KIPS BAY: 10 Interior Design Takeaways

With the extreme heat of the day, this gorgeous bouquet in Ken Fulk's magical dining room was succumbing, petal by petal, to exquisite decay.

With the extreme heat of the day, this gorgeous bouquet in Ken Fulk's magical dining room was succumbing, petal by petal, to exquisite decay.

I had not been to Kips Bay in years.  I don’t, however, believe that abstinence triggered my overwhelming desire to visually consume each room with mindful gusto. The inspiration I felt in every cell of my body was due to being up close and personal with some of the very best unrestrained interior decoration in the world.  I meandered up and down, inspecting details, lingering.  Beyond the many obvious wow moments, I honed in on some very cool and practical interior design ideas. Here are 10.

1.

DECORATING WITH JEWELRY

Image: Richard Mishaan Design

Image: Richard Mishaan Design

Richard Mishaan’s Parlour Room was exquisitely layered to the nines. In a still life that (to me) evoked Iris Apfel, the designer dressed bottle and vase necks with colorfully strung baubles. A chic way to show off a beautiful collection that could have otherwise been kept in a private dressing room,  these beaded works are now public eye candy.

Image: Jane Dagmi

Image: Jane Dagmi

 2.

HANGING ART & OBJETS  OFF-CENTER

Photo: Peter Rymwid.

Photo: Peter Rymwid.

While convention favors centering, the design elite rebuffs formula. In Dineen Architecture’s tranquil master bedroom, art and objets are placed with “purposeful asymmetry.” Dineen's Alyson Liss-Pobiner explains:

"We centered the bed and the sofa, and felt that centering the blue mirror from Bernd Goeckler Antiques over the sofa would feel too static.  I think that the off-center placement 'freed up' that wall and keeps the eye moving around the room... Hanging the Mary Ellen Bartley photograph low on the same wall accentuated two datum lines in the room (one at eye level when standing and one at eye level when seated) while also creating a lovely occult balance with the mirror.  In my mind, the purposeful asymmetry of the wall art installation created a felt equilibrium." (Decorative painting: Eva Buchmuller

3.

TRIM PLACEMENT

Image: Alan Barry

Image: Alan Barry

In Kirsten Kelli’s spacious living room, a pair of blue and white upholstered club chairs flaunt an unexpected Sid Vicious-style trim. As if the spiky embellishment isn’t enough of a surprise, its strapping placement is also edgy. This design pairing celebrates the bond between fierce and fresh.

Image: Jane Dagmi

Image: Jane Dagmi

 4.

ONCE YOU GO BLACK

Photos: Reid Rolls

Photos: Reid Rolls

Interior designer Nick Olsen has a skill for juxtaposing pattern, era, and color. In his Kips Bay room of plenty,  I noticed that he specified black lampshades exclusively. Nick explains his choice:

“I often use black paper (never black fabric) lamp shades in city apartments since they create moody pools of light that look great after sundown. Very glamorous! I tend to keep my shades consistent room-to-room, though, in other projects, I could see using all ivory paper shades and then a pleated batik or printed linen shade on a single lamp for effect.”

5 & 6.

BOLD SURFACE DESIGN

Image: Jane Dagmi

Image: Jane Dagmi

Images: Alan Barry Photography

Images: Alan Barry Photography

When you transition from the 3rd to the 4th floor at Kips Bay, the experience is rather stellar thanks to Timothy Brown Studio, and his exciting carpet design underfoot and the uninterrupted application of a yummy taupe block-printed wallpaper along walls, moldings, doors and coves. Carpet Installation: Sacco/Wallpaper: Adelphi Paper Hangings.

7.

A GREAT IDEA FOR FABRIC REMNANTS

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

 When I saw the window shade in Neal Beckstedt’s Attic Sitting Room, with its contrast fabric band, I was reminded of the color-blocked draperies that are constructed from yardage of two or more fabrics. Curtains are a lovely way to introduce a new color, pattern, or texture and to utilize that awesome textile remnant you brought back from your last adventure.

Photo: Jane Dagmi

Photo: Jane Dagmi

8.

MAKE A FLOOR LAMP TALLER

Photo: Peter Margonelli

Photo: Peter Margonelli

When I spied the base of this floor lamp in interior designer Susan Ferrier’s bedroom, I wondered whether the base was original to the design or had been added to make the lamp taller. Whether the lamp was born with the platform or not, adding a base is a simple way to give a lamp a more commanding presence.

Photo: Jane Dagmi

Photo: Jane Dagmi

9.

 LEOPARD IS A SASSY NEUTRAL

With its allover pattern and close repetition, leopard carpet is a sexy and versatile neutral ground. In Billy Cotton's Attic SRO bedroom, it holds court with ochre Fromental wallpaper, a large pink bird painting, and a layered tribal rug. Adapting effortlessly to almost any decorating style, and compatible with most color palettes and patterns, this feline favorite is a never boring everlasting go-to!  (Carpet: Stark)

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Photo: Jane Dagmi

Photo: Jane Dagmi

With its allover pattern and close repetition, leopard carpet is a sexy and versatile neutral ground. In Billy Cotton's Attic SRO bedroom, it holds court with ochre Fromental wallpaper, a large pink bird painting, and a layered tribal rug. Adapting effortlessly to almost any decorating style, and compatible with most color palettes and patterns, this feline favorite is a never boring everlasting go-to!  (Carpet: Stark)

10.

LED LEADS THE WAY

Photo: Jane Dagmi

Photo: Jane Dagmi

Though I suspect the staggered LED candles were more of a safety resort than an intentional design statement, they perfectly lit the way down to Lichten Craig’s chic and somber lower-level lounge.  Emitting just enough glow to illuminate the treads, I loved this practical, energy-saving, and somewhat romantic way to light the path to a very special destination.

Photo: John Bessler

Photo: John Bessler

The Kips Bay Decorator Show House, 125 East 65th Street, NYC is open through Tuesday, June 6th. Don't miss it!

Sandy Hughes