Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Trip to the Kips Bay Designer Show House

The Aldyn Residences, at 63rd Street and the Hudson River - click on photos to enlarge (photo from company website)
TD and I were invited last week to the cocktail preview party of the 40th anniversary Kips Bay Decorator Show House, which is always a big event in the springtime when decorators pull out the stops to style their assigned room with their signature panache. The Show House is usually mounted in a classical manse on the Upper East Side, but this year it is presented on two floors of the new, modern luxury Aldyn Residences on the west side – as far west as you can get in fact as its location abuts the Hudson River. The Show House is open until June 14 and admission is $30 – you get your money's worth for sure as 32 talented designers are presenting their work this year; the pictures here are a small selection of the event.
The modern interiors featured huge windows which revealed spectacular views up and down the Hudson. Outdoor decks stretched in either direction along the river. At one end was perched...wait for it...the private lap swimming pool. It was a grey evening but the light on the Hudson was luminous.

Inside was a panoply of design, color, textures and ideas. Set in a living room with soaring windows, the reknowned Bunny Williams, along with Brian J. McCarthy and David Kleinberg Design Associates, created a tribute to the iconic American designer Albert Hadley, who passed away this March, complete with Hadley's signature red pops of color.
I found myself drawn to the serene rooms which were quiet and relaxing. Raji Radhakrishnan/Raji RM & Associates created a peaceful home office. I would love to work at this desk. And look at that view!

The wonderful Charlotte Moss, who last year around this time published a beautiful book, designed on the second floor a very romantic master bedroom. A long hall, which was covered with wallpaper that looked like pale silver birch, and hung with photographs that Charlotte had taken in France, led to the bedroom which had walls lined with green velvet. Charlotte herself was tucked in a corner wearing a long dress that shimmered with golden sequins which she told me was vintage Adele Simpson. Preserved boxwood covered one wall, the air was scented, and birdsong played overhead. It was dreamy escape.

Charlotte Moss in her room (photo from Kips Bay)
Back down we went to the first floor of the Show House where Susan Zises Green designed a very pretty living room. I met the decorator who said that she was inspired by the colors of the Hudson River outside the windows, and on that grey evening her room of tranquilly-toned furniture, art and antiques perfectly matched the view beyond.

We took one more trip out onto the deck and then headed downstairs to an interior courtyard where a party tent had been erected. Bars were set up there and hors d'oeuvres were passed to a chic crowd who required some refreshments after a long house tour. It was a very civilized outing here on the isle of Manhattan.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Cocktails at Bergdorfs with William Yeoward

With designer William Yeoward
I had the pleasure recently of going up to Bergdorf Goodman to have a cocktail with English designer William Yeoward who produces crystal, china, furniture, accessories, fabrics and table linens. I wrote about William in the past for Elle Decor magazine; you can read that piece here. But we had talked over the phone so I was looking forward to meeting him in person.
The occasion for the celebration at Bergdorf Goodman was the launch of William's American Bar Collection of crystal cocktail glasses.

The designer has also just published his book William Yeoward's American Bar - The World's Most Glamorous Cocktails

The gloriously glossy book offers more than 150 pages of cocktail recipes from his favorite bars including The Connaught Bar, Annabel's, and the American Bar at the Savoy.

In the book he writes, "Beautiful crystal is the ultimate enhancement for any drink but cocktails in particular afford the opportunity to use many different shapes and sizes." At Bergdorf Goodman, his collection offers a sparkling range of options, reasonably priced at $21 - $150.

At the party bartenders concocted Green Park drinks from the Savoy, a fresh blend of basil, celery bitters, lemon juice, sugar syrup, Old Tom gin and an egg white. With it was offered cheese sticks made by William's cook in London. It was a delightful treat at the end of a work day. "I love to mix cocktails, no less than four," William said with a wink.
TD and I don't often make cocktails at home but recently we have been mixing for fun Old Fashioneds, which are a blend of whiskey and lemon juice over ice with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry. The smell of an Old Fashioned reminds me of childhood at 611; it is my Proustian madeleine. Last Christmas, after a midtown outing we landed at cocktail hour with my sister Cynthia and her partner Barb in the Monkey Bar, Graydon Carter's restaurant on East 54th Street. There, the Old Fashioned came with big, truly old-fashioned square ice cubes that you don't see anymore, and was gloriously laden with fruit. For a luxurious cocktail, don't miss the Monkey Bar.