I had no idea what to expect at the Kips Bay Show House, as this was my first time. As beautiful and meticulously decorated as it was, I found Kips Bay to be an exercise in extremes. On one end you had hip, downtown chic – high gloss lacquer, modern edgy art, innovative surface treatments, and on the other end it was predictable and just as one would find on the Upper East Side – a bit more reserved and traditional, complete with matching floral wallpaper and drapery, canopied bed, and everything else one would expect in an Upper East Side townhouse. I don’t mind traditional, but when I see it, I always like to see an unexpected element added to the mix, especially in a show house, to set it apart and keep it looking fresh, new, and interesting.
Upon entering through the front door and walking down a narrow hall, I found myself in the large foyer, where I stopped, mesmerized by the sparkle from the light reflecting off the high gloss lacquer, the faceted chandelier, the glass and various metals in the room, against the slight sheen of the velvet upholstery and grass cloth walls.
The foyer, with its combination of warm golds, cool grey walls, and jewel tones throughout, reminded me where I had just been the night before – the Jonathan Adler store on Madison, although at a much more refined and higher level of luxe. Quirky, but in a fun and opulent way. I love how the baseboards are painted a different color than the cove molding. The molding above is painted a dove grey – the same color as the grass cloth lining the walls, which heightens the ceiling, while the baseboards are painted a beautiful creamy maize, which allows it to flow and blend in seamlessly with the timeless elegance of the bronze and wrought iron staircases both above and below.
The foyer powder room was the most beautiful, rich, high gloss teal with accents of black and gold. The gloss and mirrors were used to maximize the bouncing of light and reflection to make the small room appear larger, and that it did.
The kitchen and where it was situated in the house was perfect for entertaining, and like the rooms before it, there was a play of reflective surfaces, with a wall of mirror hovering behind the massive range to again, make the room appear larger. As is with most social gatherings, the center island in the kitchen was the center of the party, where breakfast was served.
The two story glass covered atrium which opens up to a small garden in the rear is reason enough to plunk down $16M in spare change on this property. Flooded with light and positive energy, it is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city, along with a good book and cocktail in hand. I loved everything in this room, but the pair of sliding bone coffee tables from Mondo Cane? I’d take those over anything else, any day. Ok – maybe the Pat Steir painting, too.
I realized after the fact, that when I arrived, I was so excited about registering, getting my badge, and being at the show house, that I completely forgot to photograph the receiving lounge, where the registration tables were set up. So you’ll just have to come and see for yourself – the Kips Bay Decorator Show House is open until June 4 and the proceeds of the house will benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club. Tickets are $35, and the hours are as follows:
Monday through Saturday: 11 AM-5 PM
Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 8 PM
Sunday: noon-5 PM A huge shoutout to Kravet, Inc. and Doodle Home for sparking my inspiration and creativity by making my visit to the Kips Bay Show House a possibility.
Stay tuned – I’m not done yet with my coverage of the Kips Bay Show House. I have FOUR more floors to go and I have more photos and commentary in the upcoming days. Not only that, but I’ll also take you on a tour of the Kravet, Lee Jofa, and Brunschwig & Fils design studios to give you a taste of what goes on behind the scenes at one of the largest and most successful to the trade home furnishings companies in the world.
I hope you enjoyed Part I of the tour. What’s your favorite room so far? I love your feedback, so let me know!
Unless otherwise specified, all images were taken by me, Jeanne Chung.