Nirvana in Westchester

This spring is hopping with design activities, from benefits and showhouses to Brimfield and Blogfest. Last week I had the opportunity to visit the Designer Showhouse of Westchester. Located in Bedford Corners, NY, the event is at Nirvana, an $11,000,000 17 acre estate, transformed by 25 interior designers and decorative artists to benefit Cerebral Palsy of Westchester.

There were many lovely rooms and I thought I would offer a peak at some of my favorites.

The dramatic entry was designed by the Baltimore Design Group. Double story entries can be overwhelming and I like how they used the framed wallpaper panels to break up the space.

Behind the entry, Carey Karlan of Last Detail designed the hall, powder room and the rear space with french doors leading to the terrace. The hall is a simple graphic placeholder that opens into a fun room set up as an entertaining space for cocktails. Carey said she wanted the room to have a sense of occasion, that life is a series of tiny moments and she wanted to capture one here. And it most certainly does that. You feel as if you have walked into the middle of Nick and Nora moment.

I adored the Bergamo sheers on the windows. Carey said she has been waiting for the opportunity to use them and I can understand why. They are elegant yet playful and festive. And the finish on the dark walls is fabulous – Venetian plaster but with a wax finish that imparts an incredible tactile luster – SO  wish I had a room to do this in.

The elegant silver leaf console is the perfect foil against the dark walls.

What’s wonderful about the space is that while it has a distinctive vintage vibe it still feels totally modern. The mid-century modern chandelier from Irwin Feld Design works perfectly with the luminous large oil painting by Vincent George which Carey chose for its “in the moment” implication.

Check out Nick and Nora themselves sipping happily on the cocktail table. That is Carey’s own vintage cocktail shaker. Check out the bottom – how fabulous is that?! She and her older children (she has 5!) have taken to having real cocktails occasionally and this shaker has definitely come in handy!

And Carey herself was perfectly appointed for her space – if it hadn’t been 10 in the morning, it would have been the ideal spot for cocktails!!

Another of my favorite spaces was Shari Markbreiter of MH Studio‘s beautiful bedroom. It is a serenely relaxing space yet filled with so many wonderful details.

There has been so much talk lately about the importance of art in a space and Shari most adamantly agrees. The bedroom is filled with an amazingly eclectic assortment. She explained, “I can’t start or finish a room without thinking about the art that’s going to go in it. The way we work with our clients is we do what we call the install and reveal. We invite the clients to leave their home, if they should happen to be there, and stay in a beautiful hotel for 2 days. Then we go and install the whole house so when they come in, it’s the big reveal. And if the designated space doesn’t have the selected piece of art yet, we make something, we create something – like a big blown up black and white photo – so there is a place marker for what is to come.”

Shari loves the mix – of period, medium and subject matter. Take for example the wonderful juxtaposition of this artist’s Rorschach-esque image made of individually placed Swarovski crystals, against the handcrafted Boho appeal of the gourd shaped metal box. Shari is most definitely not a bling-y girl but just loved the way the light refracted off of the art.

And Shari shares my (obsessive) love of books – the room was filled with an incredible selection of both contemporary and vintage volumes on a wide variety of appealing subjects, which lent the space an additional level of intellectual engagement. It made for an instant bond between designer and myself – we could have chatted all day!!

The space is feminine but not fussy – who wouldn’t love to have a dressing table like this custom one Shari had made for the space. With beautiful tailored dressmaker details, it opens in the middle to reveal a dresser with wonderful storage. And the exquisite accoutrements lend an evocative air of leisure and time for oneself that we all long for. I think Shari is a designer to put on your radar – she clearly knows what women want!

photos of this room by John Gould Bessler

Catherine Cleare Interiors designed my other favorite bedroom.

I loved the graphic custom bed design with beautiful Casa Del Bianco bedding. The classically elegant blue and white scheme was soothing and given a modern punch by the fun lucite pieces from the Spectrum Collection.

The lower level featured a fabulous flower room expertly outfitted by the girls at Diane James. Elegant yet light hearted, you couldn’t help but be happy in this space. I wanted every arrangement and couldn’t help but fantasize about how much prettier my rooms would be with their work adorning my home!

Their flowers are so realistic that perhaps I wouldn’t feel like I had such a brown thumb!

Also downstairs was a wonderful boutique outfitted by DeLuxe, the NYC upper east side emporium of vintage couture jewelry and objets d’art. I had to look around with blinders on there were so many fabulous offerings!

I just love bar carts and this one most definitely caught my eye. What a fabulous addition that would be to any den or library!

If you happen to be in the area, I suggest you stop by this showhouse. There is much more to see than I was able to show today. Perfect for a spring drive in the country!






30 thoughts on “Nirvana in Westchester

  1. Wow! Gorgeous showhouse! I love those black walls in Carey’s room and the Bergamo sheers are fabulous. It has such a youthful feel. Love Shari’s bedroom….the canopy bed, the dressing table, art, lamps, etc., etc. I would love to have a retreat like that! Looks like you had a fun weekend!

  2. Shari is doing my bedroom, lucky girl that I am! The apartment in New York City that is now home after our move from our large and wonderful glass house in Pound Ridge required serious curatorial support from Shari so that I could retain the objects that mean so much to me and pass on those that I could live without. The bedroom is built around books. I can’t live without those. The space is odd but Shari is making it feminine without being fussy, making order from an original too much-ness and the process has been a pleasure as well. How often can a client make that statement?


  3. What a stunning place and those purple armchairs give the most amazing vibe to the room. Hugs and kisses

    P.S: I’m hosting an amazing Fischer’s dress Giveaway Reloaded later today! Don’t miss it!

  4. Thanks for posting this! I miss visiting Designer Showcases…used to do that often with my Mom when I still lived in CT. We’ll have to visit this one. So many lovely things. My favorite is the bar cart!

  5. Usually when one goes through a designer showhouse, there’s one or two rooms that seem out of place from all the others. I enjoyed the tour – the Westchester house seems to function as a whole.

  6. Love this designer showhouse. I always enjoy an event like this. So many inspiring ideas that you walk away with. My favorite is the flower room. It would be amazing to have a space like this just for arranging flowers!

  7. I have been reading about the house, but this is the best post I have seen in terms of making it more interesting (and less marketing-driven), especially the photos you shared. I love the “Rorschach-esque image” from the crystals, and the Catherine Cleare bedroom, very, very nice.

    Have a splendid week!

  8. Thank you so much for sharing the MH Studio master bedroom with your design-savy blog readers! The house is open until June 12th so I hope lots of you have a chance to stop by.

  9. Will it shock you to learn that I have fixated on the silver leaf console? You wouldn’t happen to know any details would you???

    Thanks for sharing this fab showhouse with us!

  10. Wow! It all looks beautiful, but the Shari Markbreiter room was my absolute favorite. Sensational! I want that bedroom. Thank you to Quintessence for the 411. Why haven’t I seen her work in the pages of the shelter mags? I put her on my radar screen just as you suggested.

  11. What a fabulous space! I especially love the master bedro by MH Studio. Thanks for inspiring me to look at their website, Shari does some truly amazing work!

  12. I love MH Studio’s master bedroom…the colors are so light and soothing but yet there is also a sense of playfulness with color …the blue chairs, the bright green lamp and pink chair…all unique and present a chic sophistication.

  13. There is a lot packed in this post! There is so much I want to say, but I am speechless :) In a good way. The most beautiful thing is that this gorgeous home gives back to help make lives more livable :) XX, Kelly

  14. Well, I am a new fan of your blog. Very enjoyable and the show house is spectacular. I have to agree, MH Studio is my show favorite with it’s easy feeling sophistication. Truly masterful. I will continue to keep an eye on your blog. Thanks for the variety and fun read.

  15. Loved Shari Markbreiter’s bedroom by her MH Studio. I will start to track her progress in the interior design world.


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