Kips Bay Show House 2011: Part Un

 A never miss event is always the Kips Bay Show House in New York.  I am always dazzled and inspired.  This year's show house did not disappoint.  It is a privately owned home.  Usually these homes are for sale.  The former owner of this 10,000 sq. ft. neo-Federalist style mansion was John Hay "Jock" Whitney.  A charming diplomat, art connoisseur, and bon vivant.  The family of Disque D. Deane, a creative financier, owns the home presently and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mary McDonald knows how to make an entrance in her masculine meets feminine entry wrapped in lipstick red lacquer.

Turn the corner and you're met with Wayne Nathan's 80's inspired first floor stairwell.  Aakash Nihalani, a street artist, uses electrical tape as his artistic medium to create a sense of falling thru space.

My favorite room this year was by Celerie Kemble.  She gave me a lot of  "take aways".  The ceiling application is called verre eglomise.  It is painting or etching on the reverse side of mirror or glass.  Miriam Ellner did a breathtaking job creating a chinoiserie skyscape fantasy.  I only want to know, "what's going to happen to this ceiling after the show?"

The paneling is original Norfolk pine and was to remain untouched, so Kimble Interiors pulled out every trick in the book to add light and life to this already show stopping space.  A light carpet (hand stenciled sisal), fabrics, mirrored and gleaming surfaces, along with different light sources help achieve this.  Another clever little trick is the way Kimble Interiors incorporated the sconces into the frame of the painting over the fireplace.  I LOVED this touch!  Sometimes the beauty is in the details.

Matthew Patrick Smyth designed the dining room around the existing wallpaper, a graceful hand-painted silk.  It was a gift to the owners from the sister of Madame Mao.  The room was infused with a French and Asian  aesthetic.  Couture details in the drapes frame out the panels and draw attention to exquisite details.  The chandelier by Jacques Jarrige was made from a piece of brass to relate to the blowing branches in the wallpaper.

By New York standards the kitchen by Bilotta Kitchens is huge.  It even has an a joining butler's pantry!  You can never go wrong with neutral, textural and elegant.


The infusion of exquisite art-filled spaces was a theme in several rooms.   Richard Mishaan, a self described "art-holic", masterfully mixes well known artists' work with clean traditional lines in this 40 x 20 foot living area.  Not only did he incorporate a Fernando Botero (above the fireplace) from his personal collection, as well as a Damian Hirst series into the mix, he actually painted the two canvases on the opposite wall flanking the mirror (as opposed to the Botero which is flanked by gilt mirrors).  I loved this application of opposites.

join me upstairs in part deux ~ next time

Lovely Lilly

I was introduced to so many exciting things at Blogfest which I will be introducing you to for as long as it takes.  Hot off the press:  Lee Jofa has been busy collaborating with designers to bring an aesthetic to the marketplace that is innovative and fresh.  Well, Lilly Pulitzer is fresh as a cool breeze on a hot, lazy afternoon.

What do you do when you have oranges?  You make orange juice.  And what do you do when you spill said orange juice on yourself?  You make shift dresses to disguise the stain.  That Lilly was a smart girl!  It all starts with an idea!  Fifty years later, Lilly is moving indoors.  Why didn't any one think of this sooner?

Everything starts with an inspiration board ~

Did you know the word Lilly is incorporated into every fabric pattern?  I didn't.  It is shown in marker below just so you can see how well it's hidden

A beautiful vignette was set up in the showroom.  For me personally, a little goes a long way; but it is fresh, flirty and fun.  Wonderful embroidery, ginghams, florals, trellis and coral prints are among Lilly's most popular patterns.

All these fabulous fabrics should be rolling into the showrooms any day.  There are many more wonderful collaborations to come.  I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.

What do you think of the Lilly Pulitzer fabric collection?

photos: CLI

Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House

Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House along with LX TV Open House have paired 10 "designers to watch" with leading modern brands to create 2 wonderful apartments on the West Side overlooking High Line Park.  The Modern Life Concept House marries Elle Decor's vision that old and new, minimal and maximal can co-exist, and do it beautifully.  Proceeds benefit Housing Works, a non profit helping people living with HIV/Aids

These are some of the highlights~

Apt. I

Carrier & Company/Room & Board  With a fresh palette and a few modernist pieces, this multi-purpose  area offers a sleek, comfortable living/dining space

Oliver M. Furth/USM Modular married a strong design and decorative arts aesthetic in a moody home office that is visually stimulating and somewhat jarring.

Marie Turner/LEMA captivated me with this neutral, heavily textured bedroom.  It is elegantly appointed.  I love how the bed was placed under the window and framed by drapes.  Hides and lacquer seemed to be recurring themes.

Apt. II

Beth Martin/Calligaris created the kind of space I always feel at home in:  a comfortable, organic melange of mid-century meets texture.

I loved the partition that was created between the two rooms.  In the living room it was mirrored and in the kitchen it was felted.  No doubt so it could become a rotating art wall.  Very clever!

Grant K. Gibson/Bosch who believes that the people inhabiting a home should be reflected by it, gave his "inhabitants" a sense of humor when he covered the backsplash in Chinese take out menus.

My absolute favorite space was Sara Story's/The New Traditionalists.  I have been a fan of Sara's work for some time.  She must have started VERY young.  Her rooms are always elegant and full of surprises.  Growing up abroad and her love of travel are always evident in her work.

 The door to enter had an elaborately painted peacock.  The extensive painting and Venetian plaster shone like glass.  It was breathtaking.  It was like an Asian dream that did not scream for attention it just subtly commanded it.  The choice of fabric, rich detail and furniture was sublime.

There were other lovely spaces including the outdoor rooms that were special too, but the weather was miserable and I didn't get to it.  However, I want you to see it for yourselves.   The Concept House is open thru June 5th, but only on the weekends, so there's not much time.  For more information or tickets, click here

Photos: CLI, Casa Sugar, Attic Mag, Elle Decor

The Power of Publishing

I jumped in a cab to head off to The Hearst Building for a day of discussion about the power of the print media vs. digital media.  Where are we going?  How can we collaborate?  What changes do we expect to see in the coming years?  While not all those burning questions were answered, I did marvel at the beauty of this building.

As I was crossing 8th Ave. I asked the cab driver, "What is that beautiful building built on top of the older facade?"  He responded, "You don't know?  That's where you're going."  We pulled up in front the Hearst Building and it all made sense...

The original 6 story landmark building was used as the pedestal for the gleaming tower above.  The shell was scooped out to make way for the tower's open air atrium.  Norman Foster's 46 story glass-encased tower tops it off, like icing on a cake.  It is the first LEED certified green building in New York City.  90% of the steel used was from recycled material.  Rainwater collected on the roof feeds the cooling system, is used to water the plants, and feeds the 3 story cascading water sculpture in the lobby entitled "Icefall", that gently flows over the glass "steps."

 Water filled tubing under the heat conductive limestone flooring maintains heat in the winter and keeps the interior cool in the summer.  The Hearst Tower uses 26% less energy than what is minimally required for New York  City.
The Hearst Tower was the first building in the city to break ground after September 11th.

The view from the 44th floor conference room is breathtaking, or so I am told.  It's a shame we were literally in the clouds this rainy day.  I thought the glass was frosted!  Of course there is a brilliant art collection displayed in selected hallways.

This is what I hoped to see~


Bloggers are being compared to beat reporters from days of old, and in a real sense, we are.  We are gathering information and repackaging it at head-spinning speed.  Magazines really recognize the power of bloggers and we bloggers love our magazines!  We are all trying to figure out how to co-exist and support each other while the platforms for sharing information grow and change before our eyes.  I think only time will tell.  There are lots of questions and less answers.

I'll Drink to That ~ Blogfest 2011

Part II,  I better pace myself! 

We left off talking about three of the wonderfully talented designers who have fabric collections through Lee Jofa.  There are  three additional designers I want to introduce to you.

Classically trained, impressively credentialed,  Eric Cohler was dubbed "the mixmaster" because he juxtaposes so seamlessly classic, contemporary, and traditional elements.  Eric infuses the unexpected into his interiors.  He was inspired by nature and the Lee Jofa archives when designing his collection.  He's an academic at heart and his motto is,
"The past is prologue."

Diamond Baratta, decorating's dynamic duo are known for their use of enlarged scale and genius color interpretation.  William Diamond and Anthony Baratta consistently showcase their originality and versatility.  Their enduring partnership works because of their yin/yang relationship.  Their third collection for Lee Jofa incorporates small scale patterns with vibrant colors to coordinate with the exuberant designs their clients have come to expect.

As American as apple pie, Thomas O'Brien and his retail studio, Aero Studios, exudes warm modernism with a streamlined vintage flair.  Thomas moves easily between many different facets of the business; each a natural extension of the other.  His love of collecting inspires his designs.  With a gallerist's eye, Thomas carefully curates a lifestyle brand that is grounded and refined.

There surely will be many surprises during Blogfest, and I understand there is a Huge VIP coming to the "sweet endings" party.  Who could it be?  I thought Nate Berkus because he is known to reach out to bloggers, but no, I am sure this person must have a connection to Kravet/Lee Jofa.  Hmmm...Kelly Wearstler? Oscar de la Renta?  Stay tuned.