You know you’ve arrived when Sara Sugarman invites you to participate in her much admired program Designer Windows at Decorative Carpets. The program matches high-profile designers with selections from the showroom’s current rug collections. Each designer is encouraged to incorporate the carpets, their own product, and imagination – to tell a story – in the four street front windows and a few display areas inside the West Hollywood showroom.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when Sara included me on her short list of guest designers for 2013. I chose to go global with a travelogue theme named Christopher Kennedy’s Jetset Summer. I channeled my easy Southern California aesthetic and applied it to every part of the journey.
Window 1 — Christopher’s Dressing Room in Palm Springs
What to pack for a long trip to multiple exotic destinations? How will I fit it all in?
I’ve emptied the Dinah Dresser, named for famed Palm Springs resident Dinah Shore — the acrylic leg is inspired by a detail on the facade of her iconic PS home. We also see the Cory Slipper Chair from my line, along with a Feldman Brutalist Chandelier from the 1970s. I happen to have a very similar Brutalist chandelier at home and its one of my favorite possessions. This one is on loan from the good people at Warner Bros. My Louis Vuitton travel bag is packed and ready, boarding pass and all. Our wedding photo sits on the dresser, along with travel guide books for the destinations to which I will be jetting — Shanghai, Marrakech, and Nairobi.
Another big inspiration of mine is the Art Deco period. A rosewood Art Deco valet stand is seen in the corner, with clothes still yet to be packed. A very Palm Springs-looking rug from Decorative (which happens to be called French Connection) hangs in the background.
A midcentury lighted globe completes the scene, inspiring my daydreams and travels to come…
Window 2 — Up in the Air
As a Gemini through and through, I’m never happier than on a plane. On my jet, airline seats might look something like the Robert Chair from my furniture line. The Robert Chair is inspired by an Art Deco Roadster Chair (normally done with upholstered arms). I reinvented it with wood or acrylic arms. This roadster-style chair is named for my father, who loved cars and took me the Concourse d’Elegance in Pebble Beach every summer, so that I too learned to appreciate the beauty of classic automotive design. This particular Robert Chair is covered in Kyle Bunting hide, from our forthcoming collaboration.
In my world, flight attendants would dress like the glamorous ones from the heyday of flight. My flight attendant is wearing a vintage 1968 TWA uniform.
The “Peaks” area rug from Decorative Carpets — embellished with airline windows of course — reminiscent of 1960s airline upholstery fabric — in a good way!
Window 3 — Shanghai, China
I love that Shanghai is at once a very modern and a very old city — and this scene represents that disparity. The shockingly modern skyline resides so close to back alleys where a 1920s vision of the future remain intact. The wonderfully playful Genevieve rug from Decorative Carpets sets the scene. I love the abstract fan design and the rich colors.
A Chinoiserie secretary from Warner Bros takes center stage. It mingles effortlessly with a 1970s kinetic brass coffee table, a black Asian chair (with Sahco fabric from Donghia), and a fabulous mid-century floor lamp. Chinese porcelain figurines mingle on the 1970s coffee table while a 60′s Italian lotus blossom-looking lamp is the perfect topper to an old Chinese pedestal.
“Window” 4 — Marrakech, Morocco
Sumptuous pillows, hookahs, and vibrant patterns — oh my! A sexy and low-slung Kagan-inspired sofa, covered in “Babe’s Tweed” by Jamie Drake for Schumacher, is the focal point my Marrakech harem dream. Moroccan tables nest perfectly in its ample curve and lanterns dangle in front of the Kadeer rug by Decorative Carpets. A folding campaign chair sits across from the similarly scaled Cherner chair, in a playful juxtaposition. A variety of Moroccan artifacts, including slippers, are displayed from the collection of Elizabeth Crowell — who works on many of my restorations.
What is a Moroccan scene without a genie-in-the-bottle lamp? And, did I mention green is my favorite color?
“Window” 5 — Nairobi, Kenya, Africa
I’ve awoken way to early to join the safari, but the African sunrise and glorious animals will no doubt be worth it. Back at camp, the sculptural, almost tribal, Dustin Credenza — which I designed for The Thomas Lavin Showroom at PDC — anchors my room. It is accompanied by an African three-legged chair and an ottoman with hide upholstery and horn legs. An exotic, resin orange light fixture hangs in front of the Zebrina rug from Decorative Carpets. Organic pewter vases from my private collection serve as simple accessories, while hourglasses count down to my holiday’s end.
“Window” 6 — Welcome Home
It’s a scene that looks remarkably similar to my own home. David and our puppy, Harley, have greeted me warmly at the door. I dropped my bag in front of the mid-century bar cart, where they have champagne ready to uncork and a “welcome home” card waiting for me. Weary from the long journey, I am about to sink my body into the oh-so-comfortable David Chair from my collection. It is my best-seller, and named for my better half.
While I love to travel, there’s no place like home.
Warner Bros Studio Facilities signed on as a sponsor for the windows. Many interior designers don’t know that WBSF has full-time drapery workrooms, casegood factories, and upholstery shops that designers can employ. It’s a wonderful resource. Other than the pieces from my own furniture collection, Warner Bros Studio Facilities provided all the furnishings for the windows. Being turned loose to shop in their 200,000 square foot furniture and prop house is something I will never forget!
Posted on 08/28/2013 at 12:00:00 AM