Derby Deconstructed at Holiday House

Designer Patrick Hamilton’s never been to the Kentucky Derby, but he’s got a reasonably good feel for it.

His sitting room at Holiday House on 63rd Street in Manhattan – a 1919 Italian Renaissance masterpiece by architect Frederick Sterner – is a mint-green, rose-pink affair that delivers a bar for the obligatory mint julep.

“It comes with all the accoutrements,” he says. “There’s a mixing glass, a muddler, a strainer, and a bottle of Woodford Reserve.”

Then there’s the overhead light fixture, big, feathered and reminiscent of the hats that are de rigueur for the women at Derby. Surrounding it on the ceiling is a grass cloth, looking a little like the hay found in barns on the backside of the Track. A two-sided sofa faces the fireplace, with its bronze screen by artisan John Lyle, shaped like a circle of straw

“It feels Southern and a little spring-y, rather than like December in New York City,” Hamilton says.

The idea was to create a transformative experience – to honor the room that once was a bedroom in the four-story residence, but have it look as if a contemporary, feminine spirit now lives there.

Hamilton calls the entire installation Derby Deconstructed.

“Once I had the theme, it was easy,” he says. “Maybe because it’s the Chinese Year of the Horse, I don’t know – but it was crazy with possibilities.”

Just like the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, on the first Saturday of every May.

Photos by Jody Kivort; For more on history of the house, go here;  On the Holiday House, go here; And on Patrick Hamilton, go here.

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