Thursday, April 23, 2015

40 Years of Fabulous

I want to bring to your attention a new book that I think many of you will enjoy: 40 Years of Fabulous: The Kips Bay Decorator Show House by Steven Stolman.  Established in 1972, the Kips Bay Decorator Show House may not be the oldest show house in the country, but it is certainly one of the most prestigious. Held every Spring, Kips Bay, which benefits the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, always boasts a roster of America's leading designers, who work their magic in an effort to transform their show house spaces into rooms that will impress or, at the very least, get people talking.

40 Years of Fabulous recounts the history of Kips Bay, taking the reader on a journey through some of the event's more memorable rooms.  In addition to coverage of more recent show houses, the book takes a look back at the rooms conceived by such design legends as Mario Buatta, Albert Hadley, David Barrett, and Irvine and Fleming.  It's these way-back rooms that are sheer delights, as they represent the changes in taste over the last forty years.  I would argue, though, that many of the rooms from the 1970s and 1980s still look good today.

As far as the book's author goes, Steven Stolman is a worthy person to write 40 Years of Fabulous.  While reading this book, I could sense Stolman's unabashed enthusiasm for both Kips Bay and the important role it has played in American design history.  And the icing on this book's cake has to be the brief chapter on the late Rella MacDougall, who served as chairwoman of the show house for decades.  Without the stewardship of MacDougall, would Kips Bay have become the vaunted tradition that it is today?

*To purchase a copy of this book, please visit Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

A room by Albert Hadley

A room by Irvine and Fleming

Rella MacDougall

A room by David Barrett

A landing by Richard Lowell Neas

All photos from 40 Years of Fabulous by Steven Stolman, 2015, Gibbs Smith publisher


  1. Dear Jennifer,

    I am so excited to read this book! I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Stolman at the 2015 DC Design House where I designed the library. He was great fun to chat with and his passion and flair for design insures that the book will indeed be...fabulous! Thanks for sharing.



  2. love them all + can't wait to read this book

  3. The Irvine and Fleming room is a marvelous example of how to take VERY formal upholstered furniture down a few notches by the use of slipcovers. It's fabulous!

    I'm surprised you didn't show Mario Buatta's famous 1984 bedroom done in blue/white Brunschwig & Fils fabrics. Those curtains were TDF and that room still makes my heart beat a bit faster!

    1. I love the now-famous blue and white room done by Mario. I was limited as to which photos I could show in this blog post. Otherwise, I would have certainly featured it.

      Great point about Irvine and Fleming's use of slipcovers.