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Holiday House 2015:
Holidays Worth Celebrating 
Executing a successful show house is a challenge on its own—how do you wow audiences without going overboard?—but when the space is the same year to year, reinvention becomes daunting. Throw in some dark paneling, vaulted ceilings speckled in gold, and ornate hardwood floors – as are the architectural interiors of the 2 East 63rd Street mansion – and stakes become increasingly higher. Assigned the broad theme of “Holidays,” this year’s designers incorporated odes grand and small in celebration of some of the biggest as well as most obscure (made up) dates. While not every room this year was a home run – there’s a time and place for handcuffs and taxidermy, and it wasn’t here – there were of course some standouts that we need to applaud.
Best Use Of Theme
With twenty-two designers participating and only a handful of “normal” holidays to go around, many went esoteric (we’re still debating whether Burning Man is actually a holiday). Our favorite, however, was good old-fashioned New Years Eve. Where some designers might have taken glitz and glamor to the extreme, Calder Design Group’s “After the Ball Drops” (right) was a swanky yet tasteful take on the theme. Green and gold glitter dusted a table of macarons and champagne, while emerald paint and paneling provided a dramatic ambiance that captured the essence of the night. 
Best Use of Space
Sandwiched between two bedrooms on the second floor sat a room that’s shaped…well, pretty awkwardly. Previous designs have delivered less-than-satisfactory results, most failing to distract viewers from the tricky layout. However, Kathleen Walsh’s “Staycation” brilliantly transformed the room into a believable loft-style sanctuary. With a day bed nestled in a corner platform, sleek burners atop the custom built-in, and a wine cooler worthy of a restaurant kitchen, the room bore all the necessities and luxuries for enjoying home sweet home. Finally, something other than a study! 
Best In Tech
At first glance, a tacky electronic fireplace has no right burning next to a baby grand piano or an Andrew Wyeth. However, a faux fire that actually flickers and flames is a different story. Both Ally Coulter’s “Constellation Celebration” foyer and Campion Platt’s “Winter Solstice” study featured Hearth Cabinet’s ventless fireplace (left), a gel-fueled installation that truly blew our minds. On the other end of the seasonal spectrum, Drew McGukin’s beach-themed “Summer Solstice” featured a flat screen that showcased the entire building process of the room, a captivating experience we often overlook.
Most Fun Accessories
Another crowd favorite took place inside Marks & Frantz’s “Game Night” parlor. Textural, rich, and enjoyably busy, the Art Deco room featured a backgammon board painted in a peacock feather pattern and a Venture shuffleboard – you know, just your typical entertaining go-to’s (below). 
Biggest Surprise
The fourth and final floor of the show house – a single room the size of two or three others combined – easily earned the title "Best For Last." Vicente Wolf’s jaw-dropping “Glamping” experience (below) took guests out of this metropolitan world and deep into the woods.While certainly glamorous by outdoorsman standards, the room, like the concept of glamping (glamor camping), made little sense in its surrounding space. However, the astro-turf floors, geodesic pod dome, foliage wallcoverings, and fur throws exuded the classic unapologetic show house attitude that keeps everyone talking, and coming back for more next year.
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