Without missing a beat, the Kips Bay Decorators Show House in Palm Beach will go on as planned this April. But first, let's take a fond look back at last year's iteration.
photos: Sargent Architectural Photography
The Design Raven (that's me!) - mask-less and worry-free - was on the scene for the press preview in late January 2020. photo: Daniel Quintero, Executive Director, Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club
Since 2020's Kips Bay Decorators Show House of Palm Beach, the world as we once knew it has changed considerably. And yet, the show must go on... with a few necessary adjustments in light of the pandemic. This year’s Show House will be a hybrid event—offering both in-person and virtual experiences. Those in physical attendance can rest assured; it's masks on, every last inch sanitized, and visits will be carefully monitored with limited guests at a time to allow for ample social distancing.
But indulge me if you will as I reflect on last year's iteration, when the personal residence of leading interior designer Lars Bolander and his wife, artist Nadine Kalachnikoff, showcased the work of 19 renowned interior designers. I remember it vividly and fondly, not just because I was able to breathe and hug freely, but also, because it totally blew my mind.
Let's recap it, shall we?
Jobe Lopez of Lopez Group, Inc. - based in Lake Worth Beach, Florida - drew inspiration for the home’s front garden from vineyards in South Africa. Luscious greenery and native Floridian plants opened up the façade of the house, while cypress lined the exterior walls. Olive trees on either side of the front door offered a warm welcome, while the trunks of the palm trees positioned beside them were painted white to harmonize with the striking, Cape Dutch-inspired architectural profile.
Alizee Brion of the Miami Beach design studio Light On White made a powerful first impression upon entering the home. Her breathtaking foyer celebrated the home’s blurred boundaries between the exterior and interior, with the lush outdoors serving as the inspiration for a tropical garden design... with Brion's modern spin, of course. Natural elements, textures, and materials, including hanging planters and a custom "terrazzo" rug carried the green and white color scheme throughout. A hand-painted bamboo leaf mural by artist Austin Kerr lined the entrance while an eye-catching porcelain floral installation by Valéria Nascimento adorned the back wall. Curated pieces from Light On White’s own debut furniture collection - stunning pieces of bold geometrics carved from blocks of various white marbles - contrasted against the soft and enchanting tropical backdrop.
The great room was designed at the hands of the illustrious Atlanta-based designer Suzanne Kasler of Suzanne Kasler Interiors. A botanical print wallcovering set the scene for a stylish living room with edited details and timeless sensibility. The color palette of pink and white conveyed quintessential Palm Beach, as did the rattan, linen, and other natural materials. High-gloss built-in bookcases painted in Benjamin Moore’s "Custis Salmon" and housing carefully chosen accessories served as a stunning focal wall.
Architect and interior designer Sarah Magness of the New York-based firm Sarah Magness Interior Design evoked a "return to calm" by transforming the upstairs master study into a "mindfulness retreat" where she fused Japanese furnishings with modern decorative elements. An exquisite Gracie Studio “Koi Pond” panel in a soothing palette of subtle blues, greens and silvers was stretched across the ceiling, while a meditation bed sat at the center, inviting visitors to take pause from the tensions of daily life and enjoy peaceful reflection.
Sarah Blank of Greenwich, Connecticut's Sarah Blank Design Studio created a refreshing, relaxed kitchen that was inspired by classical architecture. Light blue custom millwork was balanced by Dekton by Cosentino countertops, and a large island was added for style and function. Cutting-edge appliances like the Thermidor range and Kohler stainless steel sink added a modern touch, and artwork depicting egrets paid homage to the home’s South Florida locale.
Comfortable, chic living is Alessandra Branca of New York-based Alessandra Branca Inc.'s signature approach to design, and her master bedroom stayed true to that. Branca used a blue-and-white wallpaper tile modeled after a pattern commonly found in Portugal, one of her favorite countries. Branca furnished the room with a canopy bed and pieces from her namesake line, Casa Branca. On the expansive master terrace, floor-to-ceiling custom draperies by The Shade Store framed sweeping views of the incredible rear exterior of the home.
Architect Tom Kirchhoff of Kirchhoff & Associates Architects located in Jupiter, Florida, and interior designer Betsy Wentz, owner of studiobpittsburgh, took a fearless approach to the master bath and his-and-her closets. A mosaic tile wall by Ceramic Matrix was the backdrop for a Kohler freestanding bathtub. Eye-popping wallcoverings and colorful, whimsical fabrics allowed the closet systems by The Container Store to take on a life of their own.
Legendary Palm Beach interior designer Leta Austin Foster of Leta Austin Foster & Associates went wild with a global-fusion upstairs study that blended Asian influences with African ones such as the Quadrille “Nairobi” wallpaper that covered the walls. Wood blinds by The Shade Store offered decoration and privacy. Indeed, these are ideal digs for the sophisticated world-traveler.
Interior designer and HGTV Designer of the Year Robin Gannon of the Massachusetts-based studio Robin Gannon Interiors playfully juxtaposed elements of colonial era Africa with thematic references to the “urban jungle” to highlight the second floor guest bedroom. A Currey & Company chandelier, unique custom headboard, and irreverent fine art infused the space with both quirkiness and sophisticated glam.
Interior designer Javier Fernandez of the Boca Raton, Florida-based design firm Transitional Designs, Inc. united three spaces with remarkable creativity and style. A light grey horsehair console was nestled in the vestibule, while Fernandez's hallway - an artistic study in geometry - included gorgeous dark wood-framed wall panels surrounding 3D suede inserts, and a lineup of tassel and pompom-detailed poufs. The powder room showcased a Mid-Century Modern chandelier, Kohler's "Eir Intelligent Toilet," striking black-and-white floors, a sleek vanity, and countertops fabricated with Silestone by Cosentino.
Kevin Isbell of Los Angeles' Kevin Isbell Interiors imagined an exotic guest suite. The ingenius space featured an oversized pagoda-shaped daybed set against a floating wall lacquered in deep eggplant. A calming hand-painted tropical scene adorned the walls, while a ceramic tiger brought a certain ferocity to this unique retreat - perfectly suited for a globetrotting travel writer.
The rear outdoor spaces of the home equally dazzled, starting with Nashville-based Jonathan Savage of Savage Interior Design's poolside pavilion. Deriving design inspo from his lifetime of travel to the French West Indies, the relaxed and livable
outdoor escape he created was appointed with sculpted tables and a pair of teak daybeds from Sutherland Furniture. The edgy image of a nude woman facing the imposing and iconic Palm Beach hotel, The Breakers, is by noted fine art photographer of Nantucket and Palm Beach, Nathan Coe.
Toronto's Colette van den Thillart of Colette van den Thillart Interior Design transformed the outdoor dining area into a delightful enclave full of character and texture. The space was flanked by custom trellises, while wood slats and ample greenery comprised an open roof. Grounding the terrace, a custom hand-loomed, Tibetan carpet by New Moon Rugs, Turkish cushions, and Serena & Lily lanterns imparted a laid-back Boho vibe.
Joe Lucas of West Hollywood, California's Lucas Studio, Inc. brilliantly transformed one of the backyard guest casitas into an intimate sitting room that was totally original and undeniably retro chic. Using a Fromental abstract wallpaper as a visual springboard, Lucas introduced a coral and pink sunset-like palette, an addition of found treasures with vintage furnishings including a pair of low-profile rush lounge chairs, and a shapely French rattan etagere. The striking ceiling fixture paid homage to Mid-Century Modernism.
Meanwhile, award-winning interior designer Keith Baltimore of the New York-based interior design center Baltimore Design Group had a creative vision of his own for the cabana; Baltimore imagined and executed a gorgeous spa sanctuary in soft, subtle shades of peach, crème, grey, and aqua. With shimmering fabric custom curtains from The Shade Store, twist-legged massage tables, cut velvet bolster pillows, and a draped glass chandelier, the indulgent and pampering space couldn't have been any more glamorous and special.
And at last, amidst a veritable forest of palm trees, landscape architects Mario Nievera and Keith Williams of Palm Beach's Nievera Williams Design conjured the Taj Mahal to surround the pool with an opulent Mughal garden - a distinctive and spiritual space complete with glorious bougainvillea and other native plants, highlighted by a sculpted expanse of grass based on a Persian motif.
So, as you see, while we await the surprises that April 2021's Kips Bay Decorators Show House surely has in store, this reflection on 2020's iteration was well-deserved. Be sure to tune in for complete coverage of the 2021 KBD Show House when it opens on April 8!
Get ready! This Mediterranean-style waterfront home in the South of Southern (“SoSo”) neighborhood of West Palm Beach is up next. photo: Living Proof Real Estate Photography
Proceeds from the Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach will benefit
For more information, please visit: kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org/palm beach