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At Holiday House NYC designer showcase, texture and brass rule

With the exception of last year, when it moved downtown to SoHo, Holiday House NYC has for the past decade been hosted in the same 1920 town house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. 

But each year, more than 20 interior designers transform the mansion, turning it into something entirely new and putting decor trends and bold statements on display during the annual decorator show house. 

“It’s incredible to see the same rooms at Holiday House NYC be transformed each year by different talented designers into such different spaces,” says Woodmere native Iris Dankner, who created the event as a fundraiser for breast cancer research.

While each room is like a different world, themed around real and made-up holidays, some common trends — including starbursts in lighting and patterns, 3-D texture and plenty of brass — tie them all together. 

Designer Lucinda Loya: High contrast

A black and white bedroom, designed by Lucinda
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Lucinda Loya, a designer based in Houston, Texas, created one of the most striking rooms at Holiday House NYC, decorating in swathes of black and white for her Opposite Day-themed bedroom. 


The exterior of the 2017 Holiday House at
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

WHAT The 10th annual Holiday House NYC designer show house to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation
WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. six days a week, Thursdays until 8 p.m., through Dec. 6 (closed Thanksgiving and Nov. 24), at The Academy Mansion, 2 E. 63rd St., Manhattan
INFO $40; 212-472-3313,

Details of the table in a dining room
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

For her Miracle on 63rd Street dining room, Huntington Bay-based designer Kim Radovich brought in plenty of gold and sparkle, including in the snowflake-shaped place mats and glowing elevated centerpieces.

Sarah Magness: Royale New Year's Eve

A detail at the bar in a study,
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Manhattan designer Sarah Magness of Manhattan’s Magness Interiors had plenty of brass in her masculine study, which imagines a James Bond “Casino Royale”-themed night for New Year’s Eve. The stars of the show are the custom furniture from Italy’s Promemoria, which created, among other pieces, a wooden coffee table with a brass base and a massive bar that folds into a cabinet with brash mesh covering the doors. Magness also commissioned a custom carpet by Sacco, woven with mohair and gold thread.

While not everyone can swing these bespoke pieces, Magness notes that it’s important, and easy, to have groupings of furniture. “It’s more about spatial layout, and anyone can do that,” Magness says. “For a party, take out three pieces of furniture and group it together.”

Robin Baron: Spring fling

A sitting room designed by Robin Baron at
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Woodbury native Robin Baron filled her bedroom with pinks and purples, and included some pops of orange, taking inspiration from the spring equinox. Custom wallpaper in the lounge off the main room is made from a photograph of a flower, enlarged and hung to fit the room’s dimensions. Most of the furniture, including a credenza in Baroness Orange, is from the Manhattan designer’s own collection.

Björn Björnsson: Happy Holiday Lounge

A lounge designed by Bjorn Bjornsson at at
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Manhattan’s Björn Björnsson created a sleek look for his Happy Holiday Lounge on the massive top floor. He incorporated some trends, including textured wallpaper from French company Elitis, and he put a mirrored frame around the flat-screen TVs to make them look like art. He also mixed the shiny chrome of the Blatt Billiards pool table with brass light fixtures, a design contrast he admits is generally done well only in the hands of professionals. 

Alyssa Kapito: Bank holiday

A living room, designed by Alyssa Kapito at
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Alyssa Kapito focused on soothing neutrals — think beiges and creams — for her bank holiday-themed living room. The Manhattan designer imagined a couple living in a chic Parisian pied-à-terre, with the room being an “elegant escape from the city” on the common European day off.

Natalie Kraiem: Global-trotting holiday

A sitting room/ artist's studio, designed by Natalie
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Brooklyn’s Natalie Kraiem designed her sitting room/art studio around a fictional artist who loves traveling and collecting furniture and art while on her trips. Most pieces are vintage, including a Sandro Petti 1970s chrome and brass lacquered credenza. The room is topped off with an on-trend starburst light fixture.

Jaime Walters: Second childhood

A children's bedroom, designed by Jaime Walters, at
Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

Brooklyn-based designer Jaime Walters themed her children’s bedroom — the first children’s room for Holiday House — around the concept of Throwback Thursday, creating a “throwback to childhood” with a sophisticated, modern twist. Pieces include a chicken desk and new lunar table from Kinder Modern, and fun pillows, including one shaped like a Champagne bottle, from Ouef, both New York City-based companies.

Holiday House: The book

Cover of “Holiday House: Ten Years of Decorating
Photo Credit: Pointed Leaf Press

For those who have never been to Holiday House, it’s possible to experience the decade-long history of the interior design fundraiser via “Holiday House: Ten Years of Decorating for a Cure” (Pointed Leaf Press, $75).

The hardcover coffee table book includes text by designer Patrick J. Hamilton, an introduction by Iris Dankner, and a foreword by designer Christopher Hyland, who says Holiday House reminds him of his New England roots with its sense of community.

“Holiday House is like a barn-raising, the coming together of neighbors to build,” Hyland writes. 

The book is mainly a collection of full-page photos of Holiday Houses past, including ones that were held in Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor. 


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