Known for creating harmonious spaces that perfectly meld both vintage and contemporary pieces, Jennifer Cohler Mason was in full force at this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House. Exuding a cozy luxury, rich jewel-tone colors throughout play off metals, textural applications, and some serious art to one stunning effect.
Downtown: We loved your room at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House! What made you decide to participate this year and was this your first time?
Jennifer Cohler Mason: This is my first time participating in the Kip’s Bay Decorator Show House. It is a huge honor to be asked to participate, and I was thrilled to be involved in the Show House. It is a great way for the design community to give back, I was only too happy to be able to give my time and resources towards helping the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.
Downtown: Tell us about your room and how it came together. What was the theme?
JCM: We wanted to create a comfortable and livable sitting room, lounge-like space. The imaginary client we designed for are a New York City couple that are big art collectors and love to entertain. We have an incredible mix of important vintage and contemporary pieces of furniture, lighting, and art.
Downtown: You truly know how to design an entrance. Tell us about your Brutalist entry—what inspired it and how did you achieve the look?
JCM: We wanted to create drams by covering the entry walls in a hand-painted Brutalist wallcovering. We liked the idea of coming through a dark space into a light and airy entertaining space. The hand-painted bees applied to the ceiling were a very important element as we wanted to create a lot of “buzz” in our space. We love Brutalist design and were inspired by Paul Evans furniture. MJ Atelier was an integral part of executing this design for us.
Downtown: What are some of the details seen throughout that make this room so welcoming to both men and women?
JCM: We love to mix masculine and feminine elements when creating our spaces. Examples of this are our mixture of a black window seat cushion fabric which we softened with a waterfall effect and jewel-toned pillow fabrics. We created a built-in bar with dark cerused wood cabinet doors and to add a feminine touch we installed rock crystal and brass hardware. We like to refer to this as jewelry for our cabinetry.
Downtown: We love your wall color and treatment! Tell us about them—they both add so much texture and visual interest.
JCM: Each of our projects has many elements of textures and layers. In our room for Kip’s Bay, we plastered our walls and created a cross-hatched effect and added in a pearlescent Benjamin Moore paint finish.
Downtown: The art was so fantastic and worked so well with the lush velvets and jewel tone colors. What drew you to these particular pieces?
JCM: We are always inspired by art and believe no space is complete without art in it. The pair of life-size Robert Longo drawings were perfect to greet each guest as they entered the space. The Clifford Ross waves were an ideal complement to hang over our bar, giving the room more depth and dimension. The black and turquoise Donald Sultan painting stands out against the light pearlescent walls. Lastly, our Manolo Valdes sculpture, Cabeza con Tres Mariposas, was perfect to help create balance in an asymmetrical space.
Downtown: The seating area is fabulous. Where are the designs from and what made you decide to incorporate such lush, jewel tones throughout?
JCM: We created a window seat that runs the entire width of the room. Not only does it function to provide lots of extra seating but it also served to disguise the prewar radiators. We designed the cushion to be channeled with a waterfall for a more glamorous look and then topped it with jewel-toned pillows that reminded us of peacock feathers.
Downtown: We love how everything ties together beautifully—from the rug and the sofa to the cabinet in the back topped with that beautiful stone, and the True Residential wine cabinet with that ambient purple lighting. Where did you find each and what drew you to including them or custom-designing each?
JCM: The rug is from The Rug Company, one of the house sponsors. We immediately fell in love with this one as it felt very painterly to us. We custom designed the built-in bar with a waterfall stone top. The doors were cerused wood with custom brass inlay provided by RBL Metals. The piece was built by Park Slope Kitchen Gallery for us, with the waterfall quartz countertop provided by Cambria Surfaces. Matthew Studios supplied the beautiful custom-made rock crystal and brass hardware for it. AJ Madison, another sponsor of the Kip’s Bay Show House, generously supplied both the True Residential beer Beverage Dispenser and the Dual Zone Wine Cabinet for us. We think this makes our room an even more fun space to entertain in.
Downtown: We absolutely loved the staircase you designed. What was your approach to this ethereal, transportive area?
JCM: We wanted to create a rug that would help to draw people up through the winding narrow staircase to the fifth floor. We thought dragonflies would be perfect, all flying up the stairs, making the space feel magical and airy. The Phillip Jeffries custom, hand-painted wallpaper was the perfect complement in making this space feel more whimsical.
Downtown: What was one of your favorite aspects of participating in this year’s show house?
JCM: There were so many moments to choose from, but the one that stands out would have to be Opening Night. After weeks of brainstorming and hard work, the best moment was being able to enjoy the unveiling of our space and celebrate with all of the designers’ in the house.
Downtown: What were some of your favorite rooms and why?
JCM: It’s so hard to choose from, the rooms are all so fabulous in this year’s house, it would be like having to choose a favorite child. We loved Young Huh’s “Young At Art” loft space, her room was very imaginative. We love the wallpaper she selected and her use of color. Cullman & Kravis’s dining room was another magical space, the walls and the use of layers were wonderful. Another standout is Richard Rabel’s wallcovering by MJ Atelier. There are so many amazing design elements in each designer’s rooms at the Show House.
Downtown: What are you working on next?
JCM: We have many projects in the works and several new ones that are about to begin both in NYC and surrounding areas.