Williams’ design mastery still resonates in iconic 1998 Kips Bay library | Archive

Bunny Williams Kips Bay show house 1998 library

Williams’ library design for the 1998 Kips Bay Showhouse “embodied that magical ‘tossed salad’ that has become a Bunny Williams hallmark,” said Stolman. Images: Billy Cunningham

In 1998, Bunny Williams – then just 10 years on her own after more than two decades at Parish-Hadley – designed a library for the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York that she said brought “the cosmopolitan English country house look into the 20th century.”

While the room was grand, it was also comfortable, she added. “I’m a lifelong collector, and I wanted to show people that they can live surrounded by beautiful objects, but it can still be functional,” she recently told Designers Today. “There’s a mixture of furniture, art and objects from different periods, which gives it a more relaxed feel.”

Bunny Williams Kips Bay Showhouse

Bunny Williams Image: Sari Goodfriend

The leaf-trimmed, nine-foot-tall iron etageres on either side of the sofa, for example, came from the former antiques shop she ran with her husband. “In a room like this, you can’t be afraid of scale.”

Williams’ library design “showcased her mastery of carefully considered curation,” said Steven Stolman, author of 40 Years of Fabulous – The Kips Bay Decorator Show House. “The room was neither overtly masculine nor feminine, and knew no particular period. Instead, it embodied that magical ‘tossed salad’ that has become a Bunny Williams hallmark.”

Twenty years later, in 2018, Williams completed another Kips Bay Decorator Show House room, this time with her business partner, Elizabeth Lawrence.

Bunny Williams Elizabeth Lawrence Kips Bay show house 2018

Thirty years after Williams’ launched her firm — and 20 years after the iconic library design — Williams designed this room for the 2018 Kips Bay Show House with her partner Elizabeth Lawrence. Images: Francesco Lagnese

Williams received Kips Bay’s Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

This first appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of Designers Today. 

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Andrea is passionate about home design, and has covered the home furnishings industry for most of her journalism career. She is the Executive Editor, Design, of Designers Today; in addition, she also serves as the Managing Editor of HFN and Lighting Editor for Home Accents Today. Andrea lives in beautiful Brooklyn, where she could very well be the only person without a tattoo.