On Kips Bay 2012.

Bryant Keller’s foyer. 

I missed the press preview of Kips Bay this year, which means I don’t have any of my own photos to show you. I had to glean photos from other websites, but since I haven’t gone to the show yet, I feel like we are all in the same boat in terms of formulating an opinion on it.

A living room by Drake Design.

So this was the 40th Anniversary of Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse. Every year, a townhouse or brownstone thats for sale is usually transformed for the show. This year, there were apparently no townhouses available and so they used two duplexes in the  Aldyn, a new high rise on the West Side.

Raji Radhakrishnan/Raji RM and Associates.

All the decorators were stumped as to how to go about decorating huge white cubes with 20 foot ceilings, panoramic views, soffits, bump outs, little or no architectural details and weird AC units that were apparently everywhere. In other words: The type of decorators that do Kips Bay do not particularly jive with the aesthetic of the raw space. They typically like elegant townhouse rooms, with a  few well placed windows, great architecture and lots of wall space for art. And they usually decorate in that very old school New-York-Decorator way: tons of fabric, rugs and stuff. Pile on the stuff.

I get that this is a show, I do. But one would think that rather than take a huge white box and try to make it feel like a regular show house, that they would maybe try to break the  mold a little and do something different? Like do you think that anyone who would actually buy a 15 million dollar penthouse duplex (instead of a townhouse, or prewar park avenue apartment) that looks like this would WANT their apartment to be decorated like this? I somehow don’t think so. (Sidenote: I would love to see what someone like Vicente Wolf would have done in here. He typically uses white walls and elegant spare and eclectic furniture, so I would love to see his take on something like this.) Someone buying a space like this would want something more contemporary, at least I think they would! And isn’t the first rule of design to not try to make something into something it’s not?

Todd Alexander Romano’s dining room might be the star of the show for me.

The rooms range from silly to beautiful – as in every Kips Bay. Granted, I haven’t been there yet, so I am relying on the angles of the photography to convey the sense of space in the room, which is never accurate. (Some of these photos are from the Times, and some are from Curbed, and they both have their shortcomings. The times are too cropped and small to get a sense of the space and the ones from Curbed need to be more crisp.)

A living room by the designer Brian del Toro, left. A room by Chuck Fischer Studio, right.

I think these two rooms are the right balance of elegant and “designer-y” and modern. I do love  a lot of the furniture and of course, I’m so into the heavy use of green throughout the house!

David Scott. Kips Bay always has specatular art. I love the modern painting over the traditional desk.

Another view of the Raji room and a living room by Bunny Williams. 

I included more photos and different views after the jump… What do you guys think of these rooms? Like I said, I need to see it in person before I pound my gavel and declare some of it tchotcke and overdecorated, but that’s my opinion based on the photos. Have I suddenly become a less is more person?


Tom Filicia’s Foyer

A living room by Drake Design.

Alexa Hampton’s bedroom. – SERIOUSLY?

Brian del Toro’s room, another angle.

Charlotte Moss- I don’t even know what this is.

Charles Pavarini’s- no words.


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  1. I walked through the apartments and I think it’s actually pretty great what they did. Of course, everyone did some variation of a sitting room/ office so with 20 or so rooms of this we joked that it’s the biggest one bedroom we’ve ever seen. Worth checking out in person, for sure, but then again i’m more of a townhouse girl so I appreciate what they did to make it more layered.

  2. The red zebra wallpaper from Gino’s is one of my favorite NYC historical prints so I am a bit disappointed with how they used it… could have been so much cooler right? Some other cool touches throughout the showcase though!

  3. Nicole Dufour Durocher says:

    Love how candid you are Nicole! So glad I skipped the press preview for dinner at Christopher Hyland’s apartment instead that night! hmm … now I think I might rsvp yes to another press preview monday afternoon instead and skip the blogfest kick off there … Thanks!

  4. Weeeeeeeeee as in Pee Wee’s Very Expensive Fun House! xo xo

  5. if it’s supposed to be tongue in cheek..i get it. ok big fucking deal. why can’t people just do pretty rooms? period. i will say this..from the images…none of those rooms appear to have any soul.
    i will see it in person though in a few days. weeee..and then i can FULLY FORMULATE MY ULTIMATELY MOST IMPORTANT OPINION.

  6. THANKS for this amazing post! I’m not able to go this year, but I’m with you – it’s an interesting mix. However, the rooms by Brian del Toro and Chuck Fischer look fabulous, and I’m enjoying those jewel tones.



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