K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Erinn Waldo

Erinn Waldo

Sep 14 2017

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Designing to Raise Awareness


We all know someone who has been affected by cancer or have even suffered the diagnosis ourselves. The stories of survivors coming back and turning their experience into good always touch us. One designer, Iris Danker, turned her struggle into a showhouse.

Danker is a 20-year breast cancer survivor and has made it her mission to raise funds for breast cancer research and support women who need help fighting the disease. In 2008, she started Holiday House, the first designer show house held in New York to benefit a breast cancer organization.

In her book, Holiday House: Ten Years of Decorating for a Cure, Danker celebrates design in the show house over the years. A portion of the proceeds from the book, which will be released in November, will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

                 Previous Holiday House Dining Room by Amy Lau

KBB: How has your battle with cancer affected your passion and designs for the Holiday House?
Danker: Holiday House has allowed me to combine my two passions: interior design and fundraising for breast cancer research. After my diagnosis with breast cancer, I realized there were no high-profile events in the interior design industry benefiting women’s issues, and I wanted to change that. Through this event I have been able to live out my dream of helping other women survive this terrible disease, while producing spectacular show houses for all to enjoy. As I often say, “Every day is a holiday after you survive cancer.” I always ask the designers to choose a theme or holiday for their room that is significant to them and will express what a gift life truly is.

KBB: What are some of your favorite designs in the Holiday House, from this year or past years?
Danker: It’s very hard for me to pick favorites because there have been so many wonderful rooms over the last 10 years. That’s why it was so important for me to create the Holiday House book. It’s the perfect way to share the beautiful designs created by the industry’s top designers.

KBB: What would you consider to be your design style?
Danker: I like to use a modern yet classic approach when designing a space. My stylistic goal is to blend sophistication and comfort. I prefer to use contemporary color palettes, rich textures and refined pieces to create a comfortable and elegant space.

KBB: What are you most proud of when it comes to your new book?
Danker: It has always been on my bucket list to publish a book, and now I can finally check that off the list! Producing this book has been like a dream come true. Since the inception of Holiday House, we have hosted 12 show houses both in New York City and the Hamptons, and this book has given me a way to document the designers’ incredible work in honor of our 10th year.

The book features 75 designers and more than 200 gorgeous illustrations of their work. I can’t thank Suzy Slesin and her team at Pointed Leaf Press enough for their hard work and creativity in designing this book. As I flip through the pages of the last decade, I am most proud to see how far I’ve come with Holiday House. No idea is too big or small. It is amazing to see my dream become a reality!

Sep 11 2017

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Journeying into the Future

This past weekend I went down to San Diego to check out our newest sister show: CEDIA 2017. This show focused on smart tech and in particular, the smart home. Having just bought my first home recently, I was excited to see what the market had to offer now and what is coming next. There will be much more in products and trends in a news feature next week, but meanwhile here were some highlights I picked up on.

Multi-Tasking Decor. We are all about multi-tasking at home today, so it shouldn’t have surprised me to see a TV that turns into an art piece or a mirror, like this one from Electric Mirror. According to the exhibitor, no one wants just an ugly black box anymore when you can have a piece of art.

                                        Electric Mirror TV

Bigger, Better Entertainment. If the plethora of extremely high-definition, well-made speakers at the show is any indicator, consumers are all for an in-house entertainment experience. On top of that, not seeing the elements that create that experience makes it all the more luxurious to the homeowner. I saw this at Stealth Acoustics, which can simply hide the speaker behind a specially constructed ceiling panel.
                            Invisible Speakers from Stealth Acoustics

Virtual Reality. In a session I attended on misconceptions about the smart home, I learned that virtual reality (VR) might be going in a different direction than into the home. While it might work well for video games, it is unlikely to make much of an impact on daily life in the home. However, it will continue to evolve into a very efficient tool for designers and sales teams, as I saw myself at Modus VR. The demo showed how easy it would be to create a design inside VR itself, instead of having to set up the design separately and then create the VR scene in a different program. This would save designers a lot of time, and it would allow clients to have a bigger part in the design process.

                              Virtual Reality glasses (on me)


If you attended CEDIA as well, let us know your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter @KBBconnect.

Sep 04 2017

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When in Amsterdam


As you have seen from our most recent news feature, I spent this past week in Berlin learning about the new Miele appliance. Instead of flying straight home afterward, I took advantage of the long weekend and the location, and I visited an old friend who lives in Amsterdam.


She and her Dutch roommate live just across the street from the Dappermarkt, an open-air market, and in biking distance (because everyone bicycles there) from the city center. As great as the location was though, the greatest part of that flat was the kitchen.

If you’ve ever stayed in a European flat, the typical kitchens are mainly small and lack character or efficiency. Often even the cabinet fronts are missing – people take them when they move – and there is rarely anything other than an oven, a little countertop space, a stove and refrigerator (at least in my experience).

Her roommate Hanna explained to me that a Dutch chef, who now has a restaurant in the city center, previously owned this kitchen. He told her when she bought the place that he actually loved the galley-sized kitchen in this flat and thought he could make it work for gourmet cooking.


The countertops are stainless steel and pair with sturdy white cabinetry and modern, streamlined hardware. There is an integrated dishwasher and refrigerator, as well as a pantry pullout. The five-burner gas oven and hood are both made by Bosch. Finally, the layout is simple and makes sense, with the refrigerator closest to the dining room and the sink near the stove. To top it all off, the kitchen is mostly lit by a large window that looks out into a small garden lined with lemon trees.

After an exhausting (and rather adrenaline-filled) day of bicycling through Amsterdam traffic, I humbly asked if I could cook us dinner in the kitchen. Thankfully they were more than happy to oblige, and the combination of the nearby market and the lovely kitchen made for a great dinner with friends.

Aug 21 2017

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Leaving No Kid Hungry

Sometimes statistics can shock us. While all we often hear about is childhood obesity, thirteen million kids in the U.S. struggle with hunger. This is according to Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to end childhood hunger, which also states that three out of four children come to school hungry, and twelve million kids eat free or reduced-price lunches.

Williams Sonoma teamed up with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign to fight this statistic. Their goal is to raise $2 million to help connect children in need to nearly 20 million meals. To help achieve this goal, Williams Sonoma joined forces with prominent chefs, brands and celebrities to design a collection of limited edition, celebrity designed spatulas. Thirty percent of the profit from the retail sales will go to benefiting No Kid Hungry.

Personally, I love fun spatulas – I have two my mom gave me when I got my first place, and they are green with ladybugs on them. They actually are a pop of color in my kitchen today, since I display them in a piece of pottery on my countertop. Although spatulas can just be a tiny part of a kitchen’s accessories, these can make a big difference in a child’s life.

These limited-edition spatulas were designed by the following celebrity personalities and brands:

The American Girl brand

Actress and activist Kristen Bell

Academy award-winning actor and No Kid Hungry National Spokesperson Jeff Bridges

Celebrity culinarian Alton Brown

Chef and author Giada De Laurentiis

Chef Bobby Flay

Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris and chef and actor David Burtka

Music superstar Faith Hill

Shake Shack


Follow @kbbconnect on Twitter and @kbb_magazine and use the hashtag #WSNoKidHungry to be a part of the conversation.