by Marisa Marcantonio

Using the surface areas of tables and shelves to achieve both creative and beautiful results, interior designers at this year's Kips Bay Showhouse showed their creative mettle with how they style surfaces. Taking a plain, unadulterated blank canvas and adding decorative objects, lighting, books, barware and personal objects to it to create a beautiful statement is not easy.  Art directing their surfaces, and probably re-working them several times to get it just right, this arranging knack is an art form. Below, take a look at how these designers go from nothing to creating quiet something. I have just scratched the surface... The KB showhouse is open until June 14th, so make your way to the West Side to see it soon!

Todd Romano paired white Christopher Spitzmiller lamps with bright green porcelain for a pop of color against the black marble surface.

Brian J. McCarthy, Bunny Williams and David Kleinberg added antique objects with a spare spatial direction on the coffee table and side tables in their living room space.

A bar on a chest, in the designer trio room with Venetian glassware and party basics.

Jamie Drake had a large bookcase in his library with books and 1930's flower ceramics in his library.

David Scott created a bar shelf on the sculpted bronze Paul Evans etagere in his gentleman's study, amidst stacks of boxes and smaller sculptures.

There is something really cool and new agey that the illuminated obelisk sculpture adds to the art filled shelves.

Spare and clean, each desk accessory stands on it's own because of it's unique material and shape.

A minimalist console from Maison Gerard outside Raji Radhakrishnan's room holds tea service. The juxtaposition of the console and bright Larry Zox painting from the 1970's is great. The clean shapes tell the story.

A low Laverne bar cabinet is a charming scale, the perfect surface to add a bar, light source and vase of flowers. I was totally smitten with the fruit - shaped glass decanter on a petal shaped tray.

Her private office was that of an art curator, in the midst of doing extensive research.

How cool is this skewed Sebastian Ezzaruiz Tilt Bookcase?

In Brian Del Toro's study, a German 1930's Art Deco table from HM Luther holds a rare few accessories to showcase the decorative surface.

The subtle curve and small scale of the Jacques Adnet Rosewood Desk fits so well in this spot by the window. Fitted with a 1950's Longchamp Desk set it is more a place for light work.

Brass etageres hold small, tight stacks of books and spare decorative trays, boxes and artwork.

Her love of the Grand Tour plays in Alexa Hampton's bedroom tablescape.

A nightstand holds the prerequisites for a relaxing bedroom. Fresh flowers, good lighting, pretty framed paintings, and decorative objects.

By using the wall-of-windows as a backdrop, Neal Beckstedt propped up a painting behind a wood table.

To create visual interest above eye level, he added decorative objects and storage on top of a 1940's armoire from Bermingham and Co.

A woven light wood Edward Wormley Credenza from Wyeth  holds a perfectly styled summer bar and an alabaster lamp from Lorin Marsh in Scott Sanders super summery cabana.

By upholstering the walls in his lounge, Shawn Henderson created an enveloping space. Adding a long shelf along the wall allowed for a functional storage area. Capped on each end by a pair of 1950's leather lamps from Tom Thomas, the shelf holds books, magazines, candlesticks and artwork.

Using artwork as his muse, Alexandra Doherty placed framed artwork strategically around a collector's bedroom. A red Robsjohn Gibbons commode holds oak forms on stands, a contemporary cast plaster Etruscan lamp from Jonathan Burden and a few books.

A 1940's desk with a stingray top an Asprey blotter and has two light sources, a brass lamp and elaborate candelabra.

A Mexican chest of drawers from Downtown at Claremont performs double duty, holding family pictures, a lamp for great illumination and a bar tray in Susan Zises Green's living room inspired by the Hudson River views.

Never underestimate the power of fresh elements! A scallop-edged bowl holds clementines, while fresh purple anemone's balance out the bright color next to them.

Custom shelves in Patrik Lonn's room for supper hold tonal ceramics and Swedish crystal from Free Forms USA. There is a real serenity accomplished here, in such a small area.

Decorative painter Chuck Fisher created the view, painting his writing room with a New York scenic landscape. Furniture was placed sparingly, making the enveloping landscape really stand out.

The desk, created by Alpha Workshops at Profiles holds a desk blotter, and it's owner is in the midst of writing thank you notes.

Thom Filicia's Copake Console holds beautiful peonies, several books and two Burmese ebony objects.


by Marisa Marcantonio

So how do you make a modern glass box livable? That was the question many designers asked themselves as they prepared their rooms for this year's Kips Bay Showhouse. Situated in a tower in the sky with river views, two duplex apartments received the designer treatment.  With nary a piece of molding in sight, the design challenge began. The chosen participants spun their web of transformation  in a jiffy. Since these are professionals, they rose to the occasion with brilliance, creating unique spaces with something for everyone. I will delve into the design standouts over the next week, so visit the far Westside and take a look. If traveling cross town is too much to process, Kips Bay has organized a shuttle bus that leaves from the Park Avenue Armory at 66th Street.

Speaking of brilliance, the brilliant color green was big this year. It was present in  every hue, from jade to grass, the verdant color vied for attention. From Charlotte Moss covering an entire room in floor to ceiling pea green velvet (masking the soffit overhang like the lining of a jewelry box)  to Jamie Drake painting his walls a matte teal finish, the veteran designers used the color to great dramatic effect.

Todd Romano's dining room with double height ceilings and soaring windows. French Directiore chairs upholstered in Brunschwig and Fils grass green silk matched the Dodie Thayer pottery he set on the table.

A massive pineapple welcomed us. Designed by Horacio Madrigal Terra Cotta, it is from Claremont,  in case you were wondering. The color matched the aubergine walls.

To say I have a fondness for Thayer Lettuceware is an understatement. I adore it. You can always count on Romano for Porthault linens and gorgeous china.

Charmer alert! A miniature vase of carnations at every place setting provided a warm gesture of hospitality.

What Kips Bay room would be complete without a handmade lamp by Christopher Spitzmiller?

Bringing the natural world inside, Charlotte Moss's room appealed to all the senses. She covered a wall in boxwood, the facing wall had blown up images of manicured French gardens, and swathed everything in varying shades of green.   The darling round-backed Charleston Slipper Chair and white cut corner table are two pieces

 from her new Century Icon's Furniture collection. The scale and amount of detail on them are just perfect, and I think my apartment would agree.

  The Natchez Camel Back Sofa has Fortuny Pillows from David Duncan on it to add a little shimmer.  To further enhance the greenery all around, the sounds of chirping birds created a transporting experience.

Photos by Eric Striffler

Working with her new Fabricut collection, she covered the room in velvet and upholstered pieces in her green florals and prints. Getting creative with the wall space, she hung antique engravings at eye level and placed a Vladimir Kanevsky Porcelain Hollyhock on a gilded decorative bracket.

Catching everything in its reflective glow, the walls of Thom Filicia's lacquer box.

His Vanguard Copake Eagle Console held sway on one wall.

On another wall, his cool modern Abstract Lines artwork from Soicher Marin were hung above a bench he designed for Vanguard.

Brian del Toro is a name you may not know but you should. He is enormously talented, having worked for some of the best in the business.  He was a senior designer when I was at David Kleinberg's office. His has impeccable taste. Spring green cushions in F. Schumacher's Prestwick wool sateen in shamrock on parchment club chairs from the 1960's mirror the clean lines in the wall treatment.

To counter the pop of green, French blue walls were treated with linear paneling. There were many great takes on how to treat walls this showhouse.

A rarified old world vintage Longchamp desk set and lamp tied the shades of green together. How civilized. Desk sets are making a comeback. I think the luddite in everyone is emerging to counter our obsessive ipad use.

What can I say? Jamie Drake just knows how to style a bookcase. He too used interesting horizontal panel detailing in more of a forest green/teal combination.

Beautiful porcelain flowers nestled amongst the books.

Scott Sanders created The Cabana, a room  that is ready for summer. Incorporating a classic Scalamandre  resist print recolored in a green, blue and yellow floral pattern. 

Meshing mid century modern and the way we live today, Sanders artfully crafted a fun hang out space. 

Phillip Jeffries Juicy Jute grasscloth in split pea added requisite zing on the walls teeing up the pair of fluoro Warhol pop art cows.