Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Michael Cox | Kingston Design Showhouse 2019 | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram
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Kingston Design Connection Showhouse: Michael Cox 

When Yves Saint Laurent needed a retreat from the frenzy of the fashion world, he often fled to Morocco. Specifically, Villa Oasis, his exquisite home away from home in Marrakech, filled with elaborate art and furnishings and framed by garlands of bougainvillea. He visited the country in 1966 and fell in love with it — and along with his business partner Pierre Bergé, he made a plot that was set to be demolished into his personal paradise.


In 2019, interior designer Michael Cox made his own excursion to Villa Oasis and saw its beauty for himself. “Morocco had been on my bucket list for a long time, and I saved it for a special occasion, [turning] 50 [last] April,” he tells Chronogram. “It really is this magical oasis of really sophisticated, charming, elevated Moroccan design.”

And when the 2019 Kingston Design Connection Showhouse rolled around, his recent trip to Marrakech was fresh on his mind. “Well, that’s an easy one,” he says about the visual direction he decided to take. “Being in the house and the garden was just amazing. [So I came] up with something that was a very recent source of inspiration.”


First, Cox took stock of the parlor’s proportions — although the space is small, the high ceilings and ample windows give it a sense of majesty. “The fabulous proportions of the room [inspired me],” he says. “Soaring ceilings and classic plaster moldings for grandeur, balanced by a charming, humble scale for intimacy and human connection.”


His design firm, Foley & Cox, is more known for subtle, understated rooms than sprawling abodes. But inspired by his visit to Villa Oasis, he decided to bring its rich, potent and regal look to the Kingston Showhouse. “More is more,” he says, regarding the color scheme. “Really deep, saturated colors and layers on layers of pattern. You’ll find deep blues and deep reds and deep oranges.”


To achieve his “eclectic mix of ancient and modern Marrakesh,” as Cox calls it, he went through three main vendors: Anglo Raj Antiques and Mason Gerard in Manhattan, and Newel Warehouse in Long Island City, Queens. He promises that the period pieces will be “mixed with surprise and exuberance” and “infused with a sense of humor, drama, and the unexpected.”


Cox is most excited to show a custom-created mirror from Miriam Ellner in the verre eglomise style, in which a design and gilding are applied simultaneously to the finish. And, he says, the hand-crafted fireplace surround by Christopher Brody is bound to be the focal point of the parlor. (“It will take visitors’ breath away!” Cox adds.)


His dynamo style wasn’t just a product of his Morrocan experience, but years of hard work. 27 years ago, Cox climbed his way up the ladder at Ralph Lauren Home, evolving from the Design Director of Furniture to Director of Ralph Lauren Interiors, a then-new imprint. “[It’s] affectionately referred to as my masters from Polo University,” he says.


In 2002, he and interior designer Mary Foley started Foley and Cox, with the stated goal of “[creating] bespoke interiors from the widest palette of possibilities.” And when it came to the 2019 Showhouse, that meant bringing the unearthly beauty of Marrakech—so beloved by Yves Saint Laurent—all the way to Kingston.

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