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It’s Officially Kips Bay Decorator Show House Season in Dallas

But Its True Purpose — Serving as a Nonprofit's Top Fundraiser — May Be Getting Lost in the Glamour

BY // 08.23.23

Fall signals the start of a busy social season in Dallas, but for design lovers, it marks the official start of Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas season — at least for the past four years. The 2023 dates are Thursday, November 2 through Wednesday, November 15, and the coming weeks will bring plenty of buzzy announcements, from the 2023 Show House location (a sprawling manse at 9446 Hathaway Street in Old Preston Hollow’s Sunnybrook Estates neighborhood) to the list of top interior designers transforming each individual room (to be shared in September).

But amid all the anticipation and the promise of jaw-dropping design, it seems the true reason behind the annual event, which serves as the top fundraiser for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club in the Bronx, and benefits local charities Dwell With Dignity and Crystal Charity Ball, is getting lost in the mix when it comes to Dallas, only the third Kips Bay Show House location (New York City and Palm Beach are the others).

A miscommunication is a generous way to describe what happened last year, when a Stop Work Order requested by the Inwood-Northwest Homeowners’ Association nearly derailed the event altogether. (The HOA believed the fundraiser should be categorized as a commercial event, which requires more permits from the City of Dallas.) Ultimately, a deal was struck and the Show House went on, though its typical 30-day run was truncated to four days. Designers and even attendees adjusted to accommodate the new Dallas schedule — the shorter schedule leaving thousands of dollars that could serve hundreds of children no longer available.

“Ultimately, this is for the charities,” participating designer Lance Scott told PaperCity ahead of the 2022 event. “All of the designers know what the point of this is, and want to support the design community. Everyone is still ready to put their best foot forward.”

However, despite Kips Bay working closely with the City of Dallas to ensure a smooth event, the belief that the Kips Bay Decorator Show House is a for-profit affair has reared its head once again following the selection of the 2023 location. In an abundance of caution, the Kips Bay team reached out to 10 of the property’s surrounding neighbors in Old Preston Hollow to sign off on the event. All agreed to move forward with the event but one, who echoed last year’s claims that the Show House is a commercial event.

To be fair, the Show House certainly has all the trappings of a for-profit affair, including tickets starting at $50 and a tourism element. Kips Bay also has significant influence in the design world.

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“You have the opportunity to create rock stars with Kips Bay,” renowned kitchen designer Christopher Peacock shared with PaperCity last year. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for designers. It changed my career completely.”

Another element contributing to the disconnect may be that the nonprofit served by all the Show Houses, Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, is based in New York City. Dallas Fort Worth charity beneficiaries include Dwell With Dignity and Crystal Charity Ball.

But it’s a fundraiser at its core, raising more than $29 million for charity since the first Decorator Show House was hosted in 1973.

“It’s so much more than just a Show House — it’s what allows us to turn on the lights,” Handal adds.

The front gate entry at the soon-to-be transformed 2023 Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas.

Kips Bay’s Careful Planning in Dallas  

It’s easy for non-Preston Hollow dwellers to feel frustration with Show House dissenters. But for all the good it does for charities, designer resumes, and Dallas’ profile, the esteemed event still undoubtedly disrupts an otherwise quiet, prestigious neighborhood.

“We understand that it creates a lot of attention and traffic, so we want to be as respectful as we can,” Handal says. “We have followed every single protocol and guideline the City of Dallas has given us.”

After the complications of last year, the Kips Bay team immediately began working with the City for the 2023 Show House. As a result, strict parking and traffic rules will be enforced throughout the event’s 14-day duration.

This year, all guests are required to park in the Lovers Lane United Methodist Church (accessed by Northwest Highway and Meadowbrook Drive), where shuttles will run every 10 minutes to and from the Show House. Off-duty Dallas Police Department officers will be onsite to help limit event traffic, and towing is being strictly enforced around the neighborhood. Uber, Alto, Lyft and other rideshares will drop off at the shuttles.

All that careful planning with the City of Dallas leaves little threat of another Stop Work Order, but the misinformation about the Dallas show house is a concern for the Kips Bay team.

“Any nonprofit that has an event of this magnitude, whether it’s a gala or a show house, has to somehow make the connection between the charity and the glamour of its fundraiser,” Handal says. “We really need to get the message out there that this is a charitable event.”

482 Alessandra Branca 20220919-004
2022 Kips Bay Dallas room by Alessandra Branca (photo by Jay Simon)

The Kips Bay Decorator Show House Dallas co-chairs are Jean Liu and Chad Dorsey; Laura Lee Clark and Trish Sheats serve as vice chairs. Jamie Drake, Jan Showers and Veranda Editor in Chief Steele Marcoux are honorary chairs.

For ticket information go to kipsbaydecoratorshowhouse.org/dallasplanyourvisit.


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