If a marathon binge session of quasi-reality, mostly scripted real estate shows on Bravo sounds like the perfect Memorial Day weekend, may we suggest something better? The annual Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse is open through the weekend, including Monday, giving anyone in New York at least 60-minutes of blissed out voyeuristic design kicks. The beloved industry event enters its 46th year with proceeds benefitting local youth organization, the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. In short, it’s a good time for people who want to skip the museum and play design critic surrounded by some of the best work in the business.
This stately townhouse at 110 East 76th Street is legendary not only for its splashy opening night fete, but for the A-list design line-up that participates each year. Design icon Bunny Williams is the chair and she’s brought her high-end decorative verve to the place. A mix of revered firms like Drake Anderson, Alessandra Branca, Clive Christian, and Juan Montoya share seven floors with cool talent like Sasha Bikoff (whose staircase nearly melted Instagram), Wesly Moon and B.A. Torrey. With 22 designers outfitting every corner—from the butler’s pantry to the gracious dining room and envy-inducing terrace – the styles range from classic and patrician, to modern and risk-taking, but everything vetted to reflect the best taste.
Kips Bay’s influence is substantial, with career-making moments and buzzed about rooms that inspire visitors, magazine editors, and future clients. While the true design-obsessed joy is standing in a live room dressed to the hilt (or wearing very little) that plays into a designer’s fantasy. The sense of camaraderie that exists among visitors is also worth the trip. During last year’s edition, I happened to overhear two non-industry ladies effusing over a particular room, “I like too, but it’s going to cost you.”
Tickets are $40 per person.