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Holiday House NYC opens in Manhattan

Manhattan interior designer James Rixner played up the

Manhattan interior designer James Rixner played up the plaid with his St. Andrew's Day living room. Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Upon entering the Manhattan town house for this year’s Holiday House NYC, it wouldn’t be surprising to feel the need to curl up on the couch with a tumbler of single-malt scotch.

Taking a creative approach to his theme for the annual breast cancer research fundraiser, which has each decorator choose a holiday or celebration, Manhattan interior designer James Rixner went with St. Andrew’s Day, the Nov. 30 feast day that celebrates the patron saint of Scotland.

Rixner’s living room, sponsored by a consortium of Scottish brands, is filled with Scottish Cashmere, Harris tweed and, of course, a tartan. The blue, black and red plaid of the curtains are made less formal by sleek modern furniture from Aerin Lauder and Theodore Alexander, along with bold metal accent pieces from Michael Aram.

“The whole concept is based upon this tartan,” Rixner says. “I’m not showing them in that traditional Ralph Lauren library kind of way. I want to show them in a cool, Manhattan kind of way.”

The 20 other designers brought in for the show house, the brainchild of Woodmere native Iris Danker and a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, also let their creativity run wild — in one case, quite literally.


Designer Björn Björnsson took on the challenge of turning a dark wood-paneled dining room into a whitewashed celebration of winter. He used plenty of white, but also other cool colors, such as blue and silver. “I’ve had a lot of clients ask me about lightening their family rooms up,” Björnsson says.


Drew McGukin, another Manhattan designer, went in the other direction with his summer solstice-themed room. He covered the walls, and the ceilings in the nearby hallway, with paperbacked fabric in teal, aqua and beige, a modern take on upholstered walls. McGukin used the same fabric for curtains, creating a 3-D effect. “Wallpaper has been such a big trend,” McGukin says. “People are thinking of taking it to the next level.”


Lisa Frantz — who with Lydia Marks forms Marks & Frantz, which is based in the city but works all over Long Island — created a luxurious game room with a high-end shuffleboard table. “A lot of our clients are asking us to turn their formal living rooms into family game rooms,” Frantz says. “It’s the idea of unplugging and hanging by the fire.”


A narrow hallway didn’t give Rockland County designer Stacy Garcia much room to work with, but she made the most of the space, from top to bottom. She installed herringbone oak floors in five different colors and hung white-on-gray flocked wallpaper on the curved ceiling. “When you’re in a house of any size, the small spaces are often overlooked,” says Garcia, who does some work on Long Island. “You can create a jewel box of a space.”


Manhattan designer Vicente Wolf chose to interpret glamping — glamorous camping — in the fourth-floor room, which he turned into the ultimate master bedroom. Digitally printed forest murals were hung on the 14-foot-high walls, trees and branches were placed around the room and a geodesic tent was set up above the bed, covered with a fur throw. Wolf planned to put the image of a crackling fire on the flat-screen TV.

WHAT The eighth annual designer show house to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

WHEN | WHERE 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day through Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 25, closed Thanksgiving, at The Academy Mansion, 2 E. 63rd St., Manhattan

INFO $35; 212-472-3313,

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