Holiday House Book Celebrates 10 Years Of Design And Combating Breast Cancer - 27 East

Arts & Living

Arts & Living / 1333210

Holiday House Book Celebrates 10 Years Of Design And Combating Breast Cancer

icon 7 Photos
Father’s Day Study by Eric Cohler, Holiday House NYC 2008. ROY WRIGHT

Father’s Day Study by Eric Cohler, Holiday House NYC 2008. ROY WRIGHT

"Holiday House: Ten Years of Decorating for a Cure."

"Holiday House: Ten Years of Decorating for a Cure."

Iris Dankner RICHARD LEWIN

Iris Dankner RICHARD LEWIN

Study by J. Cohler Mason Design. MARCO RICCA

Study by J. Cohler Mason Design. MARCO RICCA Jennifer Cohler Mason

Rook by Matthew Patrick Smyth, Holiday House NYC 2014. JOHN GRUEN

Rook by Matthew Patrick Smyth, Holiday House NYC 2014. JOHN GRUEN

Bedroom by Charlotte Moss, Holiday House NYC 2012. ERIC STRIFFLER

Bedroom by Charlotte Moss, Holiday House NYC 2012. ERIC STRIFFLER

Wolf Kahn sketching at the old barn.

Wolf Kahn sketching at the old barn.

author on Nov 6, 2017

All it took was a moment, and four clear-cut words, for Iris Dankner’s life to completely change.

“You have breast cancer.”

The interior designer was 40 years old—the mother of two little girls.

Two decades later, she is a survivor.

“I was actually diagnosed [during] my first routine mammogram, and it was early detection that saved my life,” Ms. Dankner recalled during a telephone interview last week. “I say the doctors put me back together physically, but emotionally, my healing had to do with paying it forward, and giving back, and helping other women.”

When she got off the phone, the part-time East Ender would be on her way to the airport with a round-trip ticket to London—home to her first international Holiday House, marking the breast cancer fundraiser’s10th anniversary.

“You know what? It’s amazing. This whole event started as an idea, a little dream, and it’s grown into something so big,” said Ms. Dankner, whose book “Holiday House: Ten Years of Decorating for a Cure,” hit shelves this month. “I blinked and I can’t believe it.”

The 252-page tome features 12 New York and East End showhouses from the minds of 75 top interior designers, each assigned a room to transform into their own vision while keeping the holiday season in mind.

“I just felt that after surviving cancer, every day is a holiday, and that’s how it started,” Ms. Dankner said. “The timing is around the holiday season, and then I started doing it in the Hamptons, and it still became about celebrating life.”

Each showhouse is full of just that—the ups, the downs, the stress, the pranks, the chaos and the hilarity—and going through a decade’s worth of photos brought back all those memories, she said.

“It’s almost like going back into your journal and seeing what you’ve done,” she said. “Each year, there’s a different story, there’s a different challenge, and there are different laughs that we’ve had. No showhouse comes without all three.”

One year, a designer’s kitchen wound up stuck in customs, forcing her to pull together an entire room with furniture out of her own apartment. In 2013, the first year on the East End, the crew realized they didn’t have an event permit the day of the opening, and were almost shut down before they even began.

“In these moments, it seems like, ‘Oh God,’” Ms. Dankner laughed. “The year Hurricane Sandy was going to hit, I had a tent up with a $250,000 Baccarat chandelier. It would cost me $500 to take it down and $500 to put it back up. And, of course, I had to do that because I wouldn’t have been able to sleep knowing that chandelier was in there. After Hurricane Sandy—we know how it devastated New York City—there was not one leak in the tent.”

As she’d walk through each showhouse, Ms. Danker would mingle with the designers—who started as competitors but left as family—and the contractors. Without fail, they each had a story about how breast cancer had touched them directly, or someone they knew, and that resonated with the founder.

“The good news is, I’ve created something that’s growing, but truthfully, the bad news is that so many people want to be involved because everybody knows somebody who’s been affected by breast cancer,” she said. “I’m not going to stop working until we have a cure. And I hope my grandchildren don’t even know what I did. I hope we live in a world without breast cancer very soon.”

She sighed. “I tell my girls to dream,” she said. “Dream big, and you can make it happen.”

For more information about Holiday House, visit holidayhousenyc.com.

You May Also Like:

East End Underground Live Presents a 1980s Dance Party with the Cherry Bombs

LTV Studios and the East End Underground Live Concert Series will host ’80s Dance Party ... 16 Jun 2024 by Staff Writer

LTV’s Hamptons Summer Songbook by the Sea Presents Steve Ross and Karen Murphy: Best of the Versed

LTV Studio’s Hamptons Summer Songbook Series will host “Best of the Versed: Celebrating the Opening ... by Staff Writer

Jimmy Webb Performs at The Suffolk

Multiple Grammy-winning songwriter Jimmy Webb will perform at The Suffolk on Saturday, June 29, at 8 p.m. Webb has topped the charts from pop to country to disco numerous times with interpretations by some of the industry’s greatest, from Glen Campbell and Art Garfunkel to Linda Ronstadt and covers by everyone from Guns n’ Roses and Josh Groban to Little Big Town. Since Webb’s Grammy sweep in 1968 when his own “Up, Up and Away” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” vied for Song of the Year (and “Up” won) to the use of his “Do What You ... 15 Jun 2024 by Staff Writer

Patrick Christiano Reprises the Role of Truman Capote at Southampton Arts Center

When Patrick Christiano was just 12 years old, he sat down in his godmother’s backyard ... 14 Jun 2024 by Hope Hamilton

Pianofest Returns for its 36th Season

This summer, 22 brilliant young artists from across the globe — all emerging stars in ... by Staff Writer

‘Party?’ On Stage at LTV

Direct from a sold out Off Broadway run, Anne Marilyn Lucas’s comedy “Party?” is coming to LTV Studios for two performances, on Monday, July 8, and Tuesday, July 9, with curtain at 7:30 p.m. both nights. Described as “A Doll’s House meets Neil Simon,” the performances are a benefit for the Ellen Hermanson Foundation to support breast cancer research. Ezra Barnes will direct the show which stars Alan Ceppos, Molly Chiffer, Audrey Heffernan Meyer, Jordan Lage, Brian Mason and Pamela Shaw. Tickets are $30 ($100 including reception) at ltveh.org. LTV Studios is at 75 Industrial Road in Wainscott. 12 Jun 2024 by Staff Writer

Leonard McCombe’s “America” Comes to Southampton Cultural Center

On Saturday, June 22, from 5 to 7 p.m. the Southampton Cultural Center is hosting a reception for the new exhibition “America,” featuring the work of Leonard McCombe. The exhibition is open until July 14, and can be viewed at the SCC Levitas Center for the Arts during gallery hours from noon to 4 p.m. Leonard McCombe grew up in rural isolation on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. At 14, he contracted Scarlet Fever and had to drop out of high school. While he recovered, he took up painting and photography. At 16, he sold pictures of ... 10 Jun 2024 by Staff Writer

Simone Dinnerstein Brings Bach’s Music to Quogue

It takes a while for many people to find their calling in life. For Simone ... by Dan Stark

Kramoris Gallery Celebrates Local Artists

Romany Kramoris Gallery presents a group art show featuring the works of Hina Cao, Quincy ... by Staff Writer

‘Music for the Soul’ with Sitar Maestro Ustad Shafaat Kahn and East Meets West at LTV

LTV’s World Voices Series will present “Music for the Soul” with Sitar Maestro Ustad Shafaat ... by Staff Writer