Laurie Gorelick Interiors


Transitional Spaces: Lessons from the 2014 Kips Bay Decorator Show House

Often overlooked are the spaces that get you from here to there or that greet you when you enter. Interior designers know how to use these transitional spaces to concentrate drama into even the smallest spaces that we're given to design. Like overtures and interludes in musical theatre, these spaces set the stage for what's to come. I often urge my clients to go for the gusto. Entryways, for example, are the first thing guests see when entering and they introduce the "story" you want your home to tell.

The seasoned designers in this year's Kips Bay Decorator Show House aptly and dramatically illustrated how best to treat transitional spaces in interiors. From the main entry to a former back corridor, the spaces these designers transformed went from boring to spectacular.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard used his Grand Entry to showcase his beautiful collection of marble prints and wallpapers for Schumacher. The entry had "good bones" to begin with: detailed millwork dividing the walls into rhythmic planes.


                                               Photo by Timothy Bell, courtesy of Architectural Digest.

Bullard exploited these planes -- using a variety of his wallpapers on the wainscot, upper walls and ceiling, thereby creating a dramatic yet harmonious pattern play. The consoles and upholstery are his own designs.


                                                                             Photo by Timothy Bell



The black and white floor tiles, marblized wallpapers in different values of charcoal, and luxurious silk upholstery combine to create an elegant entry foyer that beckons to the grand spaces beyond.

From Bullard's entry foyer, a Grand Staircase designed by John Douglas Eason ascends to the second floor. Eason faced the challenges of conquering the grand scale of the staircase and creating visual cues to draw the viewer's eye upward. He tackled these challenges with pattern, form and light: pattern via the horizontal-striped custom wallpaper and lovely Doris Leslie Blau area rug; form via the mammoth art installation and eclectic furnishings on the landing; and light via the stunning Ingo Maurer chandelier at the apex.


                                                                               Photo by Timothy Bell


                Contrast of traditional and modern forms on the landing of John Douglas Eason's Grand Staircase

Young Huh took an awkward back corridor originally leading to a storage area and transformed it into an elegant and decidedly feminine lounge space. Named the Hollyhock Lounge for the Lee Jofa handblocked Hollyhock fabric that adorns the upholstered walls, Huh demonstrated that even a back hallway can be made intimate and elegant.


                                                                                    Photo by Timothy Bell

Huh kept the values of the Stark natural fiber carpet on the floor and the bronze metallic Maya Romanoff wallpaper on the ceiling consistent -- a device to create spaciousness in the low-ceilinged space. By adding shiny black patent leather wainscoting, a bronze chandelier and gilded accessories, Huh punched up the illumination in the space. Feminine details, like a built-in banquette, and a pleated valence a la Dorothy Draper, give the space its comfortable appeal.


A third floor hallway becomes a Grand Salon in the deft hands of SPAN Architecture. The firm's intention was to create a gathering space for the display of art and exchange of ideas. Geometric back lit wall assemblies propel the art into focus. Benches echo the architectural forms. The juxtaposition of new and old, modern and traditional alters the expectation of the hallway. Rather than a pass-through transitional space, the hallway becomes a place for assembly.


                                                                            Photo by Timothy Bell