Kips Bay Showhouse 2013 Trend Report

Each year, talented designers take on rooms at the newly selected Kips Bay Show House and, as show house chair and celebrity designer Bunny Williams says, they  look to “make magic happen.”

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Andrew Suvalsky’s Foyer

This particular NYC show house is one that can show the best in design, spawn trends or push the bounds of the design landscape in total. These are the showcased rooms that allow select designers to flex their muscles for the public by designing a room for for fictitious clients who are the early adapters in design, or simply those with big bucks.  All it takes to make a design room happen is the designer’s ingenuity and skill. Oh yes…and cash….plus the loaned or deeply discounted support from manufacturers as well local workrooms, craftspeople and art and antiques galleries.

I’m ready to see the show!

Here are some show trend takeaways and highlights for the 2013 Kips Bay Show House:

General Themes

  • Lacquer continues to gain momentum, from the highest gloss furnishings to mirror-like finishes on walls and even ceilings. Kudos to Andrew Suvalsky Designs for his home run first floor powder room in total, and particularly with his choice to carry lacquer from walls to ceiling to  millwork. Smashing.
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Andrew Suvalsky Powder Room
  • Lymed woods continue. Think furniture from Restoration Hardware (I’m not a fan, but that’s the wood of trend today…it looks like the grain, life and color has been acid washed out of the wood). However, my head did turn in this year’s kitchen where the lymed treatment jumped to the marvelous deep driftwood colored custom cabinetry by Christopher Peacock. Mr. Peacock wisely juxtaposed these with beefy, shiny chrome cabinet hardware, a fabulous custom hood accented by stainless steel studs and stripes and a marvelous though impractical mirrored backsplash at the cooktop. Yes, this kitchen was “for lookin’, not for cookin”‘ right down to its dark, moody lighting and choice of flat screen TV instead of a kitchen table. But I digress. Lymed wood floors also showed up in a number of rooms in the house.

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    Christopher Peacock Kitchen

(For those of you who have  take my trend seminar you know that trends move in multiples and sometimes polar opposites. So I ask you…what is the opposite of shiny, wet looking lacquer? Answer: lymed wood.)

  • Smoked glass showed itself a number of times whether as the backdrop to built in bars or as room accents as in Mr. Suvalsky’s great first floor powder room again. Smoked glass, with it 70’s nod is rich and moody – and a logical move with the continued movement of the gray color story in design currently. Lucite showed up still as accent furnishings, but less so as decorative accents within furnishings.
  •  Color story.  Nothing new here.  Gray continued in every iteration; purple showed itself still.
Eve Robinson
Eve Robinson Family Lounge
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Judy King’s “Aquatic Pass” features a purple hued area rug
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Sara Story Bathroom with geometric, lilac hued vanity
  • Furnishings as art. OK purists, get ready for some mind bending. Check out the bronze sculpture of a dining room side board in, naturally, the dining room. Oh yeah, and it looked like a bomb took out its mid section, so no, it really isn’t for serving and its actually a sculpture. And yes, other than the “real” dining table and chairs in the dining room of this year’s house, that WAS what would have been the sideboard. Elsewhere there were chairs in the shape of triangles, pillows in the shape of triangular prisms (not designed for a Sunday nap, but rather to actually help you support your insomnia problem). Oh, and this sofa in the room called “Bamboo Story” by Sara Story, is a cross between a Rubik’s Cube and dice. Neither of which conjures images of comfort lounging…but then again….neither does this fun sofa. Furnishings as art, rather than functional comfort. Sometimes design does go a little goofy. But as long as you’re  not paying for it, why not sit back and enjoy the ride?
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Vincent Duborg Buffet
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Sara Story’s “Bamboo Story” room features triangular pillows and Rubik’s Cube sofas
  • The metal banister and balustrade continues. Here is the show house’s two-color metal balustrade accented by the still resurgent golden bronze banister.
Two-tone Balustrade

Some favorite, livable, creative rooms for me are these:

  • Garcia Maldonodo, Inc’s Lounge Suite: the originally dark, dreary room is transformed with pale leather upholstery walls a la Versailles pattern. A queen size bed is transformed into a custom lounging sofa fit for a family snuggle up, and the room is lightened and enlivened by perfectly treated windows and masterfully mixed textures. There was just the right bounce of shine from the fireplace surround to the smoked glass bar and chunky glass accent table.
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Garcia Maldonado’s “Lounge Suite”
  • Gomez Associates (led by Marietta Himes Gomez). I’m a fan, what can I say? Perfect millwork and soaring ceilings are the perfect foil for this chic uptown living room. With its soft, creamy vanilla palette, sleek furnishings and whisper-perfect blue and cream hand-knotted area rugs, this room would call any NYC socialite to  cancel a date at the polo match so she can kick off her Manolo’s and sit a while.
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Gomez Associates Drawing Room
  •  Christopher Peacock’s Kitchen (reference above )
  • Andrew Suvalsky’s first floor powder room (referenced above)
  • Stephen Mooney’s “La Petite Writing Room,” makes an impossibly small room beacon, thanks to this designers skill and prowess. Wrapping the room in the right pattern, saturation and a tight color palette and perfectly scaled furnishings, Mr Mooney was “on the money”.
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Stephen Mooney’s “La Petite Writing Room”

Thank you to all of the Showhouse designers. I appreciated all of your fine work and am already looking forward to next year! There were many more rooms that we didn’t have room to show, but visit the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse site for more.

The Kips Bay Show House receives as many as 20,000 guests annually from across the nation. Since its inception, the Show House has raised over $17,000,000 for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which currently reaches over 12,000 young people at ten locations throughout the Bronx. Today, the club is proudly one of the most prominent and responsive youth development agencies in New York City and a “flagship” of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. For more information, click here.

All photos:  timothy bell