I had the pleasure of attending the Kips Bay 43rd Annual Decorator Show House opening night reception a few weeks ago which is like prom for design-obsessed devotees. It was very exciting and everywhere I turned I was bumping, literally, into someone I like, admire, follow and occasionally obsessively stalk on Instagram! There were so many people to talk to that I am planning another trip back alone so I can take my time and really meander through the house to get a more in depth look because I don't want to miss anything. It is the culmination of the best in the industry pulling out all the stops to create truly inspired rooms filled with details to die for.
Getting a sneak preview of the beautiful rooms along with a meet and greet from some of the designers I have long admired and a quick hug and little catch up chat with the ones I know was the highlight of this night, much like the heady atmosphere of opening night of a theater production. Designers really pour their heart and soul into these rooms and they are often completed under a tight deadline, forcing work day and night to be on time for the grand unveiling. Function in disaster, finish in style!
I have long been a fan of the uber talented Mark D. Sikes - we have communicated back and forth and I have even featured him on this website DanielleDRollins.com but this was my first opportunity to meet him face to face. He is as charming as he is handsome and what really struck me was his complete humility. He mentioned to me how nervous he was and how he had started second guessing himself now that people were coming into the room. I loved the fact that he shared this and found it very refreshing because I think people have this image that as a designer you know it all.
The reality is a show house is all about a personal expression which can create a very vulnerable feeling as you know you are subject to critique by others to the extent that you can feel like a mutt being judged on the Westminster Kennel Club standards! As a designer, these rooms become a part of you, not only because you put your heart and soul into a space like this, but because it is really a reflection of some of your own hopes, dreams and fantasies given the lack of client direction.
After spending all-consuming weeks trying to pull it all together, suddenly the audience is there, you are exposed, you second guess your selections and start doubting yourself. It's a vulnerable place to be! Very sweet of him to share this, particularly since he needn’t have had even a shred of doubt because the room was utter perfection.
Since I can’t host my own dream dinner party in his gorgeous dining room, playfully named “Up in the Villa”, I thought it would be fun to feature the room for a “Love This Look” deconstructed with a high/low way to layer up your own spaces. His fabulous design exudes a traditional old guard effortless elegance which can be translated for any room!
A classic painting done by Boris Glamocanin called 'Up in the Villa' married with loads of blue and white porcelain.
The room showcases his “Lily” line of wicker furniture for Soane Britain, named after his beloved pug. This yummy collection was created with references to the ever chic Marella Agnelli.
I love his use of a mixture of club, slipper and dining chairs with corner banquette seating for intimate entertaining space. His banquettes are custom covered in Fez Stripe (also by Soane Britain) and trimmed in Samuel & Sons Bullion Fringe.
Mark perfected the classics by adding just a hint of modern flair, creating a sophistcated spin on country inspired living.
Inspired by Mongiardino and Marella Agnelli, two of the long time masters of mixing easy and elegant with layered use of color, fabric, prints and textures. Here Mark applied Ethnic Malabar Paisley by Bennison with the classic Red Gingham and Check by Schumacher with silk trim from Samuel and Sons on the walls and curtains.
Regency mahogany antiques create a grounding effect for the light hearted wicker and use of modern art keep it feeling fresh and youthful.
A 19th Century directors style crystal chandelier adds just the perfect amount of overhead lighting and sparkle!
If you'd like to try and create this fresh feeling in your spaces, here are some of my picks to help transform your space! Happy hunting!