A world of inspired design

Forget the Grand Tour.

We only had to head down to Madison Avenue to take a whirlwind trip through the best of the world’s art, design and home décor.

The venue was the Mansion on Madison, its stately façade the picture of classic elegance. But once inside its doors, the 42nd annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House was in fully vibrant command welcoming design aficionados throughout May.

WAG was invited to preview the prestigious event, touring the rooms and meeting many of the designers who happily shared their inspirations with us.

The unique location – the mansion was originally the north wing of the famed Villard House – is connected to The New York Palace luxury hotel.

It was the perfect backdrop for a virtual tour of the world, as seen through the eyes of more than 20 leading interior designers who took their individual visions and turned them into showcases of fine furnishings, eclectic art and cutting-edge technology.

The “must-see” design destination – which annually attracts some 15,000 visitors from around the world – as always raises funds for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. Since its inception, the show house has raised more than $19 million for the nonprofit organization that enhances the life of the city’s economically, socially or recreationally disadvantaged children.

We were delighted by countless moments, from impressions created by entire rooms down to the most charming details within.

We chatted with designers including Gideon Mendelson, a self-proclaimed “Scarsdale boy” who created a stunning room called “The Lady’s Lair;” John Douglas Eason, who has worked in both Westchester and Fairfield and whose grand staircase was an artful study that balanced a sense of history and grandeur with modern flair; and Young Huh, a Scarsdale woman making her show house debut. Her creativity was more than challenged in the compact space that includes the mansion’s two powder rooms, but her jewel-box creation was a shining success.

We admired the expansive kitchen by Matthew Quinn, where cabinetry details echoed the spires of St. Patrick’s Cathedral just across the
street; and the eclectic sensibility of Alexa Hampton’s room, where the design of a Spanish tile was translated to custom wallpaper, the evocative backdrop of an exotic retreat.

We relished the bold hues of the Kirsten Kelli living room (they have a Greenwich presence), the playful Pucci motif of Christopher Peacock’s walk-in closet and vanity (he’s another with local ties); and the oh-so-glamorous glass-beaded bedside tables in the Cullman & Kravis bedroom.

And it was quite a thrill to meet Colombian-born design icon Juan Montoya, whose modern and wonderfully spacious living room had the most eclectic touch, a sparkling early 19th-century British chandelier. He spoke of proportion, scale and creating a room that is both stylish and comfortable.

“It’s like a good recipe,” he told me. “You have it. You taste it, and then you want more of it.”

Kind of what tempts one back to the Kips Bay show house year after year.

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