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Kips Bay designers' show house 2015: Newly renovated and still swank

At the 43rd Kips Bay Decorator Show House,

At the 43rd Kips Bay Decorator Show House, a formal dining room by Mark D. Spikes Interiors on May 11, 2015. Credit: Bruce Gilbert

The Beaux-Arts-style Arthur Sachs Mansion in Manhattan's Lenox Hill neighborhood plays host to this year's Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club Decorator Showhouse. A traditional swank characterizes the decorating, which suits the newly renovated six-floor, 9,600-square-foot architectural masterpiece, which is on the market and faces Andy Warhol's longtime landmark home.

The showstopping, deep burgundy octagonal foyer by Jamie Drake, Manhattan designer-to-the-stars, sets a sophisticated tone found in even the smallest spaces. Make sure to visit the intimate lounge connecting the kitchen to the back stairs, for instance. There, Manhattan designer Bennett Leifer, who spent part of his childhood in Great Neck, captures attention with a hand-painted Japanese garden-scene wallpaper on a patinated gold background.

Here are some other highlights from the show, held for the 43rd year.

On high

"Going Up 4 to 6" is the title of Manhattan and San Francisco design firm PAULA+MARTHA's space, more a whimsical at-home art gallery than a traditional room expected to be seen in a decorator show house -- two stairways and two landings. At the very top hang spiral aluminum sculptures by French artist Jacques Jarrige. Looking through them to the wall leading from the fifth floor to the sixth are abstract black-and-white paintings by American artist Al Held. Other sights in the vertically oriented location include illuminated sculptures by artist Jeff Zimmerman, collages on voile and Plexiglas by artist Robert Greene, a photograph by Roman Scialom and an 1860 French stone sphinx.

DIY TIP: The tops of staircases are often overlooked in the home, says New York-based designer Paula Caravelli. Instead of hanging the Held works at eye level as a viewer ascends the stairs, Caravelli placed them high to meet the eye from the top landing. When looking at sprucing up such an area in the home, ask, "What are you looking at straight across?" to find inspiration, she suggests.

Water, water

Another unusual arena for art can be found in Port Chester, N.Y., designer Peter Sinnott IV's fourth-floor bathroom. Past the gray, charcoal and white hexagonal tiles on the floor and honed Carrara on the walls is the shower area, where a sculpture hangs. The piece, by Seattle artist Katy Stone, is a steel bar relief painted blue to look like streaming water. "It's really meant for a living room or a dining room but not a bathroom," says Sinnott, principal, senior designer and creative director of Home Works.

DIY TIP: Often bathrooms, like kitchens, are the most-used rooms in a home. When finding art to display, "it definitely has to mean something to you," Sinnott says. Stay away from tapestries, silks and delicate works that might be damaged by the conditions in the room. Look instead for pieces made of resin, steel or stone. "There are some indoor-outdoor sculptures that are fun," he says.

Old is new

Manhattan decorator Charles Pavarini's room, "Midnight Manhattan Lounge," is a textured expanse of sensual materials. Pewter-leafed travertine mosaic tile covers the fireplace mantel in the main room, where eye shadow combined with blue paint give the strie walls a shimmer that changes with the light. Here, the drapery is shagreen-embossed leather with metal beaded pleating. Off to the side is a dry bar with a cut-glass mirrored wall and a convex mirror that lights up with energy efficient OLED technology.

DIY TIP: The bar is in what used to be a closet, a transformation that Pavarini says is attainable in many homes. "It adds to the function of a room," he says. Make sure there are no remnants of the closet door and casings, he adds.

WHAT: The 43rd Annual Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club Decorator Showhouse 2015, a benefit for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club

WHEN | WHERE: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, until 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays, through June 11, at The Arthur Sachs Mansion, 58 E. 66th St., Manhattan

INFO: $35, which includes journal; children under 6 (including infants) and pets not admitted; no entry a half-hour before closing; 718-893-8600, ext. 245,

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