Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Kips Bay Designer Show House 2016 preview

Timothy Whealon Interiors White Orchid Room for Kips Bay Decorator Show House 

Ah yes, as I was saying, the White Orchid Room was my favorite bedroom at this year’s 44th Annual Decorator Show House. And while we’re at it - don’t you think we should name our own home’s rooms? I do. For the interiors and exterior garden “rooms” - for me and my clients. For example, there is the Mermaid Bathroom, the Bespoke Suit bathroom, the Speakeasy Bar, The Dinosaur Garden, The Alice in Wonderland Garden -- and so on. See how much fun this is? And so much more personal than “upstairs, on your right.” Initially, I think the construction teams find this over the top, indulgent, but over the course of the projects, I see that they too take no small amount of pleasure and pride in the monikers as they see the final product fulfill the vision of the room’s name. (And if boutique hotels and royalty, not to mention the White House, can name rooms, surely we can too!)

So it was with keen anticipation I entered the White Orchid Room from Kati Curtis Design’s extraordinary, artful wallpapered staircase, landings,

and lighting and art and the fourth floor nook and its exceptional use of space that others might gloss over some banal window seat or desk.

Here, Kati used the niche to create a compelling composition complete with Indian silk painting celebrating the twelve stage of life, juxtaposed with a sleek Italian chandelier, a rich cadmium orange or curry silk, shirred/relaxed roman shade and it’s dynamic couture pleated look, accessorized with a classic Asian seat and an elegant burlwood armoire. Once could get lost daydreaming and admiring this diminutive space. Who needs big?

The White Orchid Room was all cool elegance - I could feel the zen the room offered just walking in. The soft, relaxing color palette of cool lavender, fresh spring green and white. The upholstered “four poster” bed by Maison de France was tailored yet relaxed.

The plastered walls were pure genius. This is a Timothy Whealon decorated creation and his appealing style blends delightful details with livable, can-do living environments. You look at this room and think, “I want to live here” vs. a “Wow, but could this ever work design?”

The custom designed walls are leaves in bas-relief and then painted - by Osmundo Echevarria & Associates studio. It’s a subtle but enchanting treatment.

The ceiling - or that “fifth wall” was done in a glazed design. The windows were almost floor-to-ceiling and the look of white sheers in a trellis pattern added a refined garden touch. Maison de France did the window treatments, too in F.Schumacher fabric. The Maison Gerard gold standing lamp was a glittering nod to the bas-relief leaves on the wall. The Soane Lighting wall sconces and Claremont sconce shades were featured in a repeat between the windows. The uplighting was dreamy and soft…

On the other, street side of the townhouse, the Les Ensembliers “Le Jardin Secret” bedroom was formal, structural, and spare - in a good way - amplifying that “less is more” rule of design. Les Ensembliers claims it bring together construction, architecture, and design - and clearly all were revealed in this gorgeous room. Oh, there were details - subtle ones, such as the fabric wall papers by Ralph Lauren through Kravet - was extended even to the molding and the hvac unit. Who says technology has to be hidden. Well, just redefined…

The floor to ceiling window curtains and the silk duppioni back of bed by Brunschwig & Fils were exquisite in color and volume adding to the pure luxury of the room.

The airy lattice-like “coffee” table was a silvery grey, echoing the wall paper pattern and color and texture of the Kravet chairs and fur throw.

The Drake/Anderson designed “Master Floor Library” was a rich, “pond-scum” green, an oriental run on sisal, smoky mirrors, a game table, fireplace and lots of doors and windows.

A surprise was the Sawyer | Berson Terrace off the “Petit Salon” and its fabulous, patterned Durite floor. Just outside the door was a green dream - or Dali-esque surreal idea of a rooftop garden that seemed to lure me out. I asked if I could venture out there as the flooring didn’t seem real or grounded.

The docent said “yes,” and I walked out to what was a faux lawn or a kind of astro-turf that was like a carpet - and yet had real arborvitae confers populating the garden room like so many life-sized Christmas Nutcrackers. The look was unsettling for a gardener/horticulturist like myself, yet fun and intriguing. I couldn’t help but send an image to my friend Charles at NYBG! We admired and laughed. Isn’t that what good design promotes? Indeed.

Walking to the end of the green dream - I found myself looking down at a very furnished, black and grey colored Daniel Richards Design garden terrace - the “Urban Oasis” with well-designed plantings (real plants!) featuring Lace Cap Hydrangeas, potato vines - both chocolate and green, and terrace art, including Joe Wheaton sculpture, ceramic bowls, and planters from Belgian-based Atelier Vierkant in a bowood surround.

Walking back into the interior, there was a sophisticated family room (in fact it was called, “Sophisticated Simplicity”) and created by Suzanne Kasler Interiors that led to a wowsy kitchen, designed by last year’s heart-clutching kitchen designer, Clive Christian Interiors. Christian brands himself as the "creator of the luxury kitchen." While there may be room for debate about that - there is no argument that his gorgeous kitchens are glamorous show stoppers. This one was no exception. Understated - all the glamour is in the details. Of note, the back-lit Lalique glass panel inserts on both sides of the range. It was explained that the same molds were used for the panels that were used to produce the crystal art for the legendary Orient Expres passenger trains to adventure and discovery. These Audubon looking birds on the glass panels were explained to be the inspiration for the sliding, custom-crafted wood panels that fronted the wet bar. The White HazeAkdo tiled backsplash pattern was supreme. I also liked the tiered, mirrored inserts in molding on either side of the open transition to the kitchen dining table that was located between the kitchen and family room. Kudos Clive Christian.

I asked what happens to the room after the show and was told the new owners were to take it all out to put in their own design. Whaatt? I’m so hoping this is not true. This kind of interior design art should be preserved or sold or -- I heard that last year’s kitchen was purchased in total.

Mirrored panels in molding detail

The designer Alex Papachristidis was on site in his fabulous “Salle Ǻ Manger Glamour” room. He was genuinely, joyfully explaining his design choices and backstory. This is a learned designer who clearly respects his profession and offers informed, researched, and exotic selections. What a refreshing, exciting tour of this truly glamorous room. “I like to mix 18th Century pieces and design for a fresh mix in the right way,” said Mr. Papachristidis. “That era produced the best furniture ever made,” he explained. He added that he honors the classics and respects the historic undertaking of the decorative arts and seeks to showcase them to contemporary customers and audiences. I love that sentiment and couldn’t agree more.

Designer Alex Papachristidis, Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2016

Every detail of his Salle Ǻ Glamour had a fascinating narrative of the craftsperson and/or the provenance. The metallic-looking walls were hand painted by Gracie Wallpaper. 

The hand-painted dining table chairs were exquisite in a floral design sourced from Dalva Brothers 18th Century French furniture dealers, with a look that was at once contemporary, yet not … Certainly, an enduring design. There were museum quality busts and sculpture gracing the room, including obelisk, torchiere, and garniture from Liz O'Brien Home.

There were gold chairs next to the fireplace that to my eye, picked up on the coffee table with molten gold and mother of pearl that had some provenance with the Duke and Duchess of England - as in Edward from WWII era.

Besides the hand-painted chair florals, my favorite item in this room was Mr. Papachristidis’ selection of a Turkish tent material sewn or stitched together to make a unique rug presentation - that worked perfectly over the stenciled floor from Boxton Interiors. And that is precisely why we love to explore show houses. For the creative, inspired design genius that continues to provide inspired excitement, glamour, and discovery.

Also striking was the David Collins Studio blue paneled mirror and moldings in Farrow & Ball's Cook's Blue with Lutyens furniture and lighting. Looked Williamsburg - the colonial attraction not the Brooklyn neighborhood - but glossier.

I also appreciated the cork board wallpaper treatment. It was unexpected and rather glamorous as well.

Thank you and congratulations to all the talented designers, artisans, and decorators and craftspeople. And thank you Kips Bay Decorator Show House.

One more day - and then cheers to next year.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kips Bay Designer Show House is a must-see for home decor enthusiasts - till June 9th

Katie Curtis bespoke wallpaper at Kips Bay Show House

The 44th annual 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Show House enjoys its final days this week. Be sure to visit this outstanding showcase for some truly inspiring designs; created by “some of the country’s finest designers… who lend their “talent and energy to create” the extraordinary spaces, according to Bunny Williams, Chair, Show House Committee. I scooted uptown last week and was able to indulge in six floors, terraces and rooftop of The Carlton House Townhouse, located at 61st Street, between Madison and 5th Avenue, New York City, at The Carlton House.

The Kips Bay showhouse has been called the rite-of-spring to the home design industry - for good reason. And it’s all for a good cause, too. The monies go to “enrich and enhance the quality of life for all young people between ages six to 18 who come from disenfranchised circumstances,” wrote James Druckman,president. He says, “Enjoy the Show House, but think of the children.”

The entranceway was marked by a corner tiered with red roses. As a plant lover, I was struck by its impact and integrity.

How one would maintain this is another story. This is a showhouse, remember. My strategy was to start at the top (naturally) and work my way down rather than doing an “ascension” tour.

The rooftop was a mix of garden, outdoor kitchen and dining and plein air living room. Very tasteful look by Sag Harbor’s Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects. There’s lots of wood, low-slung couches and an arbor over the eating space. Vines and plants would work here. The phalaenopsis on the shutter wall was pretty but use of a more practical plant - such as pretty silver and blue succulents would have picked up the greys in the teak wood, nicely.

I took the winding staircase down through the succeeding floors. It was a design journey unto itself. Designer Kati Curtis created a breathtaking, hand-painted wallpaper - her “Path to Enlightenment” (one presumably walks up this spiritual pathway, my path notwithstanding! Curtis collaborated on the custom wall design with de Gournay leads us up the staircase at the 2016 Kips Bay Show House with a spiritual metaphor. The paper tells a garden story: its pale green color is bedecked with trees, butterflies, flowers and blooms and my favorite: peacocks. It’s an incredible piece of enduring art. The exquisite and thoughtful design pattern is an enduring piece of art - and left me determined to find a wall where this look can be admired. Katie painted the curvature of the stairs a shimmering, shiny azure blue.
If you’re looking for me, I’ll be on the stairs enjoying that garden narrative!

Floor 5 was a Landing and Staircase:Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle and listed as four bedrooms - however the “Lady’s Lair” by Phillip Thomas Inc. was more of an office. It featured tiered Lucite tables and a loopy, Crayola-colored swirls on white wallpaper that was whimsical and fun.  
The antique, green lacquered desk, by Maison Jansen from Maison Gerard and the sleek, silk window treatments and embroidered trim from Holland & Sherry brought the tailoring and glamour balance to the room.

The guest bedroom I liked because of the window treatments with cabana-like striping and hood.
Plus, the designer told me they had to contend with a soffit there when I asked him if the same shape on the mirror over the fireplace informed the window treatments. He pointed out the art over the beds, from Derrick Velasquez they had commissioned. Interesting shape - the designer likes his use of negative space below the art design…

Napoleon's Lounge was a very dramatic room. Huge Greek / Roman busts, big tables and good lighting and a medallion ceiling chandelier.

But most dramatic of all: the walls were painted chalkboard black (hence the room was smoky dark) and an intricate design was completed throughout the room. Lovely but ephemeral? I asked the docent - and she agreed - wiping a bit of the chalk away from the drawn lines… Don’t lean against that wall!

My favorite bedroom was the White Orchid Room. Up next.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The New York Botanical Garden’s 25th Anniversary Antique Garden Furniture Fair Kicks Off with Exclusive Benefit Buzz-Worthy Preview Party and Collectors’ Plant Sale April 28, 2016

Ken Fulk’s bee-inspired designs for the NYBG Antique Garden Furniture Fair    

Featuring a whimsical bee-design theme by Ken Fulk, New York Botanical Garden’s (NYBG) Garden Fair runs through the weekend, April 29–May 1, with the country’s leading Exhibitors showcasing the finest garden antiques for purchase.

NYBG’s 2016 Antique Garden Furniture Fair: Antiques for the Garden and the Garden Room opens with a Benefit Preview Party and Collectors’ Plant Sale on Thursday, April 28, from 6 to 8 p.m.

This event is the the country’s original, largest, and most important venue for authentic garden antiques, this year’s Fair features playful bee-inspired designs by celebrated interior and event designer Ken Fulk. As Designer Chairman for the 25th Anniversary Fair, Fulk created a showpiece; featuring items from exhibitors that will inspire and enlighten visitors about marrying antiques and modern design with an everyday aesthetic.

Adding to the excitement, Elle Decor Interiors Editor and acclaimed stylist Robert Rufino will create a festive outdoor lounge for the Fair in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyard.

Style maker Ken Fulk has given a makeover to the Antique Garden Furniture Fair that celebrates one of the most important pollinators in the garden: the beloved honeybee. NYBG describes how guests arriving tonight at the Conservatory for the Benefit Preview Party and Collectors’ Plant Sale will be greeted by a swarm of yellow-jacketed valets and led down a gold runway into the Conservatory’s Palms of the World Gallery where a display of fanciful bee skeps and a jazz trio set the stage for enchantment.

In the Conservatory Courtyard, honey-themed cocktails await and guests are beckoned into the magical garden setting of the renowned Collectors’ Plant Sale, where this year the rare and exotic plant species will be elevated to a new level with elaborate hand-painted backdrops and stage sets designed by Fulk.

A warm “golden glow” will draw guests to their final destination, where nearly 30 of the country’s leading exhibitors will showcase the finest garden antiques for purchase. A 10-foot-high beehive installation— a surreal and spiraling assemblage of rope and garden accents and backed by a towering wall of florals—will lead the eye, and anchor the room. Exclusive to the Preview Party, the night’s “queen bee,” DJ Kiss, will rave the hive, spinning favorites from her DJ booth within another Fulk-custom beehive installation.

NYBG describes how ELLE DECOR’s Robert Rufino will create a garden vignette showcasing “ladies in the garden”— that is, mannequins dressed in ball gown skirts made of Chinese newspaper, tops from pages and covers of ELLE DECOR, and Chinese straw hats—to serve as an outdoor lounge. The featured furniture, from the latest Roche Bobois collection—in areas with sofa and chair seating as well as dining—will be colorful and have an Asian influence. Atop the signature table will be a large vase with an explosion of cherry blossoms. Vibrant lanterns will hang from above, enhancing the lounge’s alluring and inviting ambience.

Amid 600 guests from the philanthropic, interior and landscape design, architecture, and art worlds, Preview Party attendees can indulge in a Silent Auction and NYBG’s Collectors’ Plant Sale, which features hard-to-find beauties, beloved varieties, and horticultural treasures propagated from NYBG collections, all chosen for their rarity and charm. Lilacs, Japanese maples, and herbaceous peonies, selected to celebrate the recent expansions of these historic NYBG collections, are among the unique offerings that will be available exclusively to Preview Party guests.  
Past Garden Furniture Preview: Barbara Corcoran & Bunny Williams
The Preview Party presents enthusiasts and collectors the opportunity to examine the plants, peruse thousands of garden antiques from leading exhibitors from across the United States offering their finest pieces for sale, and to make early purchases, while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, in advance of the Fair’s opening to the general public. For Preview Party tickets and information, please call 718.817.8773 or e-mail

All proceeds benefit NYBG’s Fund for Horticulture, directly supporting the work of the curators and gardeners who are responsible for making The New York Botanical Garden one of the most important horticultural showplaces in the world.

Three Days to Explore Antiques for the Garden and Garden Room
The Antique Garden Furniture Fair continues at NYBG from Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Respected as the most distinguished stage for authentic garden antiques and rarities, the Fair is a must-attend event for leading collectors and designers, as well as purchasers seeking advice from professionals. Included are outdoor sculpture, fountains, sundials, bird baths, gates, garden benches, antique wicker, urns and planters, botanical prints, and architectural ornament, displaying centuries of classic design inspiration gathered from America, Europe, and Asia. These antiques are not only great for the garden, but also for the garden room.

Weekend visitors to the Antique Garden Furniture Fair can browse and purchase unique items of the highest quality and provenance and enjoy a program lineup that includes Q&A with dealers, honey sampling, and eclectic live musical sets. There will be exhibitors offering an array of interesting ways to bring the outdoors inside by creating garden rooms in your home.

Experts will be on hand to answer questions on current decorating styles. They will also discuss trends in the acquisition and appreciation of garden ornament, as well as assist buyers looking for the perfect piece to complement a garden, landscape, or interior. On-site shippers are available to facilitate Tri- State New York and New England deliveries during the Fair and other shipping needs in the weeks following.

Aileen Minor Fleur New England Garden Ornaments

Some of this year’s highlighted items include a marble bust of Anacreon, the ancient Greek poet, offered by Aileen Minor and a dolphin and shell centerpiece fountain, circa 1850, from New England Garden Ornaments.

Fleur will offer a Scottish cast iron bench by Carron:

At the entrance to the Antique Garden Furniture Fair, a Specialty Plant Sale will feature an extensive selection of unusual, colorful plants representing some of horticulture’s finest growers. A variety of shrubs and trees, perennials, annuals, and Herbs will be available. Visitors may purchase refreshments here as well.

Activities throughout the weekend include live music, featuring the eco-music ensemble The Englewinds on Friday, 1–4 p.m., highlighting the importance and the plight of honeybees, and Sweet Megg & the Wayfarers on Saturday and Sunday, 12–4 p.m., in Conservatory Plaza; and honey sampling with City Island Gold Apiary in the Conservatory Courtyard each day, 12–4 p.m.

About the Designer Chairman
Ken Fulk designs experiences large and small. After 20 years as a San Francisco style maker known for his richly layered interiors and over-the-top parties, Fulk has expanded his firm in recent years to facilitate projects around the globe.

Fulk is far more than a designer. He is the curator of a lifestyle, not only creating custom looks for hotels, restaurants, and private residences, but also developing the entire branding and programming for his clients. His firm, Ken Fulk Inc, is a creative team comprised of architects, stylists, and interior, graphic, and event designers. In recent years, Ken Fulk Inc has received great acclaim for The Battery Club, private social club and Three Sticks Winery in Sonoma as well as the Vegas outpost of Carbone restaurant and the SoHo bagel emporium, Sadelle's. Next up, Fulk is charged with the design of a Miami hotel and a highly anticipated Hudson Yards high-rise residential tower, which will include a show-stopping flagship restaurant. Fulk recently launched his New York studio and will soon release a book, Mr. Ken Fulk’s Magical World.

The year 2016 marks The New York Botanical Garden’s 125th Anniversary. The Antique Garden Furniture Fair, taking place in a tent amid flowering trees, plants, and shrubs, with the institution’s Enid A. Haupt Conservatory as its glorious backdrop, is one of many public celebratory events commemorating this historic milestone. During the Preview Party, Principal Photographer Larry Lederman will sign copies of The New York Botanical Garden (Abrams), the 125th Anniversary edition, which will be available for purchase. At 3 p.m. each day at the Fair, a complimentary toast will salute 125 years of the Garden’s commitment to excellence in plant research and conservation, horticulture, and education.

The Antique Garden Furniture Fair is the ideal venue for learning about garden antiques and building personal collections, and this year’s event will be unlike any other: a perfect cross-pollination of antique and modern. Admission to the Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 29 through May 1, is included with the All-Garden Pass, which also provides access to the Botanical Garden grounds, seasonal gardens, attractions such as the Haupt Conservatory, and Tram Tour. Advance tickets for the Fair are available for purchase online at

Antique Garden Furniture Fair: Antiques for the Garden and the Garden Room 2016 Exhibitor Listing 
Arader Galleries - New York, N.Y. & Philadelphia, Pa. (

Balsamo - New York, N.Y. & Pine Plains, N.Y. (

Blithewold Home, Mount Kisco, N.Y. (

Brennan & Mouilleseaux Antiques - Northfield, Conn. (

Cherry Gallery - Damariscotta, Maine (

The Cooley Gallery - Old Lyme, Conn. (

Cottage + Camp - Philadelphia, Pa. (

Fine Antique Prints - Wayne, Pa. (

Finnegan Gallery - Chicago, Ill. (

Firehouse Antiques - Galena, Md. (

Fleur - Mount Kisco, N.Y. (

From Here to Antiquity - Cheshire, Conn. (

Garvey Rita Art & Antiques - West Hartford, Conn. (

Hamptons Antique Galleries - Stamford, Conn. ( Jeffrey Henkel - Pennington, N.J. (

Barbara Israel Garden Antiques - Katonah, N.Y. (

Milne’s At Home Antiques - New York, N.Y. & Kingston, N.Y. (

Aileen Minor - Centreville, Md. (

More & More Antiques - New York, N.Y. (

New England Ornaments - Sudbury, Mass. (

Pagoda Red - Chicago, Ill. (

Francis J. Purcell - Philadelphia, Pa. (

Schorr & Dobinsky - Bridgehampton, N.Y. (

Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge - Maryknoll, N.Y. (

VIllage Braider Antiques - Plymouth, Mass. (

Withington & Company Antiques - Portsmouth, N.H. (

The Antique Garden Furniture Fair is generously supported by Northern Trust.

Support for the Preview Party has been provided by Mr. and Mrs. Coleman P. Burke


Mish New York