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!