The balls-to-the-wall initiative known as the showhouse serves many purposes. On the most basic level, it's a dedicated space for interior designers to (literally) show their work. When it's tied to media—say, Elle Decor—it shines a bigger spotlight on advertisers and corporate sponsors and brings additional recognition to the magazine brand. Often it gives the public license to ogle an expensive, professionally decorated space. And it may have a philanthropic angle, with proceeds from ticket sales benefiting a charity or nonprofit. In all cases, showhouses are painstaking, teeth- and hair-pulling projects with oft-stunning results. Take the one held at NYC luxury building The Aldyn in Sept. 2010. Organized by the CFDA (the Council of Fashion Designers of America), the showhouse featured apartements decorated by fashion bigwigs such as Diane von Furstenberg, Elie Tahari, Nicole Miller, Lambertson Truex, and more. While some of the units have sold, there are two four-bedroom units that still linger on the market, both at $4.5M.
Photos by Will Femia
? While officially called the "Ultimate Bachelor Pad," the production orchestrated every two years by Esquire magazine is, in effect, a showhouse. This year, said production took place in the quadruplex of a building in DUMBO, Brooklyn, a massive, impressive space with a 3,000-square-foot great room and four 12-foot-tall clock-face windows that give the unit its "Clocktower Penthouse" nickname. Folks like Shelley Starr and Campion Platt worked their magic on the space, which is currently asking $19M.
? The Kips Bay Decorator Show House is hands-down the most prestigious of the showhouse crowd; the affair takes place in a different NYC townhouse each year asks only the crème de la crème designers and decorators to participate. Luckily for those with a penchant for truly lavish and high-end decorating, the 21,000-square-foot limestone mansion that hosted the work of decorating powerhouses Bunny Williams and Charles Pavarini in 2009 is now on the market for $50M.
? Site of the 2005 Idea House—Hamptons Cottages & Gardens magazine's version of a showhouse—this Bridgehampton, N.Y., home was designed by architect Hugh Huddelson and subsequently decorated by the likes of Robert Stilin. The 10,000-square-foot spread is owned by former Cottages & Gardens publisher and avid art collector Richard Ekstract and is currently asking $7.999M.
Photos by Will Femia
? This past October, Hearst Publications asked three of its brands—House Beautiful, Veranda, and Town & Country—to pair with Jed Johnson Associates, Thomas O'Brien, and Carrier and Company, respectively, to finish three units in the newly renovated NYC building 1212 Fifth Avenue. While the apartments in the Designer Visions series are no longer decorated, they're all on the market for $1.64M to $3.69M.
? In conjunction with the Design Miami industry even in December, Elle Decor hosted a showhouse in Paramount Bay, a high-rise condo building that's being revamped by musician and decorator Lenny Kravitz. The showhouse finished by design talent such as Larry Laslo and Lars Bolander, and while the penthouse has been sold with all the finishes (for $4.5M), another penthouse remains. It's priced at $3.667M.
· Get an Early Look at DVF Home at the Aldyn's Showhouse [Racked NY]
· Inside Esquire's Very Bonkers Ultimate Bachelor Pad [Curbed National]
· 1 Main Street PH, Brooklyn, N.Y. [Streeteasy]
· 22 East 71st Street, NYC [Streeteasy]
· 113 Lockwood Ave., Bridgehampton, N.Y. [Streeteasy]
· 39 Sweet Details in This Year's Hearst Designer Visions Apartment [Curbed National]
· ELLE DECOR Miami Showhouse [Elle Decor]