Habitually Chic®'s Logo  

Benjamin Vandiver: The Virtue of Curiosity Room at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2024

by habituallychic

05 . 01 . 24

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of touring the Kips Bay Decorator Show House for 2024 and can’t believe I’ve been covering this annual event for 17 years. This year’s house at 125 East 65th Street in New York opens on May 2nd and runs until May 28, 2024. The 12,000 square-foot Georgian designed townhouse by architect Charles A. Plat in 1904 has been used for a previous show house so it might be familiar to you but this year’s 24 designers have put their own very chic spin on it.

My coverage this year begins with a room on the fourth floor by interior designer Benjamin Vandiver entitled The Virtue of Curiosity. It was so warm and inviting that I could have stayed there all day. I love a room that looks collected rather than decorated which is exactly how it was conceived.

“Benjamin Vandiver has created interiors representing a vast range of aesthetics and tastes, all executed with a recognizable eye for enduring style, warmth, and livability. Always aiming to deeply understand the individuals who will live in the spaces he creates; his humanistic and artistic approach has garnered Vandiver a reputation with his clients as a refined aesthete with the keen eye of a collector. His innate (and deeply personal) talent of collecting is driven by his curiosity of decorative arts, which are always punctuated by the beauty and individuality of objects – and more importantly how these things we love can live together. These unique and rarified elements have created a room that is defined by curiosity – his curiosity of ideas, ideals, people, gardens, homes, art, and historical references, all tucked away in his photographic memory. While Vandiver approaches each of his projects through the personalities and tastes of his clients, this installation is his most personal expression – to become his own client.”

This photo of the room as he received it shows you just how much work went into the space.

“Taking cues from some of his favorite people and spaces like Hubert de Givenchy’s Manoir du Jonchet, the library at Bunny Mellon’s Oak Spring Farm & Cy Twombly’s Roman palazzo – Benjamin nods to the common denominator of them all – warmth, collecting, and ease. The bedroom he’s created evokes the nostalgia of an attic bedroom tucked away at a countryside French chateau; it is a space that explores the love affair of things. This certitude creates a backdrop for Vandiver’s extensive personal collection of object and contemporary art, including works by: Alex Cutler, Pacifico Silano, Ross Bleckner, Louise Bonnet, Carroll Dunham, Jacques Blin, Sean Scully, George Braque, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Pettibone, John Baldessari, Marin Majić, and Roger Herman.” 

Benjamin Vandiver has wonderful taste and style and even arranged the flowers for his room himself.

“Despite the fact that this is a bedroom (albeit with a twin-size bed you would find in a Parisian pied-à-terre), Vandiver believes every space in a home can be a place of self-expression and comfort that a bon vivant wants in a sanctuary. The “Virtue of Curiosity” stands as a testament to Vandiver’s warmth and artistry and embodies the endless wonders of collecting.”

I’m a little embarrassed that Benjamin Vandiver hasn’t been on my radar before now, especially since he was named One to Watch by Architectural Digest for 2015 and worked for high profile clients like actress Hayden Panettiere and Kings of Leon’s Nathan Followill. He’s also recently had a project published in Elle Decor and the Wall Street Journal.

Benjamin Vandiver in his Kips Bay Decorator Show House 2024 room.

Photo by Joshua McHugh courtesy of Benjamin Vandiver.

Benjamin Vandiver is the only designer who could make colored bathroom fixtures look so chic!

All photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic except where otherwise noted.