The concept for the show house Holiday House is a celebration of life, as seen in this festive room by Robert Passal
Each year designers from across the country transform the historic Academy Mansion in Manhattan’s Upper East Side into the renowned show house, Holiday House. Interior designer and philanthropist Iris Danker founded the show house in 2008 to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer.
Holiday House is unique among show houses. It is always held in the same venue and designers must choose a holiday as the theme for their room’s decoration. The entire house is meant to symbolize a celebration of life.
The Academy Mansion has glorious and memorable architectural detail that includes beautiful moldings, ornate ceilings and dark wood paneling. Yet somehow each year the designers create rooms that bare no resemblance to previous show houses.
One of the quieter rooms in this years’ Holiday House is this beautiful, mostly white, sitting room by Bjorn Bjornsson, who obviously decided to let the stunning ceiling be the star
Holiday House’s unique format seems to encourage designers to really spread their wings creatively. It’s fascinating to see how the rooms are completely altered from year to year. This year the biggest décor news out of Holiday House was an absolute explosion of pattern in several of the rooms. Let’s take a look.
Jenny Kirschner of JDK Interiors designed the petite lounge and powder room. Dubbing her small space, “All Hallows Eve”, Jenny uses a dark palette. She packs in a wow with black and white textured wallpaper, a variety of textiles for pillows and statement art.
Jenny Kirschner packs a lot of style into her small lounge space, mixing in 3 different patterns for pillows on just the sofa
You need to look down for a signature feature: the custom colored, geometric Kyle Bunting cowhide rug.
The Kyle Bunting cow hide rug is custom colored in autumnal hues, in keeping with JDK Interiors’ “All Hallows Eve” theme, bringing in more color and pattern to the lounge
Antonio Buzzetta’s parlor also is centered around the art. He rings the room with paintings by accomplished street artist Bradley Theodore. Buzzetta calls his room “Mother’s Day,” and he incorporates a custom “kisses and hugs” neon sculpture in his mother’s honor. The wood floor tile is Buzzetta’s design and he includes an elaborate black and white painted ceiling. Window fabric, in yet another pattern, also is customized.
Antonio Buzzetta’s parlor in honor of his mother is a pink confection with black and white accents in a multitude of patterns
You might not have enough fingers to count all the different patterns that Lydia Marks and Lisa Frantz used to design a game room in honor of “Game Night”. They layer rugs crowning the floor with a vintage striped zebra. Fabrics, all in rich color and ornament, are all from the Milanese luxury house Dedar with some debuting here exclusively prior to their launch at Paris Deco Off this January. And check out those walls! Even the furniture has pattern.
Marks and Frantz Design’s game room is packed with ornamentation
In this ornate game room, the games themselves are richly decorated like this bespoke hand-painted peacock-themed backgammon set.
This beautiful backgammon set would bring anyone to the table to play
Drew McGukin chose the “Summer Solstice” as the theme for his room and expressed it with his color palette of sun, sand and sea tones. Like the other rooms featured, this relaxing lounge is filled with plenty of pattern yet remains soothing because of the neutral colors. All of the furniture and fabrics are by Robert Allen, including walls dressed in Robert Allen’s new line of paper-backed fabrics for wall covering.
Drew McGukin describes his space in Holiday House as a celebration of summer and the rising of a blue moon
Finally designer Stacy Garcia energizes a small corridor and nook by adorning all the surfaces from the ceiling to the floor. To express Arbor Day, she papered the walls and ceiling with floral wallpaper from her collection for York. The floors were stained in varying neutral hues and laid in a chevron design.
Stacy Garcia relished turning her tiny barrel-vaulted hallway into a destination with art and multiple patterns on the walls, ceiling and floor
So what do you think? Often show houses are designed to make a creative statement—not necessarily how one might decorate their own home for daily living. Clearly, however, the bold choices made by many of the participating designers at Holiday House suggests a desire to move home decoration well beyond the solid Belgium beige that has been in vogue these past several years.
Photo credits: Except for the image of the Kyle Bunting rug and the backgammon set, which are by Lynn Byrne, photographs by Alan Barry.