It has been five years since The Kips Bay Designer Show House took root on the tropical shores of Palm Beach where it has flourished as one of the most anticipated events of the season. The excitement this year builds as much for the stunning showcase of uber-talented top designers as for its locale in the Old Northwood Historic District, the up-and-coming neighborhood in West Palm Beach.
The ”Mansion of Northwood,” as it is locally known, was built in 1923 by Orrin Randolph, one of the original Northwood developers, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The design world and creative types are flocking to the area where developers envision a new Gold Coast while long-time residents press for retaining the District’s particular appeal and charm.
The historic district, so designated in 1994, is bordered by Broadway, North Dixie Highway, and 26th and 35th Streets. It boasts 320 historic buildings in various styles of early architecture built during Florida’s boom era in the 1920s.
If you want to read or listen to the most interesting book on the subject, this is a must.
Jim Dove, the exceptional kitchen and lifestyle designer, expresses the zeitgeist of the entire group of prominent professionals at the top of their game.
“While being invited to participate in the Kips Bay Show House is beyond an honor and a privilege, for me it’s also an opportunity to give back to the Palm Beach community for their extraordinary welcome. In my entire career, I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this kind of velocity of renovations and new builds — and am both humbled and grateful that so many people have entrusted us with what is, in essence, the hearts of their homes.”
The show runs from March 5th to April 3rd with the celebratory unveiling on March 4th at the Opening Day Preview Party.
The Preview began as a cocktail reception, but during Covid the anticipated unveiling was transformed into an all day affair. Devotees and designistas can choose a two-hour time slot in which to discover the endless and exceptional examples of style, both practical and ephemeral. One cannot take in all of the riches and refinements on just one pass — the house is open from 10am to 4pm daily for revisits.
Here’s a peek at last year’s festivities, photographed by CAPEHART, of course.
On opening day, it is a special treat to meet the designers and learn about particular inspiration and process.
Arkansas and Palm Beach based Chris Goddard of Goddard Design Group, who was a finalist on last year’s Design Star: Next Gen, shares his insights into the process.
“Kips Bay is both challenging and rewarding as a designer because we are restrained by the timeline but have unlimited creativity with our design concepts to imagine and realize spaces that we could not do for a client.”
I was delighted to find a favored friend on the esteemed list. We met Paloma Contreras in 2011 when Hilary and I hosted a party for High Gloss Magazine’s Founder and Editor in Chief with lots of fun fashionistas.
Note her description of the Palm Beach vibe:
“Palm Beach has a well-defined, sophisticated aesthetic while maintaining a fun, old school sensibility. “Green Gardens,” my sunroom at the 2022 Kips Bay Palm Beach Decorator Showhouse is a direct reflection of the spirit of Palm Beach with a modern twist. I set out to design a beautiful garden space but wanted it to feel a bit unexpected. I drew upon a fresh color palette of green and white to beckon the outdoors in. Because the room has windows on three walls, I knew that the window treatments would need to pack a punch as they would be a major focal point in the room. I opted for tailored draperies in a crisp glazed linen with contrasting trim and dentil valances to add a crispness to the space and a little wink to the heyday of Palm Beach.”
And just read this delectable description of Beth Diana Smith’s dining room in the house.
Her rooms tell a story of wonder.
“The Wonderland Dining Room is a whimsical, yet sophisticated dining space created to provide guests with an experience through layers of pattern, color, and texture. I had a goal to create a playful and refined space that marries beautiful details with conversation pieces, from textured wallpaper to velvet chairs to incorporating wildlife in subtle ways. This dining space is meant to be a bewitching backdrop for an evening of laughter, cocktails, and amazing food.”
The showcase begins and ends with the garden and the artful approach to the historic home. Our friend Bob Bell has taken the whole process above and beyond by arranging a planting day for the children of the Palm Beach County Boys and Girls Club, providing an opportunity to learn about garden design, horticulture, and landscape construction as a career.
“Inspiring children is most important because that is how I started with my career as a landscape architect. Seeing things like this inspired me. To show people new ideas and different points of view is the entire point of the Kips Bay Show House.”
We are looking forward to the unveiling of his “garden rooms” design with both fabulosity and folly. In the sculpture garden, ‘Neuron’, a 10-foot-high polished aluminum kinetic sculpture by New Orleans artist Lin Emery holds pride of place.
On loan from renowned collector Beth Rudin DeWoody, the pace of the sculpture’s movement changes throughout the day, rotating alternately with quiet contemplation or the speed of bold inspiring thought.
Beth is collector, mentor, patron, Patron Saint, and Mother Superior of the contemporary art scene. Her generosity is legendary and boundless.
For what to wear to the opening and subsequent visits, Hilary and I landed on the same page, or should I say same petal. Floral and femine shapes are still high on our fashionista friend’s fancies — all agree that the soft, feminine cut comforts and flatters as one. When we went shopping, we discovered bright, blossoming bouquets of botanics just ripe for the picking. Since you will be wearing these beauties, well into the next season, best to choose a few.
Hilary is “still drawn toward the midi length and these floral pieces are feminine and light. Color is definitely a theme of Palm Beach, but when wearing a colorful dress I like to accessorize with a neutral shoe and handbag. I am excited to visit Northwood and stroll through the many rooms of the show house … picking up a tip or two or three … for my one-day dream house.”
Long, short or inbetween, pink seems to be the shade of the season. It is showing up everywhere from home decor to fashion. Take note on how to know if a dress is too short for you. Measure from the top of your shoulder to the spot that makes you comfortable with the length and note it. Most websites provide the measurement to check. When in doubt — if you think it is too short, it is!
These fanciful frocks hit at mid length, just between knee and ankle and are a graceful alternative for kicking up your heels platforms wedges, to wend your way through the gardens and house filled with delight and discovery.
All proceeds from the Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County.
Ashley Gilbreth Interior Design
Catherine M. Austin Interior Design