When the venerable Kips Bay Decorator Show House takes its annual bow, America takes notice—at least those individuals who are passionate about interior design and high style. In its hallowed halls trends are sparked, exceptional ideas are presented, and the industry’s top talents often get to explore edgier concepts than their clients might allow. This year’s presentation is a tour de force, with rooms running the gamut from a charming chinoiserie-inflected ladies’ retreat to a Moghulmania extravaganza. The styles may be broad, but I spotted ten definite trends—evidence that today’s tastemakers sometimes operate on a shared wavelength. Benefitting the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, the 42nd annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House opens in Manhattan on May 1 and runs through May 29. For information, go to kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org.
1. Vivid green-blues, namely teal and peacock, whether painted on walls or as upholstery for furniture and walls (seen at Markham Roberts and Mendelson Group).
2. Slices of colorful agate, incorporated into tabletops (see the rooms by Ingrao Inc. and Carrier and Company) or deployed as decorative objects (Markham Roberts and Alexa Hampton).
3. Gold and bronze finishes, though tarnished in effect rather than shiny.
4. Marble patterns, like those used for the endpapers of old books and decorating walls. Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s patchwork foyer is a smashing success, with the black, white, and gray palette recalling a stone hall in a Roman palazzo.
5. Lacquered ceilings—but pearlescent rather than high-gloss. Gideon Mendelson takes the idea one smart step further, creating a bas-relief ceiling that puts a 21st-century spin on Elizabethan strapwork.
6. Peekaboo interior architecture: À la François Catroux in the 1960s and ’70s, several decorators interrupt the show house’s profusion of antique paneling with pristine partial walls hung with contemporary art, setting a mod note while letting history shine.
7. Large back-to-back sofas that help create multiple seating areas (seen at Juan Montoya Design and Ingrao Inc.).
8. Subcontinental chic: Alexa Hampton’s glorious Orientalist living room has a powerful Indian vibe, mingling tile-like wallpaper (digital-print imagery of a custom-made design by decorative artist Chuck Fischer), gilt-framed paintings of Indian architecture, and a daredevil clash of patterned fabrics.
9. Button-tufted upholstery.
10. Papist posh: William Georgis’s louche, unspeakably luxurious living room takes the divisive Francis Cardinal Spellman, a former archbishop of New York, as its inspiration, channeling the arch-conservative cleric with papal-red walls, a Victorian prie-dieu draped with a rosary, and a sensational console table whose swoosh of red evokes a rivulet of blood. The grillwork on the glazed cabinets in Matthew Quinn’s kitchen, on the other hand, replicates stonework tracery on St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Spellman’s onetime stronghold, seen just outside the room’s windows.
The best idea? The sharply corrugated-metal wall panel in Juan Montoya’s salon. Painted chalk-white, it looks like combed plaster—at a fraction of the price.