The designers who are part of the 47th annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House had some unusual, eclectic spaces to work with in the massive 40-foot-wide, 14,000-square-foot, neo-Federal town house in Manhattan’s Lenox Hill neighborhood, from small nooks to top floor rooms with soaring 17-foot ceilings.
There were also plenty of standard bedrooms and offices that received contemporary makeovers at the show house, a fundraiser for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. Here are some of the transformations that might catch your eye, along with some ways to make it accessible without a decorator.
Designer Jeff Lincoln, who has an office in Southampton and grew up in Locust Valley, created what he calls a journey through contemporary design. He used all-new, cutting-edge pieces, such as sculptural mirrors, lamps and coffee tables from Amagansett artist Rogan Gregory. “I didn’t want to make any references that you’ve seen before,” Lincoln says.
HOW TO MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE Lincoln used woven matchstick blinds from The Shade Store, which has locations on Long Island. The natural material “keeps rooms from being too precious,” he says.
Harlem-based interior designer Sheila Bridges took inspiration from the walks in Central Park she would take with her two Australian Shepherds, Jax and Wheeler, to create a kind of mud room out of a small reception area on the home’s ground floor. A dog-themed mural by painter Rebecca Graves, in partnership with Pintura Studio, is accented by dog-themed artwork, from the simple to the evocative, including a well-known black and white photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the back seat of a police car with a police dog. An unusual feature was a shower with a wall covering of green moss.
HOW TO MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE Art, or a gallery wall, can liven up an otherwise boring entryway. “Art is always a conversation piece,” says design assistant Ashley Williams.
Michigan designer Corey Damen Jenkins used lots of blushes, greens and oranges — reminiscent of the Pantone color of the year, living coral — to create a female-focused library. It is topped off by a ceiling with botanical Cole and Son wallpaper and a French 1940s crystal chandelier comprised of branches.
HOW TO MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE Jenkins suggests homeowners focus on the ceiling with wallpaper or even paint. “If you do a ‘wow’ up there, you don’t have to worry about your kids messing up the room,” he says.
Pappas Miron Design, comprised of Manhattan-based Alexandra Pappas and Tatyana Miron Ahlers, played off the salmon-colored terrazzo floors already in the living room. They upholstered the walls in teal velvet and brought in a saffron-colored silk lounge chair and an antique carpet to give it what Pappas called a “Euro-Italian” style.
HOW TO MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE Don’t be afraid to mix old and new styles, including high-quality pieces that can be purchased inexpensively at estate sales. “Brown furniture may be out right now, but the quality is much better,” Pappas says. “They’re really beautiful when you combine them with a more modern piece.”
Jennifer Cohler Mason of Manhattan-based J. Cohler Mason Design created a living room for art collectors that is big on texture, with a modern boucle armchair with fabric containing alpaca, a textured ceiling treatment from Holland & Sherry made of hand-painted paper cut into squares and plaster walls painted with thick brush strokes that make it look like wallpaper in a Pearlescent paint from Benjamin Moore.
HOW TO MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE DIYers can easily do the textured painting themselves and could also cut contact paper into squares to put on the ceiling. “Then it doesn’t look to mainstream,” Cohler Mason says.
For her top-floor room, Manhattan designer Young Huh created an artist’s studio, taking advantage of the high ceilings to install a hand-forged iron chandelier from Iron Works and covering the walls with a large-scale Cubist collage. A coffee and wine closet and a bathroom with a farm sink complete the bohemian look.
HOW TO MAKE IT ACCESSIBLE Huh hung art prints without expensive frames, securing them to the wall with rare-earth magnets that cling to nails. “It gives it a real gallery feel,” Huh says.
WHAT The 47th annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House to benefit the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, through May 30, at 36-38 East 74th St., Manhattan
INFO $40; 718-893-8600, ext. 11245, kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org