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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hey hey, it's Kips Bay!

Kitchen by Eve Robinson Associates. Loves it.

The Kips Bay Decorator Show House opens today, nearly six months past its usual early spring debut. The townhouse that was to be used for the event was sold suddenly, leaving the charity and the participating interior designers in a lurch. Another house was eventually secured, and the three-ring decorating circus moved to the other side of the Manhattan. Now, on with the show...

The dining room by Cullman & Kravis. Expensive, lovely, and staid. There are always two or three rooms like this in every big city show house. The Ladies Who Lunch (and buy show house tickets) love a space like this. It reassures them everything will be alright when Caucasians become a minority in 2042.

A dressing room by Darren Henault Interiors - Bloomsbury meets Hollywood Regency by way of Z Gallerie with a dash of Blik wall decals. I've seen more cohesive statements on Courtney Love's Twitter page.

Random weirdness by 2Michaels Design. They paid an artist $7000 to create the ovoid-shaped fireplace. That's about $6600 too much.

A rather ho hum landing by Robert Verdi and Deirdre A. D'Elia Interior Design. Why do designers of small show house rooms try to pack a ballroom's worth of decorating into a powder room-sized area? Verdi opined of the rug: "I feel like Martha Stewart would want it and be jealous that we had it." Dream on, Sister.

A bedroom by Noel Jeffrey who finds inspiration in everything from the 1970s to Syrie Maugham. From Jeffrey's website bio: "He has a singular ability to create interior spaces that balance comfort, functionality and taste underscored by a spirit both striking and adventuresome." Have you ever noticed the most insufferable queens are always named "Noel"?

One word - spitballs.

[The New York Times]

37 comments:

Edith Hope said...

Dear Raina, I must confess that none of this really appeals to me. Perhaps to my shame I have not heard of any of the designers, but that matters little when I have found their designs so completely unmemorable. Is this Manhattan? Is this the design centre of the universe? I think 'could do better' would be written on the school report!!

Mandi Smith T said...

What a great way to start my day! I am laughing out loud at your perspective on these spaces. You rock, my friend. M.

The Down East Dilettante said...

The moment I saw the pics in the Times last night, I said to my little self, "I CANNOT WAIT to see what Raina does with this shit". I barely slept all night in anticipation!

I pretty much agree with you right down the line. My favorite Raina quote today? "I've seen more cohesive statements on Courtney Love's Twitter page". 2nd favorite? "That's about $6600 too much". You go, girl!

Now, a bit of longwinded Dilettante personal history: I've been to most of the Kip's Bay showhouses since I was a young design groupie, knee high to a decorator. Once upon a time, Kip's Bay was powerfully influential, and one could see great work by some of the biggest and best names in the business, and it was where stars were born. Art and furnishings of the highest quality would be loaned by galleries and dealers. While not particularly a fan of Mark Hampton, when I look at that busy little black stair landing, I am reminded of a room that he did for Kip's Bay many years ago---a big georgian drawing room with white woodwork and black walls---the sense of scale was right, the furnishings were right, people gasped with pleasure when they entered it---and they were right.

In trying to be more relevant, Kip's Bay has gone second rate.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Nah, cancel that. Third rate. When a Cullman & Kravis room is one of the best in show, the show is in trouble.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I do like the kitchen...although I thought this was the dining room!

Fav. quote..."ladies who lunch love this......." SO funny!!!

Appletree said...

well played sister

Alexis L., The Studioist said...

You are on fire. Re this: "The Ladies Who Lunch (and buy show house tickets) love a space like this. It reassures them everything will be alright when Caucasians become a minority in 2042." When the end comes, they will escape thusly: (from the 2004 Kips Bay Archives) http://www.studioist.com/?attachment_id=3563

The Down East Dilettante said...

Okay, I can't stop: the last photo, the one of the spitballs bas relief:

Soooo bad. Just bad. Makes one yearn for Dorothy Drapers A-MAZING plaster bas reliefs in her brilliant Hampshire House lobby---vogue regency at it's apogee

my favorite and my best said...

goddamnit gurl! you rock my face.

at first you got me hard with this one: "It reassures them everything will be alright when Caucasians become a minority in 2042"

then you sent it home with this: "I've seen more cohesive statements on Courtney Love's Twitter page"

love you more than my luggage.

life, in small chunks said...

When I read "It reassures them everything will be alright when Caucasians become a minority in 2042." I did a little fist pump and a silent "YES!". I am at work, after all. As for the house, while I'm not a huge fan of the purple, I agree the kitchen is the best room by far. Everything else...meh.
karin

susieq said...

Yes, 3rd rate. And the Courtney Love quote is my favorite of yours. Ever.

Brandi said...

I actually think the Robert Verdi room is one of the better ones here. I really like the black lacquer ceiling and the settee. The others just feel like been there done that!

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

I really feel like I should be paying for this level of wit and entertainment, but thank you for not charging!
The Verdi landing sits best with me, even though I can see Jenny's head swiveling over the lone, "set" orchid. For what it's worth, I would take the peacock velvet loveseat, and gold footstools...

Alcira Molina-Ali said...

Uh, I'm not really feeling any of this. Kips Bay, really?
The third nook would be cool minus the decal action and that hideous fabric on the banquette.
But really, I'm disappointed.

Cheers, Alcira

thenerochronicles.blogspot.com

The Zhush said...

Hands down, THE best post I have ever read on a blog!!! Although I do really like that Verdi landing, and the bench at the foot of Noel's bed. I need to believe this place somehow looks better in person, although, I won't be wasting my time to find out.

Jeannine @ Small and Chic said...

Ugh. My first show house ever was a Kips Bay Show House. It was awesome. This is not.

I thought Kips Bay was supposed to be the best of the best.

Leigh said...

you are the awesomest kind of awesome and i love reading your awesome blog.

David said...

Just how I like my Raina, unfiltered and straight up.

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Kitchen looks great - 2Michaels room is just sad - and your take on it makes it all worthwhile!

magnaverde said...

At first glance, I really liked that first photo, but then I realized that I was reacting to the size & scale of the room itself, not what the decorators did to it.

Twenty years ago, back when Kips Bay was at its peak, I lived in Peoria, where the rooms in our annual charity showhouse were all over the map--one pretty-but-predictable room, and the rest, unremarkable or flat-out boring or amateurish or, my favorite, deliciously awful--and I vowed that, someday, as-god-was-my witness, I'd see a real Kips Bay house in person. Sadly, now that I can actually do it, it hardly seems worth the effort. This is one of those old Peoria showhouses. All that's missing is a watermelon pink Buttons-'n'-Bows themed guest room.

It's too late for Kips Bay to go out at the top of their game, but they could still leave us with our memories of the glory years by pulling the plug before the whole thing slips down to Design Star level.

Topaz said...

When I first saw the headline, I thought I would be laughing at the photos, not the accompanying captions.

Raina, dare I say you missed your true calling? You should be writing for the movies. Lord knows they could use you.

P.S. No, the most insufferable queens are named "Christopher." And if, God forbid, they use a nickname, it's "Topher."

Three Owls said...

let's face it we're all here for the banter... and of course I agree with your opinion otherwise I'd just leave in a huff. As a side note that sweet blue sofa should be mine...

dave said...

You have outdone even yourself with this post. Brava!

That's really a kitchen? I could spend an entire day in that room happily lapping up the gray-violet goodness -- but that's a kitchen? I cannot imagine preparing food in there. Are designers using "kitchen" in a different sense than what I'm used to?

Raina Cox said...

Dave - I'm dying to see the rest of the kitchen, not just the breakfast nook. If that's what one calls such a lovely area.

Kitchens For Living said...

Where's the kitchen? Did I miss something? I thought it was a dining room. Guess my radar's off.

Topaz said...

Oh God, some other bloggers, including the "chic" one, have tumbled onto Kips Bay and are predictably fawning all over it. Raina, thank you for always telling it like it is.

Raina Cox said...

Kitchens for Living - You're right, I probably should have labeled it "Dining Area of Kitchen."

nkp said...

I can't improve on what TDED already said. Except to say that your witty writing and wry observations always bring a smile to my face. Another excellent post, Lady!

Naomi@ThirteenandSouth said...

MEhhh to all of it, except your hilarious commentary.
Traditional dining rooms make me lose my appetite. Nothing about that room makes me want to gather with friends or family and feast. Then again, I'm not a lady who lunches....

Sketch42 said...

I went today - took pics and covered on my blog.

Just FYI Noel is pretty nice- and straight. I chatted with his wife for 25 minutes!

Raina Cox said...

Sketch42 - He's straight?! Aw man, way to ruin my set-up. ;)

only a movie said...

Sort liking that kitcheny area. That purple/grey is so soothing.

You are hysterical.

Sketch42 said...

I was also SHOCKED when the woman working there said she was his wife! Not that he has a gay demeanor, just that I thought the man who would create that room would be gay too.

Robin said...

Woman, you crack me up. The dining room caption is worth the weight of that chandelier in gold.

I've been to one showhouse in my life, 20 years ago, in the NYC suburb of Fairfield CT. Each room was decorated "for" a celebrity client. I remember a monstrosity of red plaid and chintz that was "for" Loretta Swit. Afterward my mom and I went and had a long lunch with a lot of wine and tried to figure out what the hell Loretta had done to deserve that. I don't remember much else about the house but the curried chicken salad was delicious.

Bromeliad said...

There's no house tour like a Raina house tour.

Cashon&Co said...

you're spot on. spitballs. you crack me up!

Domestic Goddess said...

Honey Child, you are HILARIOUS. You know this, but I still had to say it. Thanks for sharing your talent with the world!