Month: May 2016

5 Ideas to Steal from the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse

Showhouse season is an exciting time for interior design enthusiasts.  Showhouse rooms tend to be the most magical of interiors.  Designers aim to impress.  Plus, they no longer have clients to negotiate with.  And, in a sense, the designers participating in a showhouse are (more or less) in competition with each other–spurring the level of creativity to new heights.  For my money, the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse is the most inspiring and 2016 did not disappoint.  Spawned by the spectacular rooms decorated by the likes of Alex Papachristidis and Garrow Kedigian, here are 5 decorating ideas you can steal from this year’s extravaganza…

Use Color to Create a Flow

5 Ideas to Steal from the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse 2016

Entry hall by David Collins Studio via nytimes.com

Color is often a polarizing phenomenon in interior design.  The neutrals camp is steadfast and the color lovers are passionate.  However, the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse was renovated on what seems like common ground.  It was surprising to see the so-called “King of Color”, Jamie Drake (who recently partnered with Caleb Anderson to form Drake/Anderson) put forth a fairly neutral bedroom.  In fact, the majority of the most commonly used living spaces (bedrooms, living room, dining room, and kitchen) exhibited neutral palettes.  However, the lesser used spaces and arterials were peppered and (in some cases) drenched in daring color.  If you subscribe to the theory that color can be overwhelming, then this approach makes sense.  Loads of color is refreshing in those seldom used spaces.  Meanwhile, the most used rooms are restful.  A colorful hallway can also draw out the occupants and usher them into the next room, creating a pleasing flow to a home.

Embellish the Embellished

5 Ideas to Steal from the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse

Dining room by Alex Papachristidis

Even if you’re not a maximalist, it’d be hard not to admire the lavish attention to detail that Alex Papachristidis bestowed on his (also surprisingly neutral) dining room for the Kips Bay Showhouse.  Gilded chairs and even sofa cushions were hand painted to echo themes from the custom wallpaper.  A chandelier, already dripping with crystals, was further adorned with strings of ceramic beads made by Eve Kaplan.   Even the glamorous brass coffee tables were elevated thanks to the work of Nancy Lorenz, who used mother of pearl, lacquer, and gold leaf to create a unique surface.  And these are just a few of the details.  To see the rest, visit Quinessence, the source for these delicious details and the images above.

Trade in Your Rug for Statement Flooring

5 Ideas to Steal from the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse

Petit Salon By Sawyer/Berson via AD

Flooring trends these days seem to veer towards Middle Eastern textiles like kilim and dhurrie rugs.  So the terrazzo floors in the Sawyer/Berson decorated room of the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse was a unexpected choice but brilliant choice.  The shades of rust, terracotta, and tumeric  are the perfect compliments to the moody teal walls and their warmth is reinforced by the gilded and brass touches throughout the room.  Judging by the sheer amount of Instagrams featuring this floor, Sawyer/Berson may well have stolen the show.

Upholster Something Unexpected

5 Ideas to Steal from the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse

2016 KBDS bedrom via AD

5 Ideas to Steal from the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse 2016

Drake/Anderson Bedroom via AD

Renowned design firms Olasky & Sinsteden and Drake/Anderson must have been on the same wavelength when decorating for the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse, because they both doubled down on upholstery.  In the case of the Olasky & Sinsteden, the duo chose to install oversize twin beds, wrapping their lofty, scalloped frames in fabric.  Drake/Anderson, on the other hand, took the use of upholstery a bit further.  This design powerhouse covered the room’s moldings in fabric identical to the wall treatments, drapery, and canopy.  The effect is almost cocoon-like and yet another unexpected delight to behold.

Create a OOAK Wall Treatment

5 Ideas to Steal from the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse

Phillip Thomas’ “lady lair” via HouseBeautiful

5 Ideas to Steal from the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse

Garrow Kedigian’s room via Newsday

Phillip Thomas and Garrow Kedigian were also in tune when they transformed ordinary rooms into  luxurious, showhouse-worthy lairs, tapping artists to help create one-of-a-kind wall treatments.  Thomas’ space was a feminine office, rich with patterns and pops of color, set off by tagged walls courtesy of a graffiti artist.  Kedigian also enlisted the help of an artist, but–instead of paint–chose humble chalk as the medium and neoclassical architecture as the subject matter.  This combination may be unorthodox, but you can’t argue with the results.  They are simply stunning.  (This is an approach Kedigian also employed in his Montreal home.)

I’m sure there are more lessons to be gleaned and ideas to be lifted from the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse.  Hopefully, these 5 have gotten your creative juices flowing or encouraged you to explore more of the showhouse coverage.  Happy decorating & DIY-ing!

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi

My husband and I went nuts recently when our neighbors left a huge bag of kumquats on our doorstep.  For several nights, we punctuated our dinners by feverishly devouring the orange gems like they were popcorn.  However, we soon had to face reality…we would never be able to eat them all before they started to go bad.  Panicking, my mind immediately went to one place: cocktails!

Some of the kumquats were used to infuse vodka, which gave birth the Kumquat Fennel Vodka Soda.  The remaining fruit was distilled into kumquat simple syrup and underwent several rounds of imbibing experimentation.  Of all of the would-be kumquat cocktails, one recipe involving gin, the essence of rose petals, and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice rose to the top.  You might say it had a certain “gene gin e sais quoi”.  And so it was named.

Here’s the recipe…

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi on MotleyDecor.com | Gin, Kumquat & Rose Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

2 oz gin

1 oz kumquat simple syrup (recipe below)

1 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

2 spritzes rosewater

Rose petals for garnish

Directions:

Combine gin, kumquat simple syrup, and grapefruit juice in a cocktail shaker with a couple of ice cubes and shake.  Drain (strain) into a champagne coupe.  Spritz twice with rosewater and garnish with a floating rose petal.  Enjoy with your pinky high in the air, because you’re classy like that.

Kumquat Simple Syrup Recipe:

Boil water, stirring in an equal volume of sugar.  Shut off heat and let cool for a couple of minutes once the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add a handful of chopped kumquats, stirring occasionally.  Let the mixture sit for several minutes, tasting it from time to time.  When the syrup has enough kumquat  flavor for your liking, strain the mixture and transfer it to a sealed container.  Store your kumquat simple syrup in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  This may mean you will have to make a lot of kumquat cocktails in a two week period, but such is life.

A Cocktail with a Certain Gin e Sais Quoi on MotleyDecor.com | Gin, Kumquat & Rose Cocktail Recipe

Happy Friday!

Highlights from the Pasadena Showcase House 2016

The Pasadena Showcase House of Design concluded on Sunday and I had the pleasure of touring it that very afternoon.  Although all of the rooms boasted grand gestures steeped in luxurious details, 4 rooms stood out in my mind as exceptional.  They follow here…

The Music Room

Pasadena Showcase House 2016 | The Music Room

All photos courtesy of @pheintz

Curvy, iconic silhouettes (like the kidney shaped sofa and ribbon chair) draw you into the 2016 Pasadena Showcase House of Design’s Music Room.  A palette that recalls an exotic spice rack–stocked with paprika, saffron, curry, and cinnamon–reinforces the sultry atmosphere.  Gilded forms add glamour, but their modern shapes (the stacked cubes of the cocktail table and concentric circles of the ceiling medallion and sconces) also energize the more traditional-leaning, dark wood paneling.  Then there are a couple of unexpected delights: the lavender butterfly ottoman, the the curious Cecilia Miquez sculptures…  Even the collection of musical instruments is as eclectic as the decor, from a showstopping Bluethner grand piano to bagpipes.  The mix is greater than the sum of its parts.  It’s downright intoxicating.  A room this sexy is surely a pregnancy hazard.  Congratulations to Gregory West Parker and Paul Richard Heintz III of Parker West Interiors for composing such an incredible and inspiring room.

The Dining Room

Flamingo pink and ocean blue collide beneath a canopy of metallic damask and glittering crystals in the dining room.  The results is a room that is a space that is arresting and opulent, yet cheery.  Oodles of blue and white ginger jars adorn the long, rectangular table, flanked by a sapphire blue banquet and rosy-washed fireplace.  An Art Deco console table at the far end of the room punctuates the space.  This is the tremendous work of Kelly Firm, Inc.

The Cloak & Powder Room

I’m always impressed when  a designer is assigned an awkward or small space and creates something stunning.  Such was Erica Islas’ feat (of EMI Interior Design) when she transformed the cloak and powder rooms in the Pasadena Showcase House.  The magic starts with an elusive shade of bluish-greenish-gray that I can best describe as “agave”.  Abstract watercolor wallpaper and playful wall hooks impart a sense of the surreal.  A mix of bold gold and edgy gunmetal metallics create a lasting impression.  White and gray stone tile is a theme that runs throughout the house and the delicate herringbone floors tie this unique space to the rest of the home without sacrificing any vision or creativity.

The Writer’s Retreat

This small, understated office in the Padadena Showcase House is made extraordinary by an unexpected palette, the layering of subtle patterns, and a persnickety selection of furnishings. Stormy blues and dusty berry tones mingle with lighter neutrals in an unexpected trinity.  Patterns abound in varying scales, from the delicately etched wallpaper to the chunky weaves of the window treatments.  Like the textiles, each piece of furniture is clearly chosen with great care. The proportions of the writer’s chair are both imposing and inviting.  The husky desk lamp only elongates the desk’s delicate legs in contrast.  Finally, a cool, mid century vibe is derived from the 1960s brass light fixture and the 1950s David Rosen cabinet, lacquered in a surprising shade of muted plum.  Hats off to Savannah Bleue and Ally Marks of Marks and Bleue Design for their discerning eyes and painstaking attention to detail.

Kumquat Fennel Sparkler Cocktail

Tired of the same old vodka soda?  This is a light, refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for summer.  Kumquats are citrusy with sweet skins that balance their tart interiors.  Fennel, on the other hand, acts as an herbaceous, almost anise-like compliment to the fruit.  Soda water adds the sparkle.  And, of course, there’s vodka…

Here’s how to make a Kumquat Fennel Sparkler…

Ingredients:

2 oz kumquat infused vodka*

1 oz kumquat simple syrup**

1 handful chopped fennel bulb

Soda water

Ice

1 stalk  of fennel, trimmed for garnish

kumquat fennel sparkler 3

Directions:

In an old fashioned glass, muddle the chopped fennel.  Add syrup, vodka and 2 or 3 ice cubes.  Fill to top of glass with soda water.  Stir with fennel stalk and serve.

* Kumquat infused vodka:

To make your own kumquat infused vodka, simply chop up a handful of kumquats and put them in vodka.  Let the two sit in the fridge together for at least 2 weeks.

** Kumquat Simple Syrup:

Creating your own kumquat-flavored simple syrup is easy.  Boil water and stir in an equal amount of sugar, dissolving it completely.  Remove from heat and add a handful of chopped kumquats, stirring occasionally until cool.  Once cool, strain and transfer to an airtight container, storing it in your regrigerator.  The simple syrup will be good for about 2 weeks.

Kumquat Fennel Vodka Soda

If Met Gala Gowns Were Rooms…

The Met Gala 2016 was–not surprisingly–fecund with eye candy and inspiring fashion that, in many cases, recalls equally stunning interiors.  Here are 5 such instances…

If Met Gala Gowns Were Rooms | Met Gala 2016 | Kendall Jenner

What do this Miles Redd decorated room and Kendall Jenner’s Met Gala 2016 gown have in common?  How about dizzying patterns (faintly reminiscent of trelliage) in classic blue and white?  That and they can both be described as arrestingly beautiful.

If Met Gala Gowns Were Rooms | Beyonce | Met Gala 2016 | Motley Decor

Nude meets grapefruit to form the shade that best describes Beyonce’s Met Gala gown and this stunning room by Suzanne Tucker.  However, the similarities don’t end there.  Notice how the moody abstract art echoes Beyonce’s smoky eye makeup.

Met Gala 2016 | If Gowns Were Rooms on Motley Decor | Olivia Wilde

Katherine Kwong and Olivia Wilde were on the same wave length when they chose this door and gown, respectively.  In both bases, the studs and rivets impart an edgy feel to something that was already gorgeous.

Karolina Kurkova | Met Gala 2016 | If Met Gala Gowns Were Rooms on Motley Decor

A muted agave hue, towering heights, and delicate floral touches unite Karolina Kurkova’s 2016 Met Gala Gown and Erin Fetherston’s dining room in a cross-disciplinary design duo.

If Gowns Were Rooms | Red Carpet Inspired Design on Motley Decor | Met Gala 2016 | Zoe Saldana

With neutral bases–one in white and one in black–both this Spanish bedroom and Zoe Saldana’s gown for the Met Gala 2016 celebrate colorful plumage (or fur).  After all, mother nature’s wonders always trump man’s.

For more red carpet inspired design, read my previous post on Oscar gowns and their interior design equivalents.

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