Making Space: Kips Bay Process & Details

May 10, 2024


When Workshop/APD was tapped to participate in this year’s Kips Bay Decorator Show House, we asked every Workshopper to share their vision for the space, from a conceptual muse, to daring design elements, to technology and systems we’d been dying to try. Some simply shared aesthetic cues or vibes- all ideas were good ones. As a collective, we hoped to incorporate elements from designers across studios and disciplines through this design charrette, ultimately developing a vision for a dream room with only the physical space as a constraint. The submissions were nothing short of amazing – and most shared a common thread of soft glamour, smooth curves, and captivating lighting schemes. Below, you can view snapshots of the team’s designs. 

Design Charrette

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From this treasure trove of inspiration, we honed our theme, and Le Fumoir Feminin emerged. Leading the charge were director of interior design Nicole Ficano and design director Brook Quach, two longtime Workshop/APD leaders who enjoy a bit of a challenge. Brook began with the architectural intervention, working with our internal visualization specialist, Abe Ahmad, to model the space through realistic renderings. He introduced the curved language seen throughout the high-density foam walls and shelving, explaining that the choice was an honest reflection of Workshop/APD’s signature modern aesthetic, but really, “the idea drove the architecture.” 

The nature of our room – windowless a chamber that acts as a passage between rooms  – informed many design choices. Nicole opted for an edited-down furniture plan that felt livable; something our visitors and clients would relate to. She worked hard to source seating and accessories that were eclectic but unified in theme. From the bronze side chair from Maison Gerard with its swirls reminiscent of smoke spirals, to the nebulous vases that imitate plumes of vapor, each piece acts as a nod towards the overall scheme. 


The design began with the discovery of the Ambia wallpaper from Fromental in the colorway Miramar. Scaled up for extra drama, the paper determined the color story for the rest of the room. A custom rug by Marc Phillips incorporated multiple textures, techniques and pile heights that mirror the curves of the ceiling pattern, subtly guiding visitors through the room. 

To create a multisensory experience without distracting from our design visually, we employed several partners to help us disguise essential elements. For audio, we worked with Christopher William Technology to integrate a Stealth Sound System, hidden by our ceiling wallpaper. Completely undetectable to the naked eye, our music floats in the room as if by magic. They also helped us wire our Ketra daylighting system, which was crucial to highlight the curve of each wall panel, the bookshelves, and the rest of the room. Finally, the room wouldn’t have been complete without an aromatherapeutic element. Arquiste kindly turned one of their signature scents into an oil that we diffuse throughout the day.  

In wanting to maximize the space, we saw every surface as an opportunity to surprise and delight guests. Starting with the curved wall panels, we worked with PIC to fabricate high-density foam panels that would be lightweight and quick to produce. Our contractors at Highline Construction Group attached them to the existing walls, and Diamond Arts USA came in to plaster over them. These three collaborators were essential to the room’s architecture. Bordering the curved panels, we installed pieces of sultry, warm smoked glass from Galaxy Glass that extend the room and ceiling height visually. 

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Our favorite makers, manufacturers, galleries and artisans graciously stepped in to help us fill the space with an extraordinary assortment of textiles, furnishings, and lighting that embodied the soft, smoky, relaxing theme. We sought our interesting textures and exceptional forms, warm metals and reflective details, and rich, earthy, luxurious hues, then combined them in a way that feels unexpected and inviting. 

While the Quay Sectional and Sumina Coffee Table were the starting point for furnishings, we secured several complementary pieces that amounted to the perfect plan. A side table from Todd Merrill Studio, one from Maison Gerard – along with a bronze side chair – ground the room in rich metallics. Two grand Paolo Buffa chairs from Gaspare Asaro in luxe boucle add softness and symmetry, accessorized with pillows in Kravet and Sandra Jordan alpaca fabrics.  

The perfect decorative lighting was essential to pair seamlessly with the natural light system. Stiilnovo Sconces from Donzella and Pebble Ceiling Lights from A-N-D Studios both fit the theme with rounded forms and diffused, warm light. 


Accessories and styling tell our Muse’s story. She’s an uptown girl with Downtown edge- and her reading material, accessories and collections tell that story, from an eclectic library that touches on fashion and rock n’ roll to cocktails, counterculture and botany (cough, cough). Streamlined, refined, and somewhat minimalist as showhouses go, an impressive match collection culled from the city’s dining hotspots, a thoughtful cocktail bar, and chic Houseplant ashtrays still speak to her specific tastes. 

Peter Lane Clay generously loaned us a custom “Starburst” trumpet vessel, a display of incredible craftsmanship that lends earthy materiality against the supple walls. We chose “Of Matter and Memory III” as the art as a nod to the space’s original purpose: a woman’s primary closet. A multimedia collaboration between Peterson Guerrier and Chris Jones, it quite literally reflects Workshop/APD’s values and design.



Our Stealth Speaker system required a smoky soundtrack, so we asked our team to submit some songs. Find our audio interpretations of the theme on Workshop/APD’s Spotify profile.