Fifteen amazing interior designers have transformed a townhouse on New York City’s Upper East Side into the 2019 Holiday House. This year, the site of the annual showhouse, founded by designer Iris Dankner, is a 12,000-square foot neo-Federal townhouse. The gracious home, designed by architect Charles A. Platt in 1904, features 18 spaces that were reimagined by the designers, who are mostly from the New York City area.
Located at 125 East 65th Street, the showhouse is more than just a celebration of beautiful design. Founded in 2008 by Dankner, who is a 20-year breast cancer survivor, the annual Holiday House raises funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF). The house is called “a celebration of life, beauty and optimism as an antidote to cancer” and the 2019 year’s iteration features a wide array of creative styles, colors and concepts.
Grafitti Living Room
In a very unusual design, Bennett Leifer Interiors melds eras by combining vintage portraits with wall design that is focused on graffiti by Tatscru. More than just random words, the graphics highlight messages written in honor of people who have been affected by breast cancer in some way. The contrast of the room’s buttoned-up style and the freeform of the graffiti creates a fascinating backdrop for a contemporary furniture grouping and the custom rug from Edward Fields Carpet maker.
Across from the seating area, an alcove with draperies by Pierre Frey and sofa by the Jonas Workroom create an inviting and very different space. The purple accent chair is unique and the hair-fringed stool is another textural element. The most striking part is the drapery with cherubs and rococo elements, which is such a contrast to the graffiti on the other side of the room. On either side of the sculptural chandelier from the Todd Merrill Studio are stunning chandeliers are bubble rock crystal chandeliers by the Phoenix Gallery, shown in detail below.
Dramatic Dining Room
Designed by Elsa Soyars Interiors, the dining room is more than just that — it is more of a combination salon and dining room. The centerpiece of the entire space is the lighting fixture by porcelain artist Andreea Braescu. The massive fixture spans the length of the table and is comprised of hundreds of individually crafted porcelain Ginko leaves, which are lighted to not only provide illumination but to play on light and shadow across the sculptural piece. The dining table itself is set with tableware from Vista Alegre and Christian Lacroix.
The fireplace area of the dining room is another artful space with the custom Big Chunk glass mosaic fireplace surround made by Allison Eden Studios. The touches of pink in the mosaic accent the artwork nearby and add some color to the large paneled fireplace wall.
Taking white tile to the next level, Heather Jozak Studios painted this bathroom with random and black swaths on various squares. The space is also accented by the pair of artworks by Robyn Blair that feature Smarties candies inside plexiglass shadowboxes in a very colorful and creative assemblage.
Marble Master Bathroom
The master bathroom features spectacular marble on all the walls and as the tub surround. Dark and dramatic, the space has plenty of room for changing and includes a hand and stylish seat. A soaking tub is a highlight of the room with its luxurious depth and ample surround for accessories. A couple of pink accents around the tub are included to tie in a display wall of pink Barbies on the other side of the room. Mariem Horchani of MHM Interiors LLC was reportedly inspired by Canada’s Day of Pink for this bathroom, intended to display the power of pink
When a house gives you a dark space, sometimes the best thing is to take that feature and run with it. That looks exactly like what Vanessa DeLeon Associates did with this master lounge and its moody atmosphere. Surrounded by black walls, the “The Right Wing Lounge,” is a combination game room and lounge, featuring an equally dark and dramatic Blatt Billiards table. The entire space was inspired by the saying that is rendered in neon on the wall: “Better to be a free bird than a captive king.”
The edgy feel is accented by various pop art and retro elements, as well as some of the furniture like these Bernhardt cast-aluminum Orchid chairs. Although there are plenty of things to draw your attention in this room, the giant hanging chair that is more like a birdcage for people is the real grabber. Positioned by the window, it looks like the perfect spot to climb in and observe the goings-on of any party that might be under way. The overall atmosphere is that of a secret club and hang-out, perfect for whiling away evenings with friends.
Throughout the house, designers have made the halls and stairwells elegant transition spaces that not only deserve attention, but entice you to linger. Here, a sophisticated bench is paired with a vibrant, oversized abstract painting that dominates the area. We love the oversized aspect because the natural inclination would have been to include a work that is more modestly proportioned and centered within the slight alcove.
Created by Touijer Designs, this meditation room is ideal for solo or group sessions. One wall is dominated by the custom-created moss panels by MossBoss NYC, while a fireplace is situated on the opposite wall. To the side of the fireplace, a calming artwork is placed above a rustic and functional bench. In the frenetic and fast-paced life of New York City, a soothing space like this is a big bonus in any home.
Rooms by Zoya B is known for her luxe and whimsical nurseries and kids’ rooms that fulfill all kinds of childhood dreams. This nursery design combines a variety of fantasies — from the space adventures conjured up by the constellation rug to the safari-ready stuffed animals. A crystalline Plexi-Craft crib is a magnificent centerpiece, while the rest of the room includes plenty of comforts for both parent and child. The room also includes a gorgeous padded and tufted bassinette that is both luxurious and very functional for a new baby.
Marvelous Master Bedroom
Created by Bjorn Bjornsson Interior Design, this master bedroom design is focused on the stunning round bed, but also has plenty of room for lounging in private. The round bed is handcrafted by Hästens using their one-0f-kind masterful stitching and is paired with textiles from Dedar. Across the room, a seating area in front of the fireplaces is highlighted by the sinuous chaise design by Christopher Guy. While most of the color palette is neutral the yellow walls and signature navy blue checks of the bed are sophisticated doses of color.
Across from the chaise, a pair of deep and comfortable armchairs flank a marvelous side table with a distinctive architectural profile. The light-colored upholstery is accented with the navy and gray pillows and throws, which pick up on the checks of the bed.
Second Stylish Bedroom
With a dramatic black backdrop, this bedroom designed by Hilary Matt Interiors is truly a study in contrasts: black and white, curves and geometrics, dark and light. A bit of glam with a touch of edginess is a good way to characterize this space. The platform bed is rounded and soft, but the accents on the pillows and the draperies in the room are straight out of the punk era with rows of safety pins for trim. The GH Stone fireplace was installed as a lighter, modern counterpoint to the against the dark wall and the entire room is punctuated by the pink neon-framed Ultrafragola floor mirror by Ettore Sottsass.
An Homage to Tiffany
Highlighted by this spectacular Tiffany-blue coffered ceiling, the lush salon designed by Ally Coulter Designs has plenty of references to Breakfast at Tiffany’s throughout. From shopping bags to photos of Audrey Hepburn and glam accessories like shoes and jewelry, the space has countless luxe touches. Delicate Asian-inspired wallpaper highlight the upper part of the walls above the cabinets and tall fireplace. A stunning chandelier by David Duncan hangs above two ample, round Italian velvet lounge chairs from Rugiano.
Bespoke Bar and Lounge
On the lower level of the townhouse, just outside the kitchen area is the bar and lounge designed by the Lewis Design Group. It’s an old-school space full of glamor and luxurious decor, from the marble bar to the slightly exotic seating area that exudes a bit of a colonial era Singaporean ambiance. The palm plants only emphasize the special feel.
Thoroughly Modern Kitchen
Tucked away on the bottom level of the home, this magnificent kitchen designed by the Baltimore Design Group is a super functional and very comfortable family space. Multilayered lighting provides the right task lighting along with a warm ambiance. The streamlined design has plenty of space for everything and features a separate walk-in pantry that would make anyone jealous. A marble inset around the skin is a grand feature in the space that is entirely neutral except for the ceiling pipes that are painted red.
The kitchen’s modern flair continues into the dining area, where both cushy chairs and a bench seat surround the table. A newer, updated take on toile wallpaper covers the accent wall behind the banquette and a hefty wooden bowl of apples provides another red accent in the space. The space as a whole is sleek, but far from minimalist with plenty of artistic, luxurious accessories and accents.
Just outside the kitchen door is the private courtyard, reconceived by Elsa Soyars Interiors. As the house previously served as the China Institute, the designer picked up the theme to build around for this outdoor space. Combining Dedon outdoor furniture with the existing architectural elements that have a decidedly Asian flair make this a welcoming and inspiring space for spending time outdoors.
For more than a decade, the Holiday House NYC has been delighting design enthusiasts and the 2019 version is a super-creative conglomeration of stunning designs, many unexpected but all luxurious.