Landmark Decorator Show House Goes Condo

By Teresa O’Dea Hein, Managing EditorNew York–Today marks the opening day for the 36th annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House, which receives as many as 20,000 visitors during its four-week run. For the first time in this popular event’s history, it is being held in a multifamily building, as opposed to a townhouse. Its 2008 home is Manhattan House, located at 200 E. 66th St. on the Upper East Side.Manhattan House, officially designated as a landmark building last year, was designed in 1952 by renowned architect Gordon Bunshaft for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The building marked the first big splash of International Style modernity in New York. Now, it is being converted into a condominium by O’Connor Capital and is currently the largest residential conversion in the U.S. The property occupies an entire city block.Another of the building’s claim to fame, which is now being featured in its marketing materials, is that Grace Kelly lived there while she was a budding actress, as her father was involved in supplying brick to the massive project.Among the 2008 show house’s 21 designers are Nancy Ruddy from Cetra/Ruddy and Kondylis Design, both of whom also operate architecture practices and are involved in a number of multifamily high rises around the Big Apple. Also, top chef Daniel Boulud helped create an elegant, efficient kitchen with Bilotta Kitchens of New York.Nancy Ruddy, president and co-founder of Cetra/Ruddy, describes her firm’s design approach as “architectural, with an understated elegance.” Ruddy tells MHN that she “translated fashion details, such as mother-of-pearl buttons, lace appliqués and glass beads, into furnishing trims” for her exquisite room, a bedroom that she’s converted into a fashion editor’s salon. It’s an homage to the connection between fashion and interiors.In a tribute to Scarlet O’Hara and the infamous dress she crafted from draperies, Ruddy displays a Carolina Herrera couture dress that inspired the flower embroidery for this room’s filmy curtains. At the same time, Ruddy’s firm also built out the room’s soffits and transformed a closet space into a luxurious banquette seating area, upholstered in a silk linen. A marble counter doubles as a desk or dressing table.In addition to highlighting new currents in design, the Kips Bay Show House features high-end kitchen appliances by Electrolux, eco-friendly Aura paints from Benjamin Moore and eye-catching wallpapers by Dedar.       The month-long show house raises over $1 million annually for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club, a nonprofit organization that provides essential after-school and enrichment programs for over 14,000 young people between the ages of 6 and 18 at 10 locations in the Bronx. Among its famous alumnae is actress-singer Jennifer Lopez.