Recipes in This Story
Raspberry Champagne Cocktail
Yellow Pepper Soup with Yogurt and Cucumber
Halibut with Green Beans and Tomato Relish
Almond-Orange Chiffon Cake
Interior designer: Krissa Rossbund, senior style editor, Traditional Home
Photographs by John Bessler
Text by Candace Ord Manroe
Produced by Krissa Rossbund
For a special group of women, birthdays just get better and better. It's not their number of years on earth that these women are celebrating but how many they have spent as cancer-free survivors of one of women's worst enemies--breast cancer. That was the idea Traditional Home senior style editor Krissa Rossbund had in mind when designing a space in Manhattan's Holiday House designer showhouse benefiting Susan G. Komen New York. "I created a space for entertaining where the showhouse founder, Iris Dankner, could toast her 14th cancer-free birthday," says Rossbund. "It wasn't a party that celebrated one day--rather life and the second chance at it."
Dankner took the idea further. Each friend on her guest list is a breast-cancer survivor. "We marked the placecards with numbers--the number of years or, in one case, months, since each woman was pronounced cancer-free," explains Rossbund. Even the gift wrap on party favors picked up the defeat-cancer theme. A pink Swarovski crystal pin of the familiar breast cancer logo brought rosy bling to lavish ribbons. The healthful menu also stayed on point with a pink designer cocktail and a finale of almond-orange chiffon cake.
The space itself, while free of in-your-face color, does pivot on pink accents. "Plenty of the party's elements subtly referenced the breast cancer cause," says Rossbund. "It was more important that this room be warm and comforting than pink, but that doesn't mean that there wasn't room for some girly and fashionable moments." Case in point: a shapely pink boucle-covered chair that, to women who love to shop, emits just a whiff of a classic Chanel fabric.
To make those moments count, Rossbund kept to an otherwise neutral palette that included a tone-on-tone herringbone on the sofas, Farrow & Ball ivory paint on the walls, ink art instead of paintings, and antique Wedgwood in the secretary. Finding the right color for the walls was a struggle, because natural light was blocked by taller buildings. "Ivory by itself wouldn't have looked right, but this neutral soaked up the reddish tones of the rug to give the room a gorgeous blush."
Absence of pattern was a must for the rug. "The rough, organic texture kept the room from being too precious," Rossbund says. Plus, the pink shows well against the gray-brown hickory flooring by Shaw Floors.
Except for the antique fireside stools and Chippendale secretary, all furnishings are from Henredon. "I wanted lots of curves to underscore the room's femininity," she says, noting the shapely sofa arms as well as the rounded backs of the armchairs. "The table's large scale begged for substantial, fully upholstered seating--nothing too leggy or twiggy," Rossbund explains. Chair skirting provided coverage with no loss of feminine charm. The large dining table met the space's criterion for scale, but its round shape ensured easy intimacy for Dankner's friends. "Round tables are friendlier," suggests the editor.
A high ceiling was another spatial challenge. Rossbund prevailed by positioning a pair of tall vintage mirrored obelisks in front of the windows and a pair of old white-and-gold-painted panels on either side of the fireplace. Circa Lighting's modern take on a crystal chandelier puts the room in good light.