Matthew Monroe Bees for Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2019
It’s that time of year again. The Kips Bay Decorator Show House opens to the public tomorrow and I had a full walk through yesterday. Since I stared in coverage in 2007, I always like to start at the top and work my way down each year. There is always a younger designer given a room at the top of the townhouse and they never disappoint. This year, my Instagram friend Matthew Monroe Bees has not only has a room at the top of a narrow set of stairs but a room hidden behind all the others. (Don’t worry, the elevator should be available for daily visitors.) Make sure you don’t miss his space because it’s my absolute favorite.
Matthew grew up in Alabama but has just moved to Charleston full time after going back and forth to spend time with his ailing father. It’s this Southern upbringing that helps imbue his room with beautiful colors, traditional antiques, lovely layering, and of course, Southern hospitality.
I was supposed to meet Matthew in Charleston when I was there for my birthday but our scheduled didn’t mesh. I am glad I did get to see Drayton Hall during my trip since its the home that inspired his room he entitled, Grandeur Reconsidered. Drayton Hall is one of the only 18th-century plantations that survived the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, hurricanes, and even an earthquake. The main house remains in nearly original condition and was ever modernized with electric lighting, plumbing, or central heating, or air conditioning. It has been left in the condition it was found. “In order to preserve the seven generations of history within its walls, a radical decision was made to stabilize the house rather than restore it to a particular period, and to preserve it as it was acquired from the family in the 1970s.”
Drayton Hall is “unfurnished, allowing the beauty of the architectural details to become the focus for visitors” and Matthew has imaged in his room what the house would look like if it had been occupied by the family all these years. “I really thought about modern day Drayton and the things they might have in their homes. Many of Charleston’s sons went on Grand Tours. They sent back porcelain, art, sculptures, textiles and furnishings. It was important for me to include items such as these as a tribute to Charleston’s early tastemakers. Matthew even had the ceiling medallion from Drayton Hall reinterpreted by Charleston’s College of Building Arts for the ceiling of his room.
The room doesn’t need a backstory since its beauty stands on its own but it definitely makes it so much more special.
36-38 East 74th Street
New York, NY 10021
Monday – Saturday 11:00am – 5:00pm
Tuesday & Thursday 11:00am – 8:00pm
Sunday 12:00 – 5:00pm
I just ordered a copy of Charleston! Charleston!: The History of a Southern City that is just one of the Charleston themed books in Matthew’s room.
Matthew ordered his custom matchboxes from For Your Party which he said he found on my blog.
All photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic.