Kips Bay 2014 Decorator Show House

Color Therapy

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The annual Kips Bay Show House has been open for a few weeks, and I finally had a chance to run by. It’s being held in the Villard Mansion on Madison Avenue, and that alone is reason to take a tour and see real architecture, in the classical sense.

As you know, these show houses are fantasias. They’re meant to seduce and to sell by exaggeration, and since the designer is footing the bill, they can do whatever they want, without being tied to a capricious client. It also only has to look good for a month, so no one really knows if these styles will have an expiration date.

With that in mind, these fantasies are bound to Park Avenue tastes — these aren’t any downtown hipsters at work or anyone’s first time out. And the Villard Mansion, occupying the whole eastern side of Madison between 50-51 Streets, provides a majestic and stately bone structure on which to hang curtains. It invites broad strokes.

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Since the show house is two-thirds into its run and has been widely covered elsewhere, I’ll leave this as a pretty pictures post and let you go googling for vendors. And these are my bullet-point notes on trend spotting: I saw plenty of metallic finishes on walls, both in paint and paper. Chevrons make one last hurrah, and ditto the “lacquered look.” Ceilings were seldom just white, rooms might be but were just as often quite adventurous — neon, tangerine, copper, and deepest teal. Pattern suggests retro 80s, clashes with itself and completely grabs the eye.

I was especially impressed with how well large rooms received large — and rare — furnishings. And all that inlaid marble on the wall in the Grand Entry by Martyn Lawrence Bullard (checkerboard floor) is actually marbled paper, cut and pieced together under the dado.

Kips Bay Show House
457 Madison Ave, New York
Through May 29, 2014

(Image credits: Mark Chamberlain)

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