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Gala-vanting On Opening Night
After a dismal cold snap, spring returned right on cue for the Kips Bay opening night gala–attendees flocked to the rooftop garden to enjoy the fresh air, the sun setting on 61st Street and a cocktail or two. Trusty Polaroid camera in hand, we joined the crowds mountaineering up and down the six floors of the Carlton House, taking in the design, gossip and fashion (we weren’t the only ones: Bill Cunningham was seen snapping a few shots, then escaping on his trademark bicycle).
This year, some of the strongest statements came from debutantes. Catherine Olasky and Max Sinsteden, Kips Bay first-timers, crafted a pitch-perfect traditional bedroom in green that stole our hearts. The fabrics were immaculately detailed, the proportions were spot-on and the details were just-
 
so. Perhaps the surest sign that these two are one of the most exciting new voices in traditional design: they know how to blend abstract art into the mix, keeping things fresh and lively. 
Though an established master in his own right, Jamie Drake was making a debut of sorts himself: he recently started a new firm in partnership with Caleb Anderson, and this was their first Kips Bay together. The duo crafted a sumptuous bedroom with a surprise twist–hidden in the overhang of the four-
poster was a cracked mirror, visible only to the bed’s occupants. Perhaps an even bigger shock was the color, or lack thereof: the room was mostly serene gray. “You know, we’re just not doing big colors for clients these days,” Drake said, though he was standing next to a lavender drape as he spoke–old habits die hard.


Another highlight was the intricate wall chalkwork by calligrapher Rajiv Surendra in a Napoleonic room by Garrow Kedigian. Surendra, who sometimes acts on the side (you’ve seen him in Mean Girls) took a philosophical approach to his work: “you could treat the chalk to be permanent, but it wouldn’t look the same. And why does it have to last forever? Most things don’t.” 
A few quick favorites before we go: the wonderfully social outdoor space crafted (in one day!) by Hollander Design, the architectural chandelier in a room by David Kleinberg that had us looking up and the charming terracotta floor in a room by Brian Sawyer that had us looking down. 
Naturally, not every room was an A+ (we won’t name names, but let’s just say graffiti is almost always #tryingtoohard), but in the main, it was a lovely show house, and a lovely evening.
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