Like prized roses in bloom, designers have created special interiors for this year’s Holiday House NYC. Tickets benefit breast cancer research charities.
Of course, we at Flower Power Daily were canvasing the rooms, designed by such talents as Aly Coulter, Elsa Soyars, Bennett Leifer and Barbara Lewis, looking for floral motifs.
Most designers are naturally attracted to some floral motifs even in the most modern of displays. It could be a bunch of calla lilies in a vase but more often it was uniquely clever or inspired fabrics, wallpapers and paintings.
Because it’s approaching Thanksgiving, I could not help but be intrigued and impressed by the dining room created by Elsa Soyars Interiors.
Look at this picture. There are more than 10 examples of fabulous florals everywhere. But before we play this “can you find the flowers” game, let me share some of the sophisticated touches this Lisbon-born designer used that can inspire us all.
Her first masterful touch was hiring Andreea Braescu to create this silver-leaf ceramic chandelier, which draped the ceiling – and thus the room – in illuminating light but also gave it a cocoonlike feeling. It could have been overpowering but because of the lightness of the materials as well as the airiness of the design, it felt like art intertwined with cozy healing powers.
For the opening night, I met designer Ashley McDermott. As we talked about what impressed us, we both cited the Braescu chandelier. Other people who checked out the room included TV personality Ramona Singer, entrepreneur Katlean de Monchy, artist J.Hallgrey, TV producer Amy Rosenblum and Fox news anchor Rosanna Scotto.
Most dining rooms are boring, and this chandelier could enhance any table setting, which is rare to achieve. It would also look great in a narrow hallway.
“I love flowers and how they grow,” says Braescu. The motif makes the design welcoming.
Soyars also confidently made other choices worth noting. Notice on the table how the unifying theme appears to be using the same plush napkins. However, if you look closely you will notice that while the silverware, placemats and napkins are all the same, rarely anything else is.
First, she used Vista Alegre tableware in different patterns. Her charger plate is the only thing the same. The eye just dances from one table setting to another. While the napkins remained the same, she used some Baccarat smoky crystal rose napkin rings but also others of the same material but a different design, with a butterfly pattern.
Can we just swoon over the vases? How inventive to use two different shaped floral inspired vases – roses and Gerbera. These are French acquisitions from her personal collection. I would have instinctively put in the same color calla lilies. But Soyars is so confident she mixed orange and pink.
“I brought Paris and fashion into the space with a party feel,” she explained. “Mix and match. Not everything has to be so systematic. It’s called joie de vivre.”
That was also illustrated by her choice of Marc Dennis’s floral painting. Impressionist art, as she says with “fashion forward Pop art” with the bubblegum pink flower.
Another winning room was Aly Coulter’s room inspired by Tiffany’s. She looks like Ann Margaret and her sensual room was both inviting and interesting. “I wanted this salon to have the charm and elegance as though it were a Tiffany gift wrapped in a white satin bow,” she said.
To create the luxe sophistication, Coulter incorporated the fabrics of Janet Yonaty, who was wearing an Etro shawl with flowers. Yonaty’s silk-embroidered wall covering helped the theme with a gardenlike geometry that matched the neutral palette of Rugiano’s rounded velvet couches. On seeing them, visitors immediately felt an urge to lounge.
A custom cabinet was not filled with plates but instead things most women love – jewels, Jimmy Choo shoes and Tiffany accouterments arranged in an artful manner.
I liked how Ally Coutler energized a sculpture with flowers. She told me that she always uses a crystal Waterford vase that belonged to her mother in every show house and fills it with white roses.
Bennett Leifer did a hi-lo mix. The walls were covered with graffiti but he also uses classic furniture and fabrics. He showed a Todd Merrill floral piece that was interesting as well as a vase that was like a sculpture, which he got in Italy. Interestingly my brother and sister-in-law have the same piece.
I also admired how Barbara Lewis of the Lewis Design Group created a Bar Lounge inspired by Cafe Society of 1960’s Manhattan. Here’s a hint: she achieved the look by consulting a Frank Sinatra book. I also liked how she effectively used palm leaf motifs. The floral sconce was lovely, as was the high-backed bench with rattan on top. This piece is truly a winner.
“I designed this space to take you back where playful and inspiring design adds to the buzzy euphoria of brilliant company and an expertly made cocktail,” she said. It’s always 5 pm somewhere in this fun room.
Holiday House was founded in 2008 by interior designer Iris Dankner to benefit breast cancer research. A breast cancer survivor, the dynamic Dankner knows intimately how surrounding yourself in beauty and comfort while battling challenges can be immensely healing.
With her army of contacts, and indomitable spirit, Dankner continually gathers leading interior decorators and brands to showcase their talents at the historic Academy Mansion on East 63rd Street in Manhattan each fall. Admission is available through December 15.
This year the brands and designers included Ally Coutler Designs, Bakes & Kropp, Baltimore Leifer Interiors, Bjorn Bjornsson Interior Design, Elsa Soyars Interiors, Jasmine Lam Interior Design, Lauren Berry Interior Design, the Lewis Design Group, MHM Interiors, Nicola Rosendorff Interior Design, Rooms by Zoya B, Studio Neshama, Tara Kantor Interiors, Touijier Designs and Vanessa Deleon Associates.
Hours, prices and tickets are at the Holiday House website. – Jill Brooke
Photo Credits: FPD
Jill Brooke is a former CNN correspondent and editor-in-chief of Avenue and Travel Savvy magazine. She is an author and the editorial director of FPD.