Hamptons Designer Showhouse 2014

Saturday was Traditional Home’s annual Gala Preview Cocktail Party for the Hamptons Designer Showhouse, benefiting Southampton Hospital. As always, it was a vibrant and summery event with beautiful interiors and an attractive & interesting crowd. I was thrilled to meet Jamie Drake for the first time and gabbed with my favorite charmer Mario Buatta. Below are a mix of some of my favorite rooms and details.. and some I thought you might enjoy!

The Hamptons Designer Showhouse is open daily Monday to Sunday, July 20 through Monday, September 1. Hours: 11AM to 5PM. Admission is $35 and includes a Journal. For more info and directions click here.

A detail from the dining room by Mecox Design Services. One of two Slim Aarons photographs above consoles flank the door from the foyer.

A detail from the dining room by Mecox Design Services

Kitchen cabinets by Ciuffo Cabinetry

Living room by Lillian August

Details from the living room by Lillian August

A view in the study by Greg McKenzie Design. Note the embroidered wallpaper detail.

Delicious details from the study by Greg McKenzie Design

Detail from the study by Greg McKenzie Design

A playful powder room by Melanie Roy Design

A view in Henry Co Design’s colorful and fun upstairs lounge

Henry Co Design’s colorful and fun upstairs lounge

A detail from Henry Co Design’s colorful and fun upstairs lounge

Katie Leede and Company’s eclectic guest bedroom

A detail from Katie Leede and Company’s eclectic guest bedroom

A detail from Katie Leede and Company’s eclectic guest bath. I LOVE this artwork signed “LBall2012″

Details from Gil Walsh’s upstairs office

A detail from Gil Walsh’s upstairs office

Mabley Handler Interior Design’s striking bedroom

Details from Kate Singer Home’s guest bedroom

A view into the canopied bed in Phoebe Howard’s bedroom

Details of the canopied bed in Phoebe Howard’s bedroom

A details from Phoebe Howard’s bedroom. I really like this piece.

Punchy master bedroom by Tobi Fairley and Associates

More views in the master bedroom by Tobi Fairley and Associates (Tobi on left)

A detail from the master bedroom by Tobi Fairley and Associates

Four watercolors by Mark Humphrey adorn the upstairs hall

A view from the master bedroom balcony onto the back yard where the party was about to pick up (I shot this before most of the crowd showed up)

Wonderful little guesthouse with pergolas on either side (this is the back). Exterior spaces by designer Caleb Anderson Design

Links to the designers shown above:

Mecox Design Services
Ciuffo Cabinetry
Lillian August
Greg McKenzie
Melanie Roy
Henry and Co Design
Katie Leede
Gil Walsh
Mabley Handler Interior Design
Kate Singer
Phoebe Howard
Tobi Fairley
Caleb Anderson

Thanksgiving with Style

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away! For all you hosts out there, don’t wait for the panic to set in. Take care of your tabletop(s) now so that you can put your heart into the food preparation later… and actually enjoy it.

Whether you have a game plan or not, I’d recommend popping into The Little Flower Shoppe in Ridgewood, NJ for their Stress-free Holiday Decorating Party tomorrow night (Thursday, Nov 14, 2013, 6-8pm). RSVP: 201 652 7600 or info@raimondihg.com. Fabulous flower extraordinaire, Anne Miller (who has worked with the likes of Preston Bailey and David Tutera) will be giving floral advice and dishing inspirational tabletop ideas. Ridgewood Fare will be serving up delicious bites and giving pointers on cuisine. And in the proper spirit of Thanksgiving, a portion of the evenings sales proceeds will be going to Children’s Aid and Family Services.

Here is the Thanksgiving table I styled with florals and frills from said Anne Miller. I asked for “dark, rich and deadly” and she delivered:

Photography by Laura Moss.
Anne sourced all the flowers (and miniature orchids) and fruit (miniature eggplants, figs, gourds, grapes, various berries, and these incredible little green spiky seedpods) directly from the flower district in New York. Bring her any vessel that’s right for your table, mantle, doorway, etc and she will fill it with the the most beautiful work you’ve ever seen.

The salad plates and dinner plates are from a totally fabulous buying trip to 200+ year-old porcelain factory, Royal Limoges—the oldest existing porcelain factory in all of Limoges, France—but you can pull this look off with whatever whites you have at home. Throw a pop color in there for fun: I found these celadon green dinner plates at Crate & Barrel that at first I thought were a knock off, but I they appear to actually be made by Jars, a very well respected stoneware factory in France (I also have a set of this exact dinnerware in a dark green: it’s totally awesome and totally rustic and totally perfect for a hearty Thanksgiving meal). The flatware is a vintage brass set I picked up at an estate sale years ago, but I found a ton of Ricci Argentieri’s “Bamboo d’Oro” on (my favorite website) replacements.com. Frankly I’d recommend the electroplated gold over the brass any day because mine is nearly impossible to keep polished. There are tons of sets on online auction houses too… happy hunting and happy thanksgiving! xx Mere

Hampton Designer Showhouse


Mark your calendars decor deal-finders and haute-hunters! Only one more week to go until Traditional Home’s annual Hampton Designer Showhouse has their online auction! A handful of special items from each designer will be auctioned off… and (a portion of) the proceeds will benefit Southampton Hospital.

A few weekends ago, my husband Ryerson and I attended the Gala Preview Party for the debut of the 2013 Hampton Designer Showhouse. The party was lively, the cocktails were flowing, the crowd was very glamorous and the interior design was exceptional.

Though we did not get to meet him, we saw Thom Felicia (if you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see him checking in). Upon arrival, we decided to see the house before checking out the outdoor party—which turned out to be a good game plan—and we moved through each room and meet all the designers with ease and sans traffic.

After passing through Celerie Kemble‘s grand but restful master bedroom, I spotted idol and decor celeb (and Honorary Showhouse Chairman), Mario Buatta. I immediately turned red and noted the lack of AC in the house. I’ve met Mr. Buatta probably 3 or 4 times now, but have never managed to have a satisfying conversation over the sound of my chattering teeth. This time was no better… He had an absurdly robust plume of chest hair protruding from the top of his neckline—normally buttoned and bow-tied—that I fought hard not to make eye-contact with while I reintroduced myself. I explained that I had just written a magazine column on him and his new retrospective (Mario Buatta: Fifty Years of American Interior Decoration, published by Rizzoli) that is about to come out. He seemed amused watching as I struggled with his practical joke (see photos below, it was indeed faux chest hair that came out later in the party). We parted ways—me reeling from missed opportunities of composure and humor—and bee-lined it for the bar.

The back yard was abustle with a lively, quintessential Hamptons summer party crowd. After procuring a cocktail, we had the pleasure of bumping into another of my interior design idols, Vicente Wolf, and his friend (also a well-known interior designer) Matthew Yee. We were engaging in a nice little chat (everything my Buatta conversation was not) until—out of nowhere—Vicente & Matthew sprang away! Before I could worry about what I’d said, the lawn sprinkler soaked my lower half, and I too leapt backwards (before it got my white silk shirt) and watched in shock as women (and men) screamed and ran. Gowns got soaked, seersucker wilted, and white linen pants became see-through. It was hilarious. And a blessing in disguise? I think so: it was over 100°F and wildly humid out.

After that, it was time to go. Plenty of excitement for one decor party night.


ABOVE: Lillian August‘s cheerful and punchy dining room. I love the painting on the back wall by Julie Headland.
BELOW: Bakes and Company‘s kitchen with outrageous countertops and custom refrigerators and freezer drawers (shown bottom left). Hot!

Below (3 photos) of Patricia Fisher Design‘s sitting area and breakfast nook. The saffron and light grey with pops of bright green were a refreshing and inviting combo.


Below (2) photos taken from upstairs of the guests cruising through the entry foyer by Michael Herold Design, and the living room by Brian del Toro Inc.

Brady Design‘s beautiful and serene guest room/tv room. The hand-crafted mattress upholstered in baby alpaca was the inspiration for the room, as it could be used as a lounge during the winter OR covered with sheets during the guest-ing season.

Alan Court & Associates‘s (Alan shown below) created a stunning guest bath with stone and leather walls! I had to touch.

Barbara Page Home‘s playful guest room overlooking the backyard had dramatic photography from Robin Rice Gallery

Celerie Kemble‘s master bedroom with charcoal seagrass walls and pops of turquoise and blue hues.
The charming Mr. Mario Buatta, before and after my chest shrug run-in. I guess he got too hot! Here’s a link to the piece I wrote about his book that comes out in September

Below is my favorite room in the house, by Bradley Stephens, Stephens Design Group (photo courtesy of KDHamptons.com). These masculine quarters share a 2-sided fireplace with the master bedroom and the ceiling (though you can’t tell from the photo) covered in a fabulous, distressed-wood wallpaper. Bradley said it was a painstaking job, but added so much to the room that it was worth the effort. The room was eclectic and handsome and had a wonderful mix of art and artifacts, including an dissected lobster, similar to one I saw a few years back in the world-famous taxidermist, Deyrolle (one of my favorite places in Paris).

Michael Mariotti’s glamorous master bath with patterned seagrass walls, ornate tiling, and a beautiful leather bench with flocatti throw.

Sherrill Canet Interior’s Morroccan-inspired family room for Pearson (where all the furniture and textiles are from). Sherrill laid all the mirrors out on the ground in the middle of a market in Morrocco in order to visualize them in this comfortable and graphic room!

Ken Gemes’s casual outdoor dining area facing the backyard party

The lively outdoor party

One of the aforementioned fashion-foiling sprinklers (below left); and the guests running from the scene (below right). My sad, wet, bejeweled shoes (not shown)
Click here for Editor at Large’s video coverage of the event with Traditional Home’s stylish Tory Mellot (who I worked w/at Elle Decor) doing interviews.
To read about other fabulous Hamptons events (and laugh hysterically), check out my cousin Ted Kruckel’s most recent BizBash column, “This Year’s Hamptons Events: From the Sublime to the Ridiculous”

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amerelife.com by Meredith McBride Kipp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

© Meredith McBride Kipp and amerelife.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Meredith McBride Kipp and amerelife.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Haute Hamptons Showhouse

My husband & I attended Traditional Home’s Hampton Designer Showhouse Preview Party in Watermill last weekend. To be honest—given the current climate—I wasn’t expecting much; showhouses everywhere have been suffering from this economic crisis. I was pleasantly surprised, however: new and fun ideas were abound, eclectic collections glorified, exotic chances taken.

Not only was it a lively party with great food, a cool crowd and tremendous gift bags (best I’ve seen in years), but the designers knocked it out of the park.

My ultimate favorite of the evening was Katie Leede’s upstairs guest room. She made a lot of unexpected materials sing together. It was a cozy, luxurious, and super-sexy bedroom.

Other highlights of the evening were: Robert Passal’s bright, playful master bedroom; Tamara Kaye-Honey’s fabulously twisted baby’s room; the handsome living room (shown at the very top right) by Patrick Lönn Design ripe with equestrian flourishes; and the vibrant dining room by Mabley Handler Interior Design.

This year’s Showhouse is located at 80 Flying Point Road, Water Mill, NY and is open daily (11AM to 5PM) through September 3, 2012. Go check it out before it ends. It’s chock-full of inspiration.

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amerelife.com by Meredith McBride Kipp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

© Meredith McBride Kipp and amerelife.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Meredith McBride Kipp and amerelife.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Designer Showhouse Soirée

On Saturday evening, I attended the Preview Party of The Designer Showhouse of New Jersey with stylish and hilarious friend, Meg Bashaw. We gabbed with tons of guests and designers at “Hidden Acres Estate”—a 10 acre property in the Chestnut Ridge area of Saddle River, NJ. Traditional Home is sponsoring the 11,000 sq. ft. home featuring more than 20 interior and landscape designers.
The showhouse is open daily through June 10th (closed Mondays) from 10am to 4pm. General admission is $30. The Heart & Vascular Hospital and Emergency Trauma Department of Hackensack University Medical Center will benefit from all proceeds.

The entryway (below) by modelesque sisters Linda Maley & Lisa Keyser of Whitepop was dramatic and fun. I particularly loved their Jagger altar at the top of the stairs.

The dining room (below) was sexy, sophisticated and eclectic. No surprise, as Jennifer McGee masters those qualities in all her work. She had fabulous artwork, comfortable chairs and great focal points. I especially loved the built-in lounge in the corner (shown below with friend Meg Bashaw) that would be a great spot for cocktails before or after a dinner party.

Next we hit Philip La Bossiere’s room (my favorite room of the evening), an ultra-chic den/study (below). His attention to fine (and inventive) detail would make anyone want to upholster a bookshelf. His work is casual and relaxed, yet so very polished. LOVE.

Down the hall to a total SHOW-STOPPER, Keith Baltimore’s ultra-glamorous party room (below). I can definitely imagine my alter-ego smoking Nat Shermans with a cigarette holder and sipping endless bubbly in here.

Upstairs we found Barbara Ostrom’s office (below) calming and just the right combo of lodge and cabana.

Opposite Barbara’s office (below), was the spouse’s office, handsomely decorated by  the lovely duo Susan & Eugene Barbieri. LOVED the carpet. LOVED the RL lamps. And great artwork by Richard Bruce.

And last, but certainly not least, Colin Patrick Corcoran (friend of a friend as it turns out) decked out a luscious bedroom (below) with eclectic and interesting art and objets. I appreciated his mix of materials throughout the room—from geodes and alligator skin to watercolors and shagreen—there was plenty of texture to behold.

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amerelife.com by Meredith McBride Kipp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

© Meredith McBride Kipp and amerelife.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Meredith McBride Kipp and amerelife.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

WINTER WHITES

This year, curb the urge to use your old red and green holiday decorations. Instead, keep it chic. Use these entertaining ideas to help break your old habits and embrace a new palette
Story, Styling and Stationery by me, Meredith McBride Kipp
Floral Design by Anne Miller  ·  Photography by Roey Yohai
Flanking doorways and the fireplace with preserved juniper trees will make a large room feel more intimate. Potted topiaries like these are also a chic alternative to a traditional Christmas tree and a great solution for small spaces.Add dimension and a punch of color at each table setting with a sculptural piece of seasonal produce like an artichoke or pomegranate.Adorn the table with a few beautiful, unexpected objects, like these antique silver pheasant salt and pepper shakers that I found at an estate sale.

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and setting the tone for such a sentiment is all about creating great atmosphere. When it comes to holiday decorating, the hardest part is staying away from the expected. Resist the temptation to use all of your saved decorations from years past. Instead, try something new: Pick a color palette and stick to it. What doesn’t fit the bill goes back to the attic or gets a fresh coat of paint. This year, think white. White is the epitome of modernity, elegance and balance. Mixing snow white with traces of green, black and silver is on trend and très chic.

To bring greenery and life into your dining room, New Jersey florist extraordinaire Anne Miller of The Little Flower Shoppe in Ridgewood recommends hanging an oversize wreath. Decorate it with items found in nature such as pinecones, acorns and berries to enchant guests. Flank the hearth and doorway with preserved juniper topiary trees for an instant dose of warmth and intimacy.

For your holiday table, choose crisp white linens and layer them with a wide, black ribbon or runner down the center of the table and across at each place setting. This will add dimension to the table and visually anchor each setting. When it comes to flatware, glassware and china, you don’t need to have the best; you just need to know how to use what you’ve got. Don’t be afraid to mix like-colored pieces—whites with off-whites, stainless steel with silver and mercury glass or crystal with glass. (For a lesson from the experts in mixing it up, stop into Michael C. Fina in NYC) Place your white china on a clear, silver or white charger—layering adds dimension to the table. To add sparkle, use clear glassware and stemware and mix styles to vary the height and look. For centerpieces, Miller says to keep the botanicals simple and seasonal. The velvety texture of Vendela roses and silvery grey Tilandisa is warm and wintry and helps create the mood for a luxurious cold-weather soiree. For an intimate dinner party, keep the arrangements under 12 inches high so as not to disrupt the festive repartee.

Bring the black-and-white theme from your mailed invitation through to the place card and menu—it’s really chic and your guests will appreciate the detail. Keep the design simple and modern, and make things easy for yourself by having your local stationer do them for you. Place a menu on top of each napkin, then wrap the napkin and menu with ribbon or a paper strip that matches the invite. Top it all off with a fresh artichoke to add unexpected texture, dimension and a punch of color.

Lastly, make sure the lighting is just right—if you don’t have dimmers on your fixtures, just use candles (always unscen-ted around food) aided by the glow from an illuminated room nearby. Cluster large mercury glass pieces and other silver objects together to bring a little sparkle to darker areas of the room. Carry elements of this onto your table by way of mercury glass votives and a few small silver objects, and you’ll have plenty of sparkle to go around during this festive season.

1 The Little Things
  Something simple like a sachet full of lavender or a bag of homemade cookies makes a nice gift for your guests. Tie it off with a ribbon and an ornament and place it on their chairs.
2 Get Centered  A dramatic flower arrangement is a great way to wow your guests. You can bring your own vases to the florist and have him or her create arrangements that work for your table. If flowers are out of the budget, cluster like-colored objects of varying heights in the center of the table.
3 Keep it Coming  Always keep your guests’ water and cocktail glasses filled—your service is very important and much appreciated.
4 Put it on Paper  Despite the multitude of e-mail and Web-based invite options these days, it’s a nice gesture to send guests a printed invitation to your party. Use the same style in your place cards and menus to create a consistent theme.
5 Easy Does It  Food, especially desserts, that you can prepare beforehand (or buy) will save you time. French macaroons are always an elegant supplement to your homemade desserts, and they come in a multitude of colors to fit any theme. (Coordinating your food with your color palette will add impact and elegance.)

Click here to download my 2.5-hr Chic Party Playlist (on the iTunes store) to round out the evening. Held together with hints of weighty Bossa Nova, orchestral flair and bluegrass, this sexy, hip (yet classic) mix blends many genres to create the perfect background for an intimate dinner party or a laidback evening of cocktails.

Click here to download a PDF of the story.
Published in the Health&Life family of magazines. Circulation: 275,000

A Succulent Evening

I just went to a fabulous wedding in the Hamptons. The food delicious, the drinks overflowing, the music and lighting just right and the flora… out of this world gorgeous! …yet still laid back.

Magnolia branches clustered throughout the tent created a real-feel forest, while succulent-adorned centerpieces graced long, wood farm tables and clothed rounds (mixed!). And to pull it all together, the up-lighting had leafy gels that cast warm, dreamy shadows on the tent ceiling. Event planning and florals by the amazing Claire Bean.