No Small Feat
Invoking legacies of interior design legends, Randy Ridless creates a miniature pavilion to benefit a New York charity.
Julia Lewis -- Interior Design, 3/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
FOR THE PAST 11 YEARS, many of the Kips Bay Decorator Show House participants have applied their talents to Small Wonders, an auction of miniature vignettes that benefits New York's Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club. Following the success of his 2000 show house room, Randy Ridless created The Pavilion, an homage to legendary arbiters of taste, including Elsie De Wolfe and David Hicks.
For inspiration, Ridless and his associate Elizabeth Martell looked to numerous and diverse historical sources. A room flanked by gardens, the vignette derives its configuration from Queen Mary's dollhouse-a modest little plaything displayed at Windsor Castle-designed in 1924 by Sir Edwin Lutyens and "landscaped" by Gertrude Jekyll. Another major design inspiration, says Ridless, was Les Pavillons, Cyril Connolly and Jerome Zerbe's 1962 book about 18th-century French pavilions.
Describing the diminutive and highly detailed garden room as a "summer's day fantasy," Ridless explains that it is "packed with references to the things I love." According to the designer, the vignette's color palette, curved banquettes, stacked cushions, use of mirror, and topiary-filled terrace gardens comprise a collective nod to both Elsie de Wolfe's Villa Trianon and Edith Wharton's Pavillon Colombe. The room's "simple yet very decorated" look evokes the sensibility of David Hicks, whose graphic interiors of the 1960s and '70s have greatly influenced Ridless's work. Walls are adorned with a miniature version of the antique Chinese wallpaper in Pauline de Rothschild's famously chic Paris apartment, which, says Ridless, was also the source of the blue-and-white striped upholstery fabric.
"Each minute detail was thought through at the same level as our show house room," says Martell. Not surprisingly, reports Ridless, The Pavilion was ultimately purchased by a savvy client during the Small Wonders benefit sale at Phillips Auctioneers. "It stayed in the family, so to speak," he notes. Accordingly, the tiny pair of throw pillows, originally embellished with illegible, calligraphic monograms, was remonogrammed for the client who, Ridless is proud to say, now displays The Pavilion in her home.