This morning I traveled up to 71st and Park Avenue, where just in from the corner sits the 2010 Kips Bay Decorator Show House.  If you have never been to one of these, I recommend it highly.  Lots of looks to take in, yet an amount that is manageable and fun.  I was happy to re-visit one of the scene stealers of the show today.  Situated way up on the third floor of this 6 floor town home is a small hallway leading to a couple of bedrooms. The walls are a clean white, adorned with over sized relief sculptured of highly detailed flowers.  Their creator, Nina Helms, was kind enough to take a few minutes and chat with me about her inspiration, process and craft.

Sculpt du Fleuer grace this hallway of this Upper East Side Design Show House Artwork © Nina Helms 2010

After a trip to France, and touring through the beautiful Chateaus, she was very inspired by the traditional plaster relief decorative elements like the one pictured below.

This is a very traditional plaster relief sculpture from the Chenonceaux Chateau, Loire Valley, France.

Upon returning to NY she kept thinking about these beautiful relief sculptures and how to bring them into today’s design style.  By working with a favorite motif such as flowers, and playing with scale and making them large and more graphic, these classics become modern statements, graceful, powerful, lovely.

A larger then life bud gracefully "falls" from the ceiling. Artwork © Nina Helms 2010

A dahlia explodes from the white wall, large scale, graphic and elegant. Artwork © Nina Helms 2010

Nina told me about all of the applications one could use for this technique, not just flowers, but she could pretty much create anything using this technique, from a flutter of butterflies, to a line of relief rabbits hopping above a chair rail.

Each piece is custom made, in her NY studio.  Nina does not use plaster, which commonly chips and breaks.  Instead, she created a top secret blend of materials that is virtually unbreakable.  (like the Colonal Sanders of wall sculpts)  she would not divulge the ingredients. The pieces take about a 1/2 day to 1 day to install, and pricing starts at around $2,000.

White flowers float on a curved slate colored wall, striking and chic. Artwork © Nina Helms 2010

I could see these wall reliefs looking incredible above a crib or on a feature wall,  a fresh and stylish statement.  Nina also is working with translucent materials, making the flowers luminescent and colorful.  After seeing both, I prefer the opaque, to me they look more expensive then their counterparts below.

This folding screen features over sized blooms created from a translucent material letting the light softly flow through. Artwork © Nina Helms 2010

The ornate lilac is lacey and in person, grand in scale. Artwork © Nina Helms 2010

The Kips Bay Decorator Show House is open through Thursday Nov 11.  View Nina Helms work in person along with so many inspiring looks.

Read more about Nina Helms by clicking here to go to her site.

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About Sam Simon

Sam Simon is a beloved NYC artist and designer - creating beautiful murals and paintings on canvas. Sam launched a boutique line of limited edition artworks in 2007, and a line of lighting in 2009. Check out www.samsimonprojects.com or follow sam on twitter @ http://twitter.com/1samsimon
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