Lions and Tigers and… Beds? Oh My!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

You don’t need to leave New York to enjoy a meal in the jungle.

Ken Fulk’s eccentric dining room inside the Kips Bay Decorator Show House on the Upper East Side is flush with floral. The hand-crafted mural’s painted flowers manifest themselves in real life on all available table space. The room was inspired by the lore of an Upper East Side socialite, who kept wayward zoo animals in her garden. Shunning the idea of a typical dining room, the mischievous space is ideal for entertaining.

The room is one of 19 in this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House (open until June 1), which was the headquarters of the China Institute in America. Now in its 45th year, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House benefits the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, which provides after-school and enrichment programs for New York City children. The designers had six weeks to complete their installations.

Spread across five floors, including an outdoor garden level, the show house features the whimsical, the practical and the colorful.

Step into the home, and Toronto-based designers Powell & Barn mimic the feel of an outdoor entryway, with a brick walkway that leads to the home’s foyer, where they created a seating nook.

Like many of the designers, Powell & Bonnell had to find ways to incorporate or hide the home’s industrial sprinkler system. They choose to do so with a metal sculpture that hangs from the ceiling.

Moving up to the second floor, SAVAGE Interior Design crafted a black and white wall covering with hand-applied plaster motifs, to give the walls texture.

Also among the designers is Robert A.M. Stern. Though the firm is best known for its architecture, the affiliated interior design arm created an inviting living space, inspired by SAtern himself as the client. Highlights are two framed Andy Warhol wall coverings, and a circular rug, which, the designers explained, is best experienced in a square room.

On the garden level, Bakes & Kropp unveiled their new transitional style collection, Revelane, in the kitchen. The space flows into the Garden Family Room, where Kate Singer incorporated bold indigo blues with neutral tones to create a casual and inviting sitting area. The Lichten Craig lounge and bar, inspired by Brooke Astor’s library, creates an intimate and cozy vibe, in contrast to the bright and airy kitchen and family room.

Outdoors, Janice Parker Landscape Architects dubbed the terrace garden, “Bamboo Court.” The design pays homage to the building’s roots, complete with a Moon Gate, which is prominent in Chinese gardens. There’s a saying in landscape architecture, explains Parker. “Go big. Go bigger. Go red.” She took that saying to heart.

Kips Bay celebrated the opening of the Show House with a cocktail party on May 1. Attendees included Bunny Williams, James Druckman, Martha Stewart, Fran Drescher and many of the decorators and designers.

The Kips Bay Decorator Show House is located at 125 East 65th Street. For tickets and additional information, visit


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