It’s well known that the Kips Bay Decorator Show House is the gold standard of interior design events. Launched in 1973 by supporters of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, the project has grown into a must-attend event for design enthusiasts, attracting thousands of visitors from New York and beyond each year.

Now in its 44th year, the 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Show House, which opens to the public on May 12, will take place in the Carlton House Townhouse on East 61st Street. Twenty-one of the world’s top tastemakers, including, Alex Papachristidis Interiors, David Collins Studio, Drake/Anderson, Garrow Kedigian Interior Design, Gil Walsh Interiors, Les Ensembliers, Phillip Thomas Inc., Suzanne Kasler Interiors, Harry Heissmann Inc., and Timothy Whealon Interiors, have been tapped to transform the residence using fine furnishings, art, decorative objects, and technology.

As the opening of this year’s Decorator Show House draws closer, we’re taking a look back at the venerable event’s most memorable interiors by some of history’s most storied designers.  

Bromley/Jacobsen Architecture and Design—1984

Interior by Bromley/Jacobsen Architecture and Design. Photography by Phillip H. Ennis.

Bromley/Jacobsen, helmed by designers R. Scott Bromley and Robin Jacobsen, rose to prominence in the late 1970s. Known for mixing disco-era glamour with postmodern Minimalism, the firm excelled at incorporating cutting-edge technology into its interiors. This dramatic space, created for the 1984 Kips Bay Decorator Show House, exemplifies Bromley/Jacobsen’s austere yet luxurious aesthetic.  

Mario Buatta—1984

Interior by Mario Buatta. Photography by Phillip H. Ennis.

This bedroom, also from the 1984 Show House, represents a dramatically different approach to late-twentieth century design. The pastel retreat, designed by the Prince of Chintz, Mario Buatta, is lavishly appointed and features extravagant drapery, floral upholstery, and ornate antiques.

John Walker Hughes for Walker Associates—1985

Interior by John Walker Hughes. Photography by Dennis Krukowski.

This charming and beautifully tailored bedroom by John Walker Hughes shows just how strong the influence of floral chintz was during the 1980s. The room’s inviting pink-and-white palette is complemented by a selection of antiques from a range of periods, including a tiger print armchair, which adds a decidedly contemporary edge to the space.

Susan Zises Green—1993

Interior by Susan Zises Green. Photograph courtesy of the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club Archive.

Susan Zises Green’s singular style permeates this stunning sitting room from the 1993 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Working with a black-and-white palette, Green employed a bold mix of patterns and Neoclassical furniture to create an interior that is anything but ordinary.

Thomas Britt—1997

Interior by Thomas Britt. Photography by Phillip H. Ennis.

This sunny and welcoming dining room by Thomas Britt represents the iconic designer’s worldly aesthetic. Commanding antiques, including a Chinese Chippendale console and a spectacular Rococo chandelier, mingle with luxurious finishes, such as sumptuous leather and eye-catching gilding, to create a truly gracious space.

Albert Hadley—2002

Interior by Albert Hadley. Photography by Dennis Krukowski.

Albert Hadley of the seminal firm Parish-Hadley Associates designed this subdued sitting room for the 2002 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Featuring timeless furniture and decorative objects casually displayed against a neutral backdrop, the serene space is a dramatic departure from the opulent interiors of Show House’s past.

Charles Pavarini III of Pavarini Design—2006

Interior by Charles Pavarini III.

Romance reigns supreme in this bedroom by Charles Pavarini III. A glowing pink light that runs around the room’s perimeter sets the mood, while shimmering upholstery and furnishings in rich, dark woods add to the alluring atmosphere. The bedroom’s floral motif bolsters the space’s sensual appeal.  

William McIntosh— 2008

Interior by William McIntosh. Photography by Phillip H. Ennis.

The recent resurgence of mid-century design, which began around this time, is beautifully apparent in this handsome study created by William McIntosh for the 2008 Kips Bay Decorator Show House. The sleek space features a sculptural glass-topped coffee table, a Warren Platner side table, mid-century lighting, and Gio Ponti-style armchairs.   

Tony Ingrao & Randy Kemper—2014

Interior by Tony Ingrao and Randy Kemper. Photography by Timothy Bell.

This supremely stylish dining room proves that a neutral palette can pack quite a punch. Designers Tony Ingrao  and Randy Kemper upped the luxe factor by opting for sumptuous seating, including a chenille sofa and Art Deco-style armchairs, and created tons of visual interest by pairing contemporary, biomorphic decor with classical pieces.

Mark D. Sikes—2015

Interior by Mark D. Sikes. Photography by Rafael Quirindongo.

An expert at balancing beauty and function, designer Mark D. Sikes seamlessly blends all-American classic style with both modern and European sensibilities in this striking dining room. Sikes masterfully layered red-and-white patterned wall coverings to create a backdrop for an intriguing mix of fine art, antiques, blue-and-white porcelain, and wicker furniture.


NOTE: All images except for the 2006 Kips Bay Decorator Show House’s bedroom by Pavarini Design and the 2015 Kips Bay Decorator Show House’s dining room by Mark D. Sikes are from the book Forty Years of Fabulous: The Kips Bay Decorator Show House by Steven Stolman and published by Gibbs Smith, 2014.