House & Home

Iris Dankner’s Holiday House Hamptons Benefits Breast Cancer Research

See the gorgeously decorated showhouse through August 4.

Holiday House Hamptons presented by HC&G, an interior design showhouse where top interior designers and artists showcase their talent to raise necessary funds for the prevention and cure of breast cancer, returns to the East End for the fourth time this summer.

Holiday House New York City began over 10 years ago and branched out to the Hamptons for the first time in 2013. Previously hosted in Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor, this year the showhouse returns to Water Mill for the second time. Visitors are welcomed to attend the showhouse, located at 90 Wild Goose Lane, daily, except Tuesdays, from 11 a.m.–5 p.m. with extended hours on Thursday evenings running until 8 p.m. The Hamptons showhouse kicked off with a fundraising gala on June 22 and will remain open to visitors through August 4 of this year. Tickets can be purchased at the door and are available online.

Founded in 2008 by interior designer and 22-year breast cancer survivor Iris Dankner, Holiday House hosts events in New York City, London and the East End to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in its mission to find a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime.

Holiday House Hamptons design by Ashbourne Design, Photo: Courtesy Iris Dankner
Another design by Ashbourne Design, Photo: Courtesy Iris Dankner

“Holiday House is a designer showhouse in which we use a large mansion or townhouse in the city and pick 20 to 25 different designers to come in and transform the space,” says Dankner. “Each designer takes their space and shows their best talents, their creativity, their new vendors, their style, while raising awareness and raising funds for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”

Dankner is a celebrated interior designer, who served as art director for Lord and Taylor for 13 years. More recently in her design career she founded ID Creations by Iris Dankner, one of the many design studios that participates in Holiday House each year. She’s been cancer-free for over 20 years and has been raising awareness and funds for preventative research for well over a decade, working with organizations such as Race for a Cure, where she served as chair for three years.

The inception of the Holiday House organization came when Dankner noticed a lack of high profile design events benefiting women’s health issues. She took her skills from her two great passions—raising money for breast cancer research and interior design—to create Holiday House, the first such designer showhouse to benefit the thousands of men and women battling breast cancer in this country.

“I realized that I was a full-time interior designer and a full-time fundraiser and that there were no events or fundraisers in the interior design world that benefitted any women’s issues,” says Dankner. “My idea was to create an event to raise money and raise awareness in the design industry.”

Combining her two passions was a natural move for Dankner. “It felt like the perfect way to make a difference, use my creativity, and work towards eradicating this ugly disease,” she explains. “It’s a way to heal, give back and pay it forward.”

A Southampton resident of 30 years, Dankner loves bringing the fundraiser to the East End each year and highlighting the unique casual and beachy style of the Hamptons. “As a homeowner I don’t think there is anywhere in the world that is more beautiful,” she says. “The interior design out in the Hamptons, with all the design shops and different designers, is really top-notch.”

Visitors of the showhouse can expect industry-leading styles from well-known New York interior designers including Betty Wasserman, Elizabeth Pash and Melanie Roy. A full list of participating designers is available on the Holiday House Hamptons website. The wide variety of styles from these distinguished designers are sure to delight crowds over the next few weeks.

The synthesis of the different designs into one cohesive exhibition is overseen by Dankner and her fellow design chairs. This year’s chairs include artist and goldsmith Kristen Farrell, New York interior design stalwart Amy Lau and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy design experts Thom Filicia and Carson Kressley.

Holiday House Hamptons by Elizabeth Dow, Photo: Courtesy Iris Dankner
Design by Elizabeth Dow, Photo: Courtesy Iris Dankner

“Visitors can expect to learn about design trends that are happening now. They can pick up different ideas for their own homes, different ideas for design and entertaining,” says Dankner. “I feel that if a visitor walks away with one great idea than the event has been successful.”

Some of the popular emerging styles that guests might see this summer are a move toward organic furniture, bold wallpapers and what Dankner describes as a “high level of artwork.” Participating galleries for the showhouse include Forward Contemporary, Hubert Gallery and Christopher Martin Gallery.

The ticket proceeds directly benefit breast cancer research for prevention and a cure being conducted by the BCRF. Since the partnership between the two organizations began, Holiday House has been able to raise over $1 million for BCRF through the exhibitions of these showhouses.

The BCRF was founded in 1993 by Evelyn H. Lauder and their cutting edge research has earned them the title of the highest rated breast cancer organization in the United States, becoming the only cancer foundation to receive an A rating from CharityWatch and a gold seal of transparency from GuideStar.

In addition to being the founder and chair of Holiday House, Dankner has devoted herself to breast cancer research as a board member at BCRF. “I joined the BCRF about eight years ago, and I am presently on the advisory board,” says Dankner of the partnership. “I am really proud to be working with them and feel that their mission aligns with what my mission is—to eradicate this disease.”

Holiday House Hamptons presented by HC&G is open through August 4. To find out more about Holiday House, visit holidayhousehamptons.com and for more on the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, visit bcrf.org.

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