Taking a walk on the dramatic side

Taking a walk on the dramatic side

As I pen this installment of Go Design It, i’m happily ensconced in The Hamptons.

Will Mac dramatic Design TorontoI come here every year for a while to source items for various design projects and generally get inspired by the understated, casual chic that I like to infuse into my work.

Part of this annual pilgrimage includes a stop in New York City to attend, what is in my mind, the most important design event in North America.

Each year, this is the 43rd edition, designers from all over the place are invited by The Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club (a charity that provides after school and enrichment programs for more than 10,000 talented young people) to create a room in one of New York most elegant and empty mansions.

This year it is the Arthur Sachs mansion on the upper east side. Its five stories have recently been brought back to life. Though many talented designers worked on this year’s house, I would like to mention my three favorite spaces.

The first is the central staircase that connects each of the five floors. Designer Philip Mitchell has taken an incredibly difficult space and turned it into a remarkable gallery on which he has hung paintings, drawings and sculptures from various periods in a neo-salon style — that is to say — stacking works of art one on top of the otherin what seems to be a very effortless way but in fact has been very carefully thought out.

Will Mac dramatic Design TorontoHe did this all on top of a pale grey wallpaper containing forest scenes with stags by Mulberry Home for Lee Jofa. It is all truly jaw dropping!

On the first floor directly off of the stairwell is the living room by designer Alessandra Branca. This room contains so many of my favorite things that I can’t mention them all.

But here i t goes. Contemporary art, mixed with antique slip-covered furniture, fabric covered walls, banquettes, coromandel screens, sisal carpets by Stark, dramatic lighting by
Vaughn all accented with gold metals and natural elements. Whew!

The overall effect is a supremely elegant, witty and original — a very comfortable space in which to relax and live luxuriously.

Across the landing from the living room is the dining room by Mark Sikes. I have to pause here and tell you that I spent so much time in this room that the show house volunteers must have thought I was casing the joint.

This room, to me, is true perfection. Inspired by the uber style icon Marella Agnelli, texture, pattern, color and originality come together to create an outstanding room.

As a designer myself, I can tell you emphatically that only a designer with tremendous confidence and elan can mix red ginghams by Schumacher with florals by Robert Allen along with blue and white china, contemporary art with an 18th century landscape and rattan garden furniture by Saone Britain.

The layers in this room are truly mind-boggling and bewildering in the best way possible. It is and will always remain an iconic room in the design world.

The Kips Bay Designer Show House runs until June 11, 2015. If you’re in New York, don’t miss it!