Kips Bay Decorator Show House

IMG_20170504_1926223We spun quickly through this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House in a wide building (the former China Institute) at 125 E 65th St. It is probably worth seeing for the soignée dining room alone, which is a sensory overload of heavy fabrics, a riot of colors and flowers, a fireplace and piano, carved marble and the incredible wildlife walls – yes that is a polar bear, and maybe he’ll add to the dinner conversation. I’d need more lighting on a purely functional basis, but how prosaic of me; I suppose the dim lights add to the evocative ambience.

Many of the rooms merited more time than we had, especially because on our recent evening visit, it was quiet and some of the designers were in a forthcoming mood. There were still a few of the sort who discourage children or conversation, but there were others who were happy to share their thought processes and creative decisions. We came away impressed by their vision and resourcefulness – for example, when you see the “before” picture of what is now a swanky downstairs bar, it is hard to imagine how they conjured the outcome without a little explanation directly from the designer. As the designers undertake these showhouses at least in part to potentially find new clients, it makes sense for them to be friendly and to engage the visitors and hopefully to bedazzle them, and a few of this year’s designers did just that.

The Show House is running through June 1.

Ilona Quasha

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