High style on Madison

The Mansion on Madison may offer the most straightforward façade of classic elegance but step within its doors and you’ll find yourself on a whirlwind tour of the world’s finest in home décor.

WAG was invited down to Manhattan for a preview of the 42nd annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House, which this year is being held at 457 Madison Ave. The unique location — the mansion was originally the north wing of the famed Villard House — is connected to The New York Palace luxury hotel.

The event is a traditional highlight of New York’s design calendar, and this year’s edition is no exception. Once again, more than 20 leading interior designers have transformed a venue into a stunning showcase of the finest furnishings, eclectic art and cutting-edge technology. The “must-see” design destination – which annually attracts some 15,000 visitors from around the world – remains a place to spot trends, famous faces and endless inspiration for your own home.

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.”

We’ll have an expansive photo essay and story in our June issue, but if we’ve piqued your interest, you can tour the show house yourself daily through May 29. It is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays (to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays) and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets are $35. As always, proceeds benefit 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.

For more, visit kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org.

– Mary Shustack

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