How to Succeed at Kips Bay Decorator Show House – Timothy Whealon

The prestigious Franklin Report gives Timothy Whealon their highest 5 star rating saying, “In Whealon’s hands, fussy traditional spaces become joyful homes, and modern rooms are elevated with warmth.” The Report also includes comments from clients, such as “Top-drawer talent for a reasonable price.” “Really went out of his way for us.” “Tim deeply cares about giving you something that’s perfect for you.” Timothy is frequently featured in Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Veranda, British House and Garden, Architectural Digest, the New York Times as well as in numerous design books. Timothy was hand-selected for the second time in 2016 by the Kips Bay Decorator Show House Committee chaired by renowned interior designer Bunny Williams. His room can be seen in the 44th Kips Bay Decorator Show House until June 9, 2016.  

Join me as Timothy shares insights on how to design a successful room in the Kips Bay Decotator Show House and also shares which room he would love to design in the next show house.



Timothy Whealon’s 2004 Kips Bay Room

How Did You Get Invited Twice to Do Kips Bay?

“I’ve never done any other show houses besides Kips Bay. I did my first Kips Bay back in 2004. I did a small room. It was a little study and was an ode to Sister Parish and an artist called Giuseppe Penone. I really enjoyed it. I thought the timing was right as my Rizzoli book In Pursuit of Beauty was just released last fall and I look forward to another opportunity to support  the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.


Timothy Whealon’s 2016 Kips Bay Room


Is There a Reason Why You Do Kips Bay Exclusively?

“I think show houses are a tremendous amount of work and expense for an office. But No, I’ve been asked to do some of the Hamptons show houses but the timing has never been right. It is such an honor to do Kips Bay and such a great cause. It’s the one show house I’ve chosen to support.”






Why Was The 2016 Kips Bay More Challenging?

“This year was very challenging. It was an exciting year as Bunny Williams told me. She said the great thing about this year’s show house is that you had a blank canvas. You didn’t have to work with some architectural element you didn’t like. It was also challenging because you had to create the entire space. I was basically given a room with five windows and a hole for a fire place. There were no moldings or architectural details. So in a short six weeks you have to plan and then have a month to do to all the construction. We were overly ambitious because we did all these beautiful plaster relief walls which were inspired by Art Deco plaster walls of the 1920’s and 1930’s. We had to cut all the panels precisely, design all the moldings, and have eight panels cut and delivered to the artist’s studio. He worked on them for three weeks and then we installed them on the fourth week and they had to fit exactly between the cove molding and the baseboard. Normally we would do the plaster on site in a client’s house and it would take a lot longer.”



Bunny Williams and Martha Stewart
at the 2016 Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club President’s Dinner.


When Was the First Time You Met Bunny Williams?

I met Bunny at a dinner Dara Caponigro put on when she was editor of Veranda and fell in love with her. I was totally mesmerized by her.”  




What Were Some of the Other Challenges?

“Another challenge was our bedroom faced the back and the view wasn’t as pretty as the front-facing rooms. So the view didn’t distract from the airy design, we came up with this great window treatment—sheer fabric that mimicked Moroccan motifs and fretwork windows. I wanted to find the perfect opacity where it camouflaged the view but you didn’t feel like you were closed-in. We ended up selecting the perfect Schumacher fabric.” 




What Inspired You to Use Brass Throughout the Room?

“The decision to use brass started when we were planning the architectural details of the room. In a show house, most of the expenses fall on the designers. I thought brass would be an economical way to treat the fireplace opening. The material also fit the art deco elements I was looking to incorporate. Soon after, we found some beautiful brass wall lights. Last but not least, one of the pieces that got a lot of attention was a great Italian floor lamp in the shape of a tree from the 1970’s. The walls are covered in trees, so when we found a tree that looked like it came from a disco, we loved it.” 

Are Visitors Able to Purchase Items in The Room?

“Yes! Everything is for sale. We’ve already had an inquiry from someone wanting to buy the entire room! We are working on getting back to them now.”

What Makes a Successful Kips Bay Decorator Show House?

“You can have a little more fun with a show house. It’s a little more fantasy. It’s a room that is accessible that people can relate to but also has elements of fantasy. For me, my work is all about air and light. I think air and light are esoteric things people talk about, but you can feel those qualities when you walk into a room. It’s funny, we were watching the reactions of people when they walked into the room and they would sigh and say it was like a breath of fresh air. That was wonderful to hear.”


Timothy chose a cream geometric rug
with a tactile cut and loop texture.


What Advice Would You Give a Designer Invited to Do Their First Kips Bay?

“Put your seat belt on! Be ready to work very quickly in both a design and execution standpoint and know that things are not going to go precisely as you planned. It’s problem solving from there on.

What Would Be Your Favorite Room to Do at a Show House?

“I think the dining room. I love doing dining rooms and I think today dining rooms can be versatile. They can be a mix of formal and informal. They can incorporate seating areas. It’s a room underused by people and I think it’s a space that is undergoing a resurgence.”


The 2016 Kips Bay Decorator Show House runs till June 9 at The Carlton House Townhouse, 19 East 61st Street, New York, New York.


For more on Timothy Whealon visit:



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *