See How Innovative Interior Designer Garrow Kedgian Uses Chalk in Designs

RE 3Build
Garrow Kedigan’s Napoleonic-themed lounge features walls designed with chalk. All photos by: Phillip Ennis

Chalk this up to bold new thinking.

Who needs marble, silk, custom wallpaper, or Venetian plaster when you can have…..chalk…to decorate your walls?

That’s the innovative surprise in Garrow Kedgian’s lavish room decor for the Kips Bay Showhouse, where the designer used a chalked backdrop to highlight his Napoleonic-themed lounge. The reason for the chalk is not some recent discovery that the French conquerer had a fondness for the elementary school staple, but rather to allude to the temporary nature of his settings. (The man was always on the move, looking to conquer one new country or another.)


Chalk, as we all know, is easy to erase.  “It’s transient material that can be quickly applied and dismantled,” says Kedigan. Think of it as the ultimate design treatment for a man or woman on the go, or who likes to change addresses quickly! One of Garrow’s closest friends, the chalk artist, Rajiv Surendra, better known as the rappin’ mathelete from the cult classic film Mean Girls, created the chalked walls in the lounge. “The idea was to reference architectural heritage in a contemporary medium,” says Kedigan of the design. (The walls were primed with Rust-Oleum chalk paint.)


But impermanence was only one theme Napoleon inspired for the room’s design. The ruler was an uber antiques collector–as he marched through Europe annexing territories, he also took the time to amass a vast store of decorative objects and art works. It wasn’t just for his own use—although there was plenty of that going on–Napoleon hoped to develop a new aesthetic and style appropriate for a post-revolutionary nation (out went the Louix XV and Louis XVI fauteils). As an emperor you get to pick and choose from the best of the best, and Napoleon sure loved the finer things in life, especially furniture and art with classical references.  “Our lounge features these kinds of items, but they are also transitional, can be easily transported, and work well in contemporary and modern space,” says Kedigan.

But back to the chalk:  Since Kips Bay Showhouse benefits children and young adults, “What better medium is there than chalk  to communicate design inspiration to young minds?” says Kedigan. 

For more information: The Kips Bay Showhouse runs until June 9th.