The immensely popular charity fundraising interior design event, Holiday House, will be arriving in London this November for the very first time. Already a huge phenomenon in the US, Holiday House was founded in 2008 by breast cancer survivor Iris Dankner and consists of an annual interior designer show house where top interior designers and lifestyle brands showcase their talent to raise crucial funds for the prevention and cure of breast cancer. Each designer is given a room or space to transform into their own wonderland, and this Holiday House London will be housed in not one, but two exceptional properties on one of capital’s most exclusive streets. The LuxPad interviews Holiday House London’s co-chair, interior designer Rachel Laxer, to find out more about the unique concept soon coming to the UK…
How did you become involved in the first Holiday House London?
In 2013 when I did my ‘sexy valentine room’ for the NYC show house. It was thrilling – I loved the sense of community and my only regret was that I could not be there every day as I was back and forth to London. This is when I thought we needed something here in London, it is a way for designers to connect with other designers, I am still friends with the people I meet at that show house and most importantly it was amazing the idea of giving back whilst doing something I love. My mother is a breast cancer survivor as are my 2 closest friends from University. I have had my own personal issues and close calls and as a mother of 2 girls, this fight to fund research for a cure, for early detection, living longer as a survivor is my passion. There is no one who is not touched by this disease.
What will your role be as Co-Chair?
Joyce Misrahi is my co- chair, close friend, breast cancer survivor and philanthropist- we are a wonderful pair as she understands how to raise money and as a survivor there is no one who hears her story that is not moved to tears. So Joyce is brilliant on the fundraising side and my strength is connecting with brands that I have used for years and getting people involved in the design community.
What are you most excited about for Holiday House London?
Raising awareness – I also think the houses are ‘game changers’ for the design world. It really allows designers to express themselves as the rooms are their vision, brands can showcase their goods outside a showroom and in situ so for the visitor it is very experiential. It’s an opportunity to showcase design in two amazing houses with a wonderful, creative group of designers.
Can you run us through the concept of the showcase and what to expect?
I don’t want to ruin the surprise! It is similar to when you go the theatre and there is audience participation and surprises! We are hosting lots of exciting lectures, book signings, pop – up shopping for the holidays, meeting the designers, artists, it is space that for the entire month will have a “heartbeat and energy” so we hope when someone comes to visit they keep checking the website and social media for events to come back and see more things.
How will Holiday House London differ from its US counterparts?
I believe this house is very much about luxury lifestyle mixed with a bit of The Mad Hatter! It is the thing that always makes London so special in my heart. Things sometimes just happen here and come together that are magical. The States has a long history of amazing show houses raising money for lots of different and important causes. These houses are very much curated, the design really flows from one room to another. The executive worked with the designers to make sure they showcased their design work but was part of a cohesive overall design – this makes the feeling of the house very real. We are hoping someone buys the houses while the show house is running as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will receive a bonus from the developer too.
Can you describe your own interior style?
My core style is timeless, relaxed elegance – the dining room I am doing is all wonderful, chic pieces both new and vintage and lots of black & white photography.
Do you notice distinctive differences between London and New York interior style? Does this shape your individual projects in both cities?
There is definitely a difference on either side of the pond. I find New York projects a bit more styled and London a bit more layered or willing to mix in things from the past or quirkier pieces. I like to believe my design work cultivates the best of both sides and the variety of resources to create, unique bespoke homes for my clients that reflect their vision.
Describe your perfect weekend away from the office?
Relaxing with my husband and daughters, I love to just chill with my family.
Why was London chosen as the next Holiday House destination?
It has been my dream to bring the show house over to London. As a dual citizen both in the US and UK it felt very important to me to do something for the design community and the BCRF. I am a big believer in giving back to the world you live in and that change happens when you think global but act local.
The house will be open for visitors from Wednesday 8th November – Sunday 10th December and you can read more on the exclusive designer showcase, the charity benefiting from the event and book tickets for the November launch on the Holiday House London website.