EXCLUSIVE: Holiday House Designerlebrities Share Tips To Make Your Home Ready For The Holidays

Holiday House Founder, Iris Dankner  Photo by Richard Lewin

Holiday House Founder, Iris Dankner

Photo by Richard Lewin

Holiday House founder Iris Dankner is a 20 year breast cancer survivor and is a passionate advocate for breast cancer research and awareness. According to Iris, “Every day after you have had cancer is like a holiday.” It is this spirit that led Iris - an interior designer by trade- to create the highly acclaimed Holiday House which is now in it’s 10th year in NYC and has just launched its inaugural showhouse in London this fall as well. 

When it comes time to entertaining, Iris always starts with a color scheme and builds her tablescape from there.  She recommends mixing “highs and lows” and layering texture and metallics to make a festive display. Pair good china with Pier1 napkin rings or textured placemats. Glassware and crystal mixed with gold or silver-toned flatware add extra shimmer. And - to bring the outdoors in - use a metallic sharpie and make place cards using leaves or seasonal fruits.

The holidays are about being with family and friends. It is a reminder to celebrate life and those that are dear to you. If you are hosting guests - make sure that the guest room (whether it be a bedroom, your son’s lower bunk, or an office with a pull out couch) has everything available that your guests may need - clean towels, a flat surface with lighting near the bed for late night reading, a carafe of water and a comfortable mattress (not TOO comfortable though - you don’t want your guests to move in!).
— Iris Dankner, Founder of Holiday House
There’s something very nostalgic about decorating with red for the holidays. When people see red, they immediately respond to it. Even the smallest doses can liven a space and create warmth without being too overpowering. For my room at this year’s Holiday House, the striking, red ilix branches really popped against the neutral, white walls in the room. The branches themselves became a beautiful statement on the bedside table.

Adding wreaths is also a great way to incorporate greenery into your holiday decor. In my holiday room, I chose eucalyptus wreaths to bring in texture, color and fragrance. The addition of red bows gave the wreaths even more of a holiday feel. These pops of red and subtle smells create such a magical atmosphere that everyone is sure to enjoy.
You don’t need to live in a palace to host a fabulous gathering. To utilize every inch of your space - stage your bar on the kitchen island, console table, or use a bar cart that can be easily moved around your home. Still tight on space? Clear a few shelves of your bookshelf to make a beautiful display of decanters, glassware, and greenery punctuated with metallic accents in gold or silver to make the nook shine!
To get your house holiday ready, invest in some new accessories! Glittery pillows, fur throws or even furniture with metallic finishes like brass and silver add a glamorous look. For example, the fur bench and glittery pillows from Taut that I used in my Holiday House room. I also used a chic fur chair to add a seasonal cosy look to the space.
Think outside of the box, turn your fireplace into a light box. Place a decorative art object and then light it up with colorful lights for the holidays. In my room at Holiday House I used Jeff Zimmerman’s unique stacked ice sculptures in hand-blown silver glass to add a bit of humor -ice in a fireplace- and flare to my festive scene.

A holiday wreath doesn’t have to be evergreen. Use leftover fabric or leather to make leaves and then adorn with glitter, pine cones, berries and ribbons for the season. Think of a new way to display your wreaths. Put over a mirror on the mantel, place in a window or hang from your stair rail!
For me, part of holiday decorating is to glamorise what you’ve got -go for red and gold ornaments to add warmth and luxury to your space . Last year I located a pair of 1930’s halo candoliers. I placed them in my living room windows along with a hand tied cluster of red and gold vintage glass ornaments. Voila! Instant holiday cheer.
Regardless of your space you can make it feel festive, in fact a small space can be especially cozy. No room for a tree? Be creative and celebrate the holidays in style by using lights or art in an interesting way. In this room I attached colourful baubles to images of trees to add festive cheer, and I adorned the table with vibrant acorn ornaments.
Transitional spaces, such as corridors and alcoves, are often overlooked when it comes time to holiday decorating – but these areas can make a tremendous impact. To add holiday cheer take advantage of the surfaces – switch out paintings or photographs with seasonal items like antique or vintage ornaments to liven up a holiday theme, as we did with our Holiday House corridor.
Add an extra layer to your holiday entertaining by including a theme. Elements of the theme should be incorporated in everything, from the décor, food, drink and music.

An example could be A Venetian Holiday Ball. Here is just a few tips to help bring such a theme to reality: Decorate with velvets and brocades in rich hues of burgundy, coppers and golds; add tassels and fabric ribbons printed with music notes; and of course, incorporate masks. Use masks on a tree; at place-settings; even as favors. Greet guests with a specialty drink, such as a traditional Italian spritz.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Visit Holiday House and enjoy the beautiful interiors created by some of the most talented designerlebrities in the industry. At the same time proceeds from your Holiday House ticket purchase will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Attend Holiday House on Mon. Dec 4th or Tue. Dec 5th and enjoy 20% off your ticket purchase using our promo code: DESIGNERLEBRITY

Barbara ViteriComment