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Decor Secrets from Holiday House Designers

For many, the word holiday conjures images of family and friends gathered around festive tables. But for Holiday House, the design showcase now in its 11th year, the term has a broader meaning. After battling breast cancer more than 21 years ago, founder Iris Danker says that she considers every day to be a holiday. She created the annual event to celebrate her love of design while raising funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). All proceeds from ticket and gala sales go to support research for the treatment and cure of breast cancer.

Light Fixture by Cameron Design House. Photo by JJ Jete.

We love the idea of celebrating the every day, and of bringing holiday magic into every room of your home. Below, a look at some of our favorite Holiday House design moments, along with holiday decor secrets from show house designers.

Perry Sayles Interior Design

Perry Sayles’ elegant master sitting room (top) quickly caught our eye, and the story behind his design made it all the more memorable.

“My room for Holiday House was inspired by the Double Ninth Festival—also referred to as the Chrysanthemum Festival—an autumn festival celebrated in China, Japan and other parts of Asia on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month,” explains Perry. “Customary activities include hiking in the mountains, drinking chrysanthemum wine and adorning oneself with the cuttings from Chinese dogwood, all of which are designed to protect you from the strong yang generated by the double nines.”

Along with the rich sense of history that comes through in the space, we love how warm and welcoming it feels—the perfect perch for writing holiday cards.

Rear Terrace by Robin Kramer Garden Design. Photo by JJ Jetel.

Robin Kramer Garden Design

The rear terrace, designed by Robin Kramer Garden Design, is both sculptural and serene, with structured greenery, candlelight and an incredible selection of outdoor art. When it comes to holiday entertaining, Robin suggests going green.

“I recommend dressing up your front door by planting large fir trees in planters,” he says. “You can decorate them with plastic ornaments and lights. It is a great way to show your own holiday style while welcoming guests to your home, and after the holidays you can plant the trees in your garden.”

Dining Room Sitting Area by One Kings Lane Interior Design. Photo by Frank Trimble.

One Kings Lane

A jewel-box of a sitting area by One Kings Lane, pictured above, is filled with asian inspired pieces like a Chinese Art Deco-style rug, and a wall of Japanese-style sliding screens. An antique cart wheel anchors and grounds the room, while a table set for tea conjures an intimate, cozy gathering.

“We were very inspired by icons of American design—people like Elsie de Wolfe and Billy Baldwin—and the way they were able to create spaces that could transport you to another time or place,” says lead designer Becca Roderick, on the One Kings Lane blog. Rather than draw inspiration from a particular holiday, Becca focussed on creating an experience “centered around color, texture, comfort, and the enigmatic feeling of home.”

Guest Bedroom by A-List Interiors. Photo by Marco Ricca Studio.

A-List Interiors

There’s nothing quite like a luxuriously appointed guest room to make visitors feel like they are truly on holiday, and the space above, by Anelle Gandelman and Ariella Duker of A-List Interiors, does not disappoint.

“We love the return of channel quilting on furniture and designed a custom channel quilted bed to anchor our bedroom design,” says the duo. “Most people are drawn to the more unusual pieces in our space. The whimsical feather lamps on either side of the bed get a lot of attention. They add a playful note to the room and feel vintage despite being new.” 

Foyer by Grisoro Designs. Photo by Marco Ricca Studio.

Grisoro Designs

A vignette by Gabriela Gargano of Grisoro Designs acts as a beautiful reminder to carry decor beyond your home’s main spaces. Her pass-through holds its own as an elegant, memorable moment, complete with dedicated floral arrangements. Gabriela’s advice for getting your floral budget to stretch: “Opt for lush and varied greenery instead of florals,” she suggests. “They are well-priced, last longer, and can have a dramatic effect.”

Wine Room by Interior Monologue. Photo: JJ Jetel

Interior Monologue

Tanya Zaben of Interior Monologue, who designed the sultry wine room above, shares her go-to for creating breathtaking centerpieces with staying power.

“One way to create a lasting holiday look from Thanksgiving through Hanukkah and Christmas is to use branches. They look their best at this time of year,” she explains. “They serve as the perfect long-lasting backdrop that you can keep around for quite some time.”

“I love a high low mix on the table,” she continues. “This is the perfect time of year to invest in timeless pieces that you can pass down to the next generation.” A few of Tanya’s favorite options include crystal goblets or embroidered napkins monogrammed with an invented family crest/initials. “Layer that over a wood table or a simpler classic linen tablecloth and you will have the perfect table,” she says.

118 East 76th Street. Holiday House Photo: Frank Trimble

Holiday House, located at 118 East 76th Street in New York City, is open through December 2nd. Tickets are available here.

Hero image: Master Sitting Room by Perry Sayles Interior Design. Photo by Frank Trimble.

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