Lifestyle & Design: Newport Seen Tours the 38th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Manhattan

Ellen Barnes dreams in the "Her" bathroom

In a vertical (six stories, unavailable elevator, vertiginous staircase) and stunning townhouse in New York, twenty top New York-based interior designers, landscape artists and

photographers came together to create displays and rooms that absolutely dazzled for the 38th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House benefiting the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.


In a newly renovated limestone mansion at 106 East 71st Street, a high-profile renovation project (a gentleman was walking through with his real estate agent during show hours), the house groaned and shouted with the best in interior design talent and trends. Each of the 17 rooms in the six-story, 10,000-square-foot mansion had been re-imagined and refigured for enthusiasts of design, and those seeking personal design inspiration.

A first floor hall, design by Rod Winterrowd, Inc.

The Show House opened six months later than planned this year, as a West Side house that was to serve as the venue in the spring was sold precipitously, leaving the organizers searching for another space.

Ellen Barnes, whose own Newport residence was her very own design project (among others), was fascinated with several of the designer’s rooms, but questioned the removal of moldings and creation of artificial arches in the renovation of the historic townhouse.


Met with an arresting foyer with low settees by  Jean Paul Gaultier, the wildly imaginative fashion designer now creating a home furnishings line for Roche Bobois, we passed through the staircase hall to a charming kitchen-living room by Eve Robinson Associates, with a sculpture of copper pots from Moss Gallery and a massive 2005 painting of the National Palace in Lisbon by Candida Hofer that was an exercise in trompe l’oeil. The central hall, in Empire style dark wood pieces, was well scaled and atmospheric.


Nina Helms with her textural sculptures

The His and Her rooms by Darren Henault were a fascinating psychological study: Ms. Barnes found the “her” bathroom by Coffinier Ku Design, with its hand-blown glass bubbles above a deep tub, a place for dreaming.


Ascending the spiral staircase by Rod Winterrowd, Inc., was made fascinating by its black and white scheme, and interestingly hung photographs by Monica Rich Kosann.  “Sculpt de fleur”, an installation by Nina Helms, graced an upper hall with translucent affixed sculptures on molded plaster, or shower doors, which she does to order.


One of the pleasures of show houses is viewing  unusual furniture piece design: Two tufted almost Recamier-style leather lounges facing away from the fireplace intrigued us in an upper room by Aman & Carson Interiors, and a beautifully inlaid and burled sideboard was a definite “we-want that.”


The Townhouse's impressive spiral staircase



Ultra modern, the two rooms by Jennifer Post Design on the upper floor were a stark study in black and white, and included a massage table, designed, of course, to match.


Wendy Kenney of Patherton Books, sold an array fabulous design books out of a large, converted closet.


Newport Seen hears that 106 East 71st Street is still available at $25 million.

                                                                                  -- L.P.



Jean Paul Gaultier's low settees

In the Eve Robinson designed kitchen

Photographs in the spiral stairwell

Painting of The National Palace in Lisbon by

Candida Hofer

Brass pot sculpture

Ellen Barnes in a fabulous designer room


 A beautifully decorated hallway


Wendy Kenney of Patherton Books


A diaphanous room


The His and Hers suites


Ms. Barnes examining an inlaid high chest


 A corner of the "His" bedroom


Brett Design's first floor office, with imaginative



The ceiling above the "Her" tub


Arresting table design


Relaxing in an upper floor living room


 The inlaid sideboard, an object of desire


Twin tufted leather settees


The view to the terrace in the rain


The terrace, from the Jennifer Post sixth-floor room


A massage table by Jennifer Post



A hallway vignette -- tea, anyone?


The basement Gift Shop benefiting Kips Bay programs


A corner in the Brett Design office



Complete list of Kips Bay Showhouse design participants:
2Michaels Design
Aman & Carson Inc.
Brett Design
Coffinier Ku Design, Ltd.
Cullman & Kravis
Darren Henault Interiors
Eve Robinson Associates
Jean Paul Gaultier
The Jeffrey Design Group
Jennifer Post Design Inc.
Katie Ridder Design and Decoration
McMillen Plus
Monica Rich Kosann Photography
Nancy Boszhardt Inc.
Plants Specialists
Robert Verdi and Deirdre A. D’Elia Interior Designs
Rod Winterrowd Inc.
Sculpt du Fleur by Nina Helms
Sherrill Canet Interiors, Ltd.
Vicente Wolf Associates











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