When I walked into Alexa Hampton's "Sitting Room Folly" at the better than ever 2014 Kips Bay Showhouse (open until May 29th), I was instantly enchanted as I was rapidly transported to a faraway, exotic land without having to get my passport stamped. As the head of the iconic firm founded by her father, Mark Hampton, Alexa Hampton designed a multi-dimensional, highly functional room that reveals its richly detailed layers one at a time, while respecting the great bones of the room that existed. Rich jewel tones punctate the various seating areas, that include a lively mix. When you look up, you notice the addition of unexpectedly casual $20 dollar hanging lanterns that tamp down the seriousness of such a stately space, bringing "volume and playfulness in the room. I didn't want to get themed or too fancy", Hampton shared, when asked about her eclectic assortment. Ahead, Hampton's no-holds-barred Orientalist fantasy, which is even more striking in person.
An overall look at the room reveals luxe textured velvets brought down to earth by the inclusion of casual Crosby Street Studio Irish Matting on the floor instead of a seriously grand antique carpet, creating a haute and humble mix
Working with the talented artist Chuck Fisher, Hampton re-created the look of tile, by having wallpaper hand painted and printed to resemble exotic Moorish originals. The crowning glory of the vast wall is a large Massimo Listri photograph that provides an inescapable sense of place.
A sophisticated pattern play of paisley, Fortuny and Suzani prints co-mingle with gauffraged velvet
Purple, green, blue and pink and coral tones are used throughout, in a high luxe way. But notice the textural variation, including a turquoise snakeskin table, a brass and wood Hickory Chair coffee table from Hampton's collection and dark and light woods.
My favorite corner, with a bullion-fringed Arabel teal velvet banquette and ample seating spots, done by Anthony Lawrence-Belfair. A place to rest a drink is never out of reach, from the Gracie cocktail table to the mis-matched end tables. The addition of swing arm brass standing lamps with pleated shades is nice classic touch, while the bright pop of pink from a ceramic gourd lamp in a black paper shade.
Mixing varying styles of artwork can be challenging, but Hampton does it flawlessly-- another takeaway that can be gleaned from this room. This angle provides a look at Orientalist paintings from Mark Murray Gallery hung in a grouping with a large abstract expressionist painting by Franklin Tartaglioni on the wall next to it.
The bright, contrasting flowers done by Ariston Florist brought in another glorious textural component, as did the mother of pearl inlay table and elephant sculpture placed inside the fireplace opening
What a view! Dramatic, sweeping Moorish-inspired blue valances created by Anthony Lawrence Belfair make a statement.
Ever mindful that a room is meant to be used and enjoyed, a large classic desk provides a place to be productive. The aqua and eggplant Birmingham and Co oversized Ikat print used on Napoleon desk chairs made me want to rethink my entire color palette, it was so striking.