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Holiday House NYC Interior Design Show

Inside the bi-annual charity event taking place at Academy Mansion

by David Graver
on 12 November 2015

Since 2008, Iris Dankner has been showcasing some of the best global designers (both established and emerging) at Holiday House NYC. The bi-annual event, which takes over the Upper East Side's Academy Mansion for portions of November and December, grants various designers the opportunity to realize their uninhibited visions in one of the 21 rooms within the space. The result is a wonderland of design sensibilities, and stepping from room to room is a transportive experience. To sweeten the deal, all proceeds from the event benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. We toured this year's set-up and found much to fall in love with and be inspired by.

Each room has been imagined after a specific holiday or holiday-like theme, and all of them provide distinct and notable experiences—from Björn Björnsson's ice-cold "Snow Day" room to James Rixner's "St Andrews Day." The latter, a celebration of all things Scottish, stands as one of the most refined rooms on display. With lush fabrics, dark woods and a refined warmth, it's a stage of inspiration for any home. According to Rixner, "One of the big sponsors of this house is the Scottish Luxury Brand Council, so I thought I would give them their due. They wanted a room that would be very amenable to having people sit and talk—not a museum, but something with warmth. We want people to experience the space."

"Game Night," a room designed by Marks & Frantz Design in collaboration with Milanese fabric house Dedar, draws inspiration from the luxury game room craze—and it appeals for two reasons. First, there are wonders for youngsters—from a bone inlay chess set to a custom wood marquetry shuffleboard table. And yet, adults have not been left behind in this meticulous, bold game room. There are two well-stocked bars, including an enviable cart.

Another standout, especially considering its size, is designer Jenny Dina Kirschner's classic ladies' lounge. Kirschner's selected "All Hallow's Eve" as the theme for her small ground-floor space and—in peppering it with furniture and textiles from Donghia, large-scale art (including a totem by Italian sculptor Ginestroni) and a mirror that she herself created—she achieves a warm darkness. It's not kitschy; it's exciting and with an edge. This is Kirschner's first year at Holiday House, and she tells CH, "I chose my favorite nostalgic childhood holiday and just had fun with it. I was working within the confines of this historic building, but I had my theme and went with it. I wanted this fun, funky and wild space." Kirschner designed the whole space in one week.

Holiday House NYC tickets are available online for $35. It runs seven days a week from 11AM to 5PM (but stays open till 8PM on Thursdays) from now through 2 December 2015. Academy Mansion is located at 2 East 63rd Street in Manhattan.

Jenny Dina Kirschner and James Rixner images courtesy of Marco Ricca, last image courtesy of Paris Forino, all other images courtesy of Alan Barry

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