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The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before. ” - N.Gaiman

High Design Makes a Triumphant come-back at Kips Bay

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Designers pose with Charles Pavarini in the message room designed by Jennifer Post. "I have several wealthy clients who would love a room like this", Charles remarked.
Bottom row (Left to right):
Jo Ann Farley, Su Hilty, President of IFDANY, Michelle Slovak, Maureen Klein, Betsy Nichol, Rose Hittmeyer, Claudia Tejeda, Robin Meyers
Top row(s):
Esther Sadowsky, Sabrina Velandry, Susan Hoover, J. Randall Tarasuk, Charles Pavarini, Sandra Maitland, Paige Boller Malik.

Yesterday, the IFDA New York chapter, headed-up by Maureen Klein, was kind enough to include me in a guided tour by Charles Pavarini of the Kips Bay Show House. You can read a full report here, recently published in the New York Times (which, as a Times piece should and often does go, is written with biting wit and takes no prisoners-however the buzz at the Show House is that the report was not as scathing as it has been in past years).

Kips Bay, normally a spring event, was postponed due to a misunderstanding with the original property (basically, it was sold in a hurry-before the designers even had a chance to start sketching out ideas).

But the upset and postponement may have been kismet. The new property, with rooms decorated by such power-house designers as Vincent Wolfe, Noel Jeffrey, and Jennifer Post was, in a word, is breathtaking.

The biggest take-away seemed to be more of a message, and one that whispered confidently: Invest in Good Home Design. The decorated-to-the-gills, high-glossed, and lavishly finished home where no square inch is left bare; victoriously spoke the epitaph to the past several years-post economic meltdown-bargain-DIY-days of design. This home is by no means a bargain. The asking price for the property is a cool 30 mil, and you’d be lucky to find any of its contents under $3000. (most everything is for sale in the home, from the art to the rugs to the Jules Leleu Vanity), you can even purchase pet rocks which are river stones, harvested and glazed by Jennifer Post; and sell for between $20 and $40 a piece.

But most of the items for sale start in the low thousands, and climb north of $100,000.

It was refreshing.

Refreshing because for so long magazines and TV shows centered around home design have favored the DIY and bargain-hunting themes over good design. That’s great for Home Depot and Lowes, but not so great for Interior Designers.

Kips Bay was what a show house should be. Much like runway is to fashion, a show house, in its best form, is taking a concept and pushing it all the way to the moon.

Take for example the bathroom. Located on the fourth floor, the subway-tiled bath designed by Coffinier Ku Design, showcased glass blown bubbles, strung to fishing wire and hung over the tub. The tub itself was filled to the brim with the precarious glass globes.

Naturally, no one is going to fill a tub meant for soaking with glass bubbles, but the installation could inspire someone to hire a designer to create such a focal piece in their own home.

Perhaps the most evocative room was the bedroom designed by Noel Jeffrey. Inspired by 1930s films noirs; the mostly white room with some accents of black and white deco pieces seduces and embraces you. The ceiling treatment, which Mr. Jeffrey had painted in layers and layers of Benjamin Moore from the Aura Infinity collection, had the surprising (even to the designer) effect of luminosity. “Even on a darkest, rainy day, this room still glows”, remarked Mr. Jeffrey.

Later at lunch the discussion of good design continued. We all remarked on how the demographic of those hiring designers and investing in good home interiors doesn’t typically start till about age forty.

But why not? As Darren Henault was quoted as saying in the New York Times, (who designed the ‘his’ and ‘her’ dressing rooms), investing in an Alex Prager is an excellent stock tip, “You’ll double your money in the next year or so.”

But more importantly, for as many years as you are here to enjoy design, the piece will still be in your home. And will look even more fabulous thirty years from now than it did on the day you purchased it. No self-respecting financial planner would advise his client to start investing for retirement at age forty. The same goes for home design.

-Sabrina Velandry, October 20, 2010
IFDA Member, New England Chapter

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3 Comments

  1. Rose Hittmeyer | October 26th, 2010

    We loved having you at an IFDA NY chapter Event! We hope you'll join us again for another event! The showhouse is beautuful and benefits such a great cause.

  2. svelandry | November 2nd, 2010

    Hi there, yes, we are currently fleshing out all the kinks on the site. We have a mobile viewer being installed which should help things too. Thanks for the advice, and check back in soon!
    ~Sabrina

  3. Helen Hanan | April 4th, 2011

    Great website. Congrats on a wonderful business concept. Just what I need. I'm glad to have met with you at Kips Bay in NYC. Now I've moved up here and am looking forward to continuing my Interior Designer career here on the beautiful Seacoast of NH in Newmarket, a hop, skip and a jump from Portsmouth and Boston. There are exciting possibilities here with all the old factories and mills being converted into condo apartments. A bit of NY living, smaller spaces, with the natural beauty of the Seacoast. Looking forward to speaking with you.
    Thanks, Helen

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