Lynn Byrne

Lynn Byrne

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My Top Five Rooms at Holiday House NYC 2014

Holiday House NYC has become a treasured winter tradition.  For the past 7 years, top designers take over the rooms at the historic Academy Mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and do it up right, with all proceeds from the show house benefiting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.  

Each of the designers chooses a holiday or some type of celebration as their muse for their space.  What’s fascinating about this show house is that the architecturally significant venue never changes, yet the designers delight by presenting rooms that look completely different from previous years.

Though hard to choose, there are five rooms that really grabbed my attention.

Number one of the list has to be the Grand Dining Hall  by Amy Lau for Baccarat.  Be prepared to be blown away.

Amy dubbed her room the “Galerie des Glaces”  and was inspired by Versailles.  Celebrating the 250th anniversary of Baccarat, I have never encountered a room with such shimmer and shine.  Amy succeeded in her goal of channeling royal splendor and couture magic with her use of the finest handcrafted finishes and glittering Baccarat crystal throughout.

The sitting room created by Rhonda Eleish for Lillian August garners a spot on my list for the fabulous art used in the room.  While there is beautiful art throughout Holiday House NYC, Rhonda outdid herself. Art lovers should attend the show house just to see the two paintings which anchor her space.

Rhonda used two De Koonigs, one of which has never been publically exhibited before.  The other, entitled “Clamdigger” served as a study for a sculpture by De Koonig that recently achieved $29.2 million at auction at Christies. 

Of course the rest of the room is lovely too. 

Matthew Patrick Smyth’s designs are a perennial favorite of mine because in my humble opinion, everything he dose oozes elegance.  

Matthew’s room at Holiday House is no exception.  Matthew delivers a marvelous mix of fine art, antiques and mid-century finds from 1st Dibs and his own collections. He quips that, “it’s the kind of room I’d make for myself if I were my own client.”  Me too, Matthew.  Me too.

A tented room, now how could that not make my top five?  Gary McBournie has done the near impossible.  By using fabric from his own collection, he has created a tropical ideal amidst winter Manhattan.  


Gary invites “you to pause for a moment in my room and imagine your feet in sandals and the sensual pleasure of chilled champagne on your sunburned lips as you gaze out at the azure blue of the ocean seas.”  Sure thing.  Sounds good to me, Gary.

I am like a little girl when it comes to canopy beds and the one contrived by Holiday House veteran designer Guillaume Gentet is a confection.   His room, entitled “Honeymoon in Paris” is an homage to Paris’ Hotel du Crillon in days gone by, plus a celebration of his own first wedding anniversary.  It seems Guillaume got married in the room he designed last year for Holiday House NYC!

There always is so much to be happy about when it comes to Holiday House NYC.  You can’t leave without a smile on your face.

This short list just scratches the surface of the fascinating design found there.  Holiday House NYC is open 7 days a week 11 am-5 pm until December 21 with extended hours on Thursday until 8 pm.  General admission is $35. Do pay a visit if you are in the New York metro area. 

All photos by Lynn Byrne except the collage photos of  Rhonda Eleish’s room which are courtesy of Blitzer & Co.