NEW YORK — Darryl Carter established his own design firm in1998. Since then, the native Washingtonian has written two design books, created a paint line for Benjamin Moore and opened a store in Shaw that bears his name.
Last week, he added another major career milestone. Carter unveiled his first room at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, an annual tradition since 1973. He was one of 22 designers selected for the prestigious display that began its month-long run last Thursday at the historic 1884 Villard Mansion. His room is a sophisticated salon on the third floor with lots of antiques, artwork, textures and wonderful light streaming in on a metal daybed of his own design.
“As your career evolves, so do your venues,” Carter says. “The first time I did something like this was in the basement of the former Washington Design Center. Now I’m in a room that feels like it’s in Paris. To inherit the architecture rather than insinuate it is a big difference.”
Carter’s room is full of curiosities that look as if they were collected over time: ironwood trunk sculptures, primitive wood tables, a cowhide rug and a bronze Italian clock. The antique Aubusson rug is shown on the reverse to give the faded look he prefers. The color palette is Carter’s favored neutrals and the walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s DC-05 Somerset White, a color from his own collection.
“The room has a sort of lazy, rustic sense to it, while it is also very elegant,” Carter says. He was inspired by the room’s scale (the dimensions are 40 feet by 30 feet, with 12-foot-high ceilings) to create several seating areas. A tall vase of pale pink cherry blossoms is a subtle reference to Carter’s roots.
“Show houses are an opportunity to really see a designer at large without the confines of a mandate. You have the freedom to do whatever you like,” Carter says. “My job is to interpret the wishes and wants of others in the most tasteful way. But when you do a room on your own, you really get to make your own statement.”
The Kips Bay Decorator Show House at 457 Madison Ave. is open daily through May 29. Admission is $35. For more information, go to www. kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org or call 718 893-8600 Ext. 245.