by Marisa Marcantonio

Rob Lowe shares how cancer has touched his family

Funny man Seth Meyers, an early adapter for the cause

You may have seen commercials for it on NBC, or heard celebs like Rob Lowe and Seth Myers talk about it. With just one week to go till my annual Cycle For Survival team cycling fundraiser on March 3rd, I am starting to get excited about what always turns out to be my favorite day of the year. The reason for this is twofold: I love the energy of cycling in sync with over 200 people, including those battling cancer and the doctors doing the rare cancer medical research, and I love the feeling of giving back to a charity that I so believe in,  Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  The momentum of the day makes everything else pale in comparison.
Few things feel as great as doing for others, especially when it relates to finding a cure for a disease that has affected almost everyone at some point or another. The funds directly into research, with over 80 specific clinical trials benefiting thus far. In its 7th year, my 3rd ride, I have started a new team to honor a friend, and hope you will support my ride for Team Amy's Amigos. I also ride for my father, who lost his battle with cancer, and was a patient at Memorial.  The ability to participate in a fundraiser that involves indoor cycling, which I love, and the perfect mix of music, sections led by fantastic Equinox cycling instructors and charity makes the day amazingly memorable.   Just today, I was asked if I would speak again this year, to kick-off the start of my New York City ride, the final event that closes out the 13-city tour that has had over 16,000 participants. Giddy with excitement and pleased that my team tank tops were ordered, I gave them a resounding "yes!" as my answer. Having set my fundraising sights high this year, I am at $4000 raised so far from generous givers, and would love to beat last year's maximum by raising over $7,000. Who's up for the challenge to help others survive and thrive? Sending my thanks with love and gratitude.

Turning and burning on the best day of the year!


by Marisa Marcantonio

Filling a 7,000 square foot Federal townhouse in the East 60's, this year's Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse is big on art, less so on color. There are a few colorful broad strokes, but for the most part, the majority of spaces pay homage to the neutral color palette.  Where have all the printed and patterned wallpapers gone? Beige, greige, cream, gray and other soothing tones provide a backdrop to beautiful decorative details, shiny hardware, a mix of vintage and antique furniture and streamlined upholstery. Take a look at the rooms that stood out, designed by a crop of establishment, new guard and long distance decorators. Let me know what room you feel delights and inspires. That is, after all, the ultimate goal of showhouse spaces. The townhouse at 161 East 64th,  is open now through June 4th Monday through Saturday 11am - 5pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 8pm Sunday Noon - 5pm (No entry 1/2 hour before closing).

Photo Trevor Tondro for NY Times

New York/Palm Beach- based Nievera Williams Design turned the outdoor space on the ground floor into a sanctuary, complete with cream colored walls, lanterns and manicured green boxwood poufs making an urban outdoor room.

Robert Brown, the Atlanta-based interior designer created a pretty little sitting room punctuated by touches of brown and gray.

Fabric- upholstered walls in a fabric that resembles skin added a textural backdrop.

Clean forms and luxe finishes are well-placed around the seating areas.

A moment featuring modern abstract art and a klismos chair.

Color is Andrew Suvalsky's bag. When I walked into this two-tone turquoise powder room, I was taken with the glowing luster the high gloss lacquer band on the walls.

A mod loungey  foyer tied the turquoise into the space from the powder room. Vibrant blue cabinet doors and lamps added a sense of fun. The gold gleam of Odegard's lotus table balances the jewel tones from the red velvet sofa and pink and yellow pillows.

Ford Huniford has had a busy spring. He focused his talents and efforts on making April's Housing Work's Design on a Dime fundraiser a smash this year. Then, he turned his attention to creating this Kips Bay living room on the first floor. A custom high-backed mustard yellow sofa designed by Huniford dominates a long wall in the room.

Minimal shapes and maximal finishes make his room a triumph of luxury simplicity. I mean, how amazing is the vintage bone and brass coffee table from Mondo Cane? Exactly.

Majestic modern triple height glass windows frame the wall and bring tons of light into the space.

An enormous Pat Steir painting dominates the wall across from the sofa

Books play an important roll in a room, adding personality of the person who lives there. This is a nice way to display them with simple stacks.

Oh, this mirror! A Jansen octagonal mirror that has not been seen for years grabbed my attention.

Ever-inspired by her creative coterie of friends in the fashion and art worlds, designer Kristen McGinnis wowed. Her friend, the hot artist Elliot Hundley created a mixed media neon and wood chandelier to hang over the mid-century modern dining table. Walls buffed to a high gloss sheen were lacquered in the darkest shade of gray. A gold leaf paper from Romanoff glistens above, the perfect foil for the shiny surfaces below.

Black glass  adds another glam shiny, solid surface.

 It's all in the details. Matte gold flatware and subtle gold porcelain china paired with gold-flecked Nason and Moretti glassware.

 Another view, picking up the 1930's Bruhns rug from Beauvais.

 Two large Al Held paintings from 1966 ground the corners of the room.

 A gleaming matte gold amoeba-like Wendell Castle bench sits between the chartreuse Claremont curtain panels through which you can see Huniford's space.

A killer black buffet that looks like it is exploding in the center is from a New Zeland artist.

Giant lacquer doors lead into the narrow room by

Dineen Architecture

and Design PC.

Their objet selection and placement made the space a cool mix.

I'm not the biggest fan of sheers, but these graphic, soft geometric panels made me a convert.

 The most divine metal tree sculpture sits on a round table in Mariette Himes Gomez's cream sitting room.

Sexy and swank, Garcia Maldonado created a space for chillaxing.  Walls covered in light suede and silk window treatments kept the feeling airy.

Maximalists rejoice, Jack Levy is in the house! Including the latest Fornasetti Blowfish wallpaper as a backdrop, detail enriched every surface.

Some of my favorite Swedish porcelain vases from dealer Berndt Goekler.

British LA-based designer and funny gal Kathryn M. Ireland designed a bedroom around her new  French-inflected Scalamandre fabric collection. The Anglo Indian bed is just awesome. I get a headache thinking about that installation feat.

A mod world with touches of lilac as created by Sara Story. Black and white is a big color story right now, so I am glad someone went there. Playful and art-filled, the room's walls are papered in Bamboo, from her new paper line available through Holland and Sherry.

A series of 6 scribble paintings add this wonderful sense of humor.

The bathroom she tiled in strong black and white squares as an homage to the great Andree Putman who passed away this year. The Cubistic vanity base continued the purple theme.

Palm Beach-based designer Stephen Mooney designed a space his clients probably know and love. The lady's writing room. Gotta have a room of one's own.

 Barbara Ostrom created a stunning display of architectural detail through beautiful millwork.

These books love these nooks.

More high shine surfaces on the recessed ceiling in Eve Robinson's polished family room. Soft gray hues and yes, more lilac. She uses striking pieces and lets them do the work in her spaces; they have good "flow" to them.


by Marisa Marcantonio

Photos courtesy of Near and Far Aid
A few of the interiors featured in this year's homes

 Photo courtesy of Mary MacDonald
Have breakfast with Mary

If you find yourself in Connecticut this Friday, treat yourself to a day of design. Begin the day with the Designer Breakfast where Mary McDonald will talk about how she creates glamorous interiors.  I just saw Mary down in High Point and she is heading back from Houston where she did a book signing. Woosh, this is one busy/traveling lady. Then head out on a tour of some of the prettiest homes where I grew up in Fairfield County's historic Greenfield Hill, charming seaside town Southport and cultural center, Westport. Since the tour always falls on a Friday, I will miss it, so if you go, share what you saw. 
Then close out your day of design in one of the tour homes with a cocktail at Toast The Tour. The day benefits The Near and Far Aid, a wonderful charity my mom has long been involved in. It supports and funds those living at risk, elder care and the homeless in Fairfield County. For tickets and locations click here. The media sponsor Connecticut Cottages and Gardens is supporting the event, and it is great to see magazines get behind local charities in this way. Head out for a day of blooming gardens and gracious home, you will be so glad you did.