With Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller of Carrier and Company Interiors, Ltd., in their show house room.
Last week, amidst torrential Noah's-ark-like rain that went on for days, TD and I attended the opening party for this year's Kip's Bay Decorator Show House. It's always fun to go to this renowned show house and see what top American decorators have created in an empty space. This year, it is held in the famous Villard House which is an extra special treat.
The Villard House, at Madison Avenue and 51st Street, was built by railroad magnate Henry Villard in the Gilded Age by McKim, Mead & White. Since it was vacant, it offered the perfect spot for this year's show house. "It can be hard to get designers to sign up for a show house," Bunny Williams, the great American designer and this year's Show House Chair, told me in the entrance gallery, "but I said to them, 'Just come see this house!'" And they did. Twenty-two designers and architects signed up to participate this year in the house's three floors.
The first stop for us was Carrier and Company, the prominent husband and wife designers who count tastemakers Anna Wintour and Katie Marron among their clients. Our talented nephew Aaron interned with the company last summer and will be returning this summer so we introduced ourselves to Jesse and Mara (pictured above). "This is a lady's sitting room, and we wanted it to be chic and grand but fun and livable at the same time," Jesse told me.
They installed handmade white and gold marbleized wallpaper in the room and hung a large painting of enamel on aluminum by artist Nastasha Law who is actor Jude Law's sister. I admired the decorators' mix of colors and textures with a glint of golden shine. They seem to have a light touch. Chic indeed.
For Mark Hampton LLC, Alexa Hampton designed a sumptuous room with a Moroccan theme.
The room was so inviting. I'd love to sit with a drink and read a book in this corner.
The lady herself, Alexa Hampton, on the right, carried through on the Moroccan theme, wearing an exotic emerald green caftan with gold trim.
At the other end of the spectrum, Darryl Carter created a room which was neutral and peaceful, quiet and still.
Next door, Markham Roberts designed a study in rich peacock blue and lined the walls with art.
Similarly, I liked how the Mendelson Group arranged artwork on this blue washed wall.
On the third floor we spotted Martha Stewart touring the rooms and taking in the details. Here is a view going back down the stairs to the first floor, where the stately entrance gallery was decorated by Martyn Ballard Lawrence –
Cocktails were offered outside in the courtyard where a tent had been set up due to the driving rain. Water flooded in though and maintenance men had to continuously sweep it out. The ladies could not wear their new spring stilettos that night!
But the sun has come out and the Show House is up until May 29th. There are a lot more rooms to see, and something for everyone. Tickets are $35, and benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx which offers education and support to city kids, so besides being an inspiration and a delight to the eye, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House does good work too.