Bunny Williams: 2016 Kip’s Bay Decorator Show House
This year, there is an exciting list of interior designers that have been selected to work on the Kips Bay Show House. Designers include:
Alex Papachristidis Interiors, Benjamin Vandiver Interiors + Lifestyle, LLC, Clive Christian Interiors, Daniel Richards Design, David Collins Studio, David Kleinberg Design Associates, Drake/Anderson, Eve Robinson Associates, Garrow Kedigian Interior Design, Gil Walsh Interiors, Groves & Co., Harry Heissmann Inc., Hollander Design|Landscape Architects, Kati Curtis Design, Les Ensembliers, Olasky & Sinsteden, Phillip Thomas Inc., Sawyer | Berson, Suzanne Kasler Interiors, Timothy Whealon Interiors, and Victoria Hagan Interiors.
“Doing a Kip’s Bay room is a lot of fun because you don’t have a client and you don’t have to worry about a budget, you can do anything you can think of, I always learn from Kip’s Bay, I always see something I haven’t seen before,” says Bunny Williams, Chairman of the Kip’s Bay Show House for the past five years. Today we will be talking to Bunny about the prestigious show house that raises funds for the Kip’s Bay Boys and Girls Club, specifically benefitting kids from the South Bronx area of New York.
Bunny got her start working in an antique shop at just 20 years old, doing anything she could find to be around all things interior design. Bunny started as a secretary for the established design firm of Parish Hadley, after paying her dues she moved up in the firm, although she states, “You have be willing to carry shopping bags and make beds to get your foot in the door.” Bunny has had her own design business since 1984, has a successful furniture line and has had extensive licensing opportunities with several major home décor and furnishing brands.
“As a young designer I was just in awe, I can remember some of the great rooms I’ve seen over the years.” Kip’s Bay is celebrating the 44th annual show house this year; listen in to hear Bunny discuss the history behind the show house and how it has changed over the years. We are excited to be talking to Bunny today as she has direct experience with the show house, as she has designed rooms in the show house on a few occasions.
Nick and Bunny talk about the process involved in procuring a space for the annual show house and about this year’s new townhouse that was selected. Bunny talks about the benefits of the clean palette of a brand new space for the designer to work with, and why this year’s show house will be so interesting. The show house has approximately 25,000 visitors each year, “Everyone gets promotion from the show house, for young designers, it’s often how they get their start,” says Bunny.
Nick asks how designers are selected for the space, and Bunny talks about the balance they try to achieve between established firms and up and coming talent in the interior design field. Bunny talks about the timeframe the lucky designers have to create their space, “The designer has a very short window of opportunity, you have 20 designers all moving furniture in right now, this year they had 5 weeks to do their room start to finish.” Of the design process, Bunny states, “they don’t submit what they are going to do ahead of time, there’s no theme, sometimes there is a flow to the house and sometimes there isn’t and that’s ok, that’s what makes it exciting!”
Nick and Bunny talk about the tremendous amount of funds the event raises and also a design shop that is associated with the Kip’s Bay show house, where any designer can donate items, consumers can get a great deal, and all for a good cause.
To learn more about this year’s show house be sure to listen in for upcoming podcast’s from the show house directly and visit the website at kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org. If you can, we urge you to go see the most well known and prestigious show home in the country. The house is open from May 12 to June 9th.
Mitchell Hill: Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill
We continue our interview with the talented designers of Mitchell Hill in the second half of today’s podcast, with an interview conducted at the 2016 Spring High Point Market, if you didn’t catch the first half, you can find it in the High Point Market Episode 5, to learn about the background ‘s of Michael and Tyler. Today we will learn more about their retail showroom and some more background into their interior design business, Mitchell Hill, a design firm and showroom.
The pair have backgrounds that include work in the retail space, Nick asks, “what did you learn in retail?” Tyler responds, “You learn customer service, you learn how to follow up with people. You have to make your customer feel important.” Nick and the pair talk about the importance of the sales component within the interior design field, “if you can’t close the sale, implement it and get it into the client’s home, and make them happy, then you will fail.”
The pair talks about the status of their business, which currently has seven employees and a few interns. The team focuses mainly on residential design but has branched out into hospitality, restaurants, and other commercial design in the past. The pair is very excited about the growth they have seen in the retail showrooms that they have curated over the past 6 years or so. Listen in to hear about the pair’s influence in the New York design market and the retail storefront in the destination-city of Charleston, South Carolina. The pair talks about how the showroom component of their business got started and how it has fed their interior design business. As if the successful design firm and retail showroom, the pair has recently branched out into creating their own lines, “We moved into a home and were looking for this perfect sconce, but couldn’t find it, so I started designing my own sconce and it grew from there.” Tune in to hear what other items you can find in their collection.
“When we opened our store, we decided we are only working with nice people if you can play that way you can play with us.” One to three times a month they will have an event in store, and Nick talks about the opportunities that exist with event marketing.” Mitchell Hill recently hired a PR firm so Nick and the team talk about the power of networking, Nick states, “that’s how we met, and it’s helped both our businesses.
We would like to give a shout-out to a few of our favorite sponsors of The Chaise Lounge, VA Staffer, Design Manager and Benjamin Moore paints. Listen in to find out what these fantastic sponsors can do for you and your design business, and specifically, if you’ve had a great experience with a design representative from Benjamin Moore, send Nick an email that he will read on air, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to hear more episodes, please visit us on iTunes or on our website at TheChaiseLoungePodcast.com. Lastly, find The Chaise Lounge on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or post a review on iTunes, you may even hear your review read live on our next podcast. With that said keep dreaming big, and keep designing a great design business. See ya!
My second interview for the day is with Michael Mitchell and Tyler Hill based out of Charleston, South Carolina, who own Mitchell Hill, a design firm and showroom. I interviewed this duo while at High Point Market. But we abbreviated the interview to just give some highlights. This time, you get to hear the full story. How did they start their business, and how do they run out of two locations: Charleston, SC, and New York, NY…and why.