Friday, May 3, 2019. It was warm and sunny yesterday in New York with temps reaching up to the mid-70s (and no humidity).
This has been the week of openings in the worlds of design and the arts. Frieze New York opened yesterday on Randall’s Island Park, running through Sunday. Last night at the Park Avenue Armory, there was an invitation-only preview of TEFAF benefiting the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (SMSKCC), with the show open to the public today.
Also yesterday was the official opening of the 47th Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House at 36 East 74th Street (between Park and Madison) featuring 23 of our most acclaimed interior designers and architects. They had their official opening the night before, Wednesday with 1000 (yes, it’s true!) including Honorary Show House Chair, Bunny Williams along with Show House Vice Chairs, Jamie Drake and Alexa Hampton, Board of Trustees President James Druckman, as well as Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Executive Director, Daniel Quintero. And from the world of interior design attending were Juan Montoya, Richad Mishaan, Brian MCarthy, Sasha Bikoff, Mara Miller as well as the designers of this year’s Show House: Charlotte Moss, Christopher Peacock, Corey Damen Jenkins, Ellie Cullman, Topher Delaney, Eve Robinson, Brian Gluckstein, Robert Passsal, Daniel Kahan, Jeff Lincoln, Jennifer Cohler Mason, Jim Dove, Katherine Newman, Matthew Monroe Bees, Paloma Contreras, Tatyana Miron, Alexandra Pappas, Britt Zunino, Damian Zunino, Peter Pennoyer, Sarah Bartholomew, Sheila Briges, Richard Rabel, Vicente Wolf and Young Huh. Guests all had a tour of the entire house and then a cocktail reception six blocks south on the avenue at Pratt House.
JH and I covered the architectural preparation, photographing the rooms in their rawest form with carpenters, electricians and painters working practically around the clock to get it ready for the designers (and their painters).
If you saw the Diary, you got a sense of the history of this mansion which was built in 1920 by Richard Whitney, a banker with J. P. Morgan and later president of the New York Stock Exchange where his great good fortune turned on him with the stock market crash. It was later owned by Dorothy (the first Mrs. William) Paley who bought it when they were still married.
It’s a big house, more intimate in feeling than a mansion, but grand nevertheless. Five floors by winding staircase or elevator. And most importantly, with a lot of natural light. It’s a great house to tour of its interesting and curious design, plus it has a large back garden area, right here in the middle of little ole Manhattan.
On Tuesday early evening, I went over to meet Kathy Prounis, who is on the board of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. It was Kathy who got in touch when she was researching the house and found a Diary about Dorothy. Having seen the interior only five weeks before in its serious state of reconstruction and alteration, I was in my mind’s eye aware only of the various spaces, large and small, and the light streaming in both north and south.
It’s fabulous. That’s the word. It’s enormous. And the great team of interior designers, landscape architects and floral designers and painters have transformed it into a modern mansion.
On my visit, since JH was otherwise committed elsewhere that night, I took some photos of the rooms to give you an idea of what it seems like now.
The Show House is the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club’s premiere annual fundraiser, and they expect 15,000 visitors to tour the rooms before it closes on May 30th. What really amazed me was how very quickly the interior designers put together these beautiful and often complex with details in such a short period of time.
The Kips Bay Show House is located at at 136 East 74 Street and open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Tuesday and Thursdays, it’s 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sunday from 12 noon to 5 pm.