The game was this: find a house that didn’t “make us feel like we were 150 years old,” says Analisse Taft-Gersten of her family’s search for a home base with more space outside Manhattan. With two growing teenagers, she and her husband, James Gersten, technically just needed more space—but they were particularly picky buyers: He’s a veteran hospitality exec and she is the founder of the furniture and decor showroom ALT for Living. It took some dozen showings to eventually find the winner, a somewhat neglected modern house in the woods of Greenwich, Connecticut.
“We opened the doors, and I immediately went, ‘Holy sh*t. This could be perfect,’” Taft-Gersten recalls. Emphasis on could be: The couple then spent four months updating the house. Their goal was twofold: Make it work for both their family and friends. On any given weekend, the couple hosts anywhere from two to two dozen guests, either for a simple dinner or an all-out party. “We have different sections in the house for different types of entertaining,” Taft-Gersten explains. Case in point: the living room with a well-stocked bar and multiple seating areas; a total of three roaring fireplaces; and an outdoor hangout space with a fire pit. Bedrooms for the couple’s teenagers were intentionally located on the lower floor—and connected to a room with a ping-pong table—to create their own “apartment.”
“We wanted a space where the kids could kind of get away,” says Taft-Gersten. And when they’re all ready for family time, there’s plenty of room for that around the kitchen island (“We cook almost every night”) or on the screened-in porch. Taft-Gersten retreats to a spa-like bathroom, inspired by the feel of some at great hotels she’s stayed in, when she needs time to herself.
For furnishings, the couple mostly used pieces they already owned. “One reason I felt this house was the right fit was because I immediately thought, ‘Oh, this could go there; this could go there,’” Taft-Gersten says. Some furnishings came from ALT for Living, while many are vintage that the couple have bought over the years—now arranged alongside their eclectic art collection. The result is a layered mix that eschews any one era in favor of maximum comfort.
“Some people feel like if they have a modern home, they have to decorate in a modern way,” Taft-Gersten says. “I love to mix different styles—I want a house that’s not too precious.”
Multiple seating arrangements—and a central daybed—make the room perfect for parties. Daybed: vintage Mies van der Rohe. Club chairs: Dunbar in ALT for Living alpaca bouclé. Gold chair: vintage Wittman in ALT for Living fabric. Sofa: vintage in ALT for Living fabric. Rugs: vintage, ALT for Living. Bar cart: 1940’s French.
Floor-to-ceiling windows mean the couple—and guests—can appreciate the home’s surroundings even when inside.
This sun-drenched corner is a favorite place to perch.
An Alexander Calder tapestry welcomes guests into the home. Paired with two rugs and a raw wood bench, it adds warmth to the travertine-floored space.
The mirrors in the dining room were one of a few leftovers from the house’s original state. “After we refinished the floor and painted, we weren’t 100% sure about the mirrors,” says Taft-Gersten. “But we realized if you’re sitting at that table and facing the wall, you see everything behind you and out to the outside.” So, they stayed.
Located on the ground level, it feels like its own apartment separate from the kids’ rooms below. Headboard: custom in African blanket upholstery. Nightstand: vintage French (similar from Pascal Boyer). Lamp: Flos.
“We have three fireplaces in the house,” says Taft-Gersten.
“It’s so dreamy and zen,” Taft-Gersten says of the Barclay bathtub. Stool and rug: vintage.
“We just collect what we love” Taft-Gersten says of the home’s art. Here, a framed map of Paris hangs above the Duxiana bed. Sconces: Arteriors. Bedding: ALT for Living. Nightstand: RH.
The couple cooks nearly every night and guests always gather in the kitchen, which features an island painted in Benjamin Moore’s Amherst Gray to contrast with the Calacutta gold countertops and cupboards painted their Silver Satin. Pendants: Rejuvenation. Stools: vintage Danish.
Repainting the paneling black gave it a more contemporary feel.
“In the summer, we just leave them open,” Taft-Gersten says of the sliding doors they added. Table and chairs: RH. Fan: Schoolhouse Electric. Lamp: Arteriors. Hat rack: DWR. Paint: Iron Ore, Sherwin-Williams.
“Between the living room and the den and the fire pit, there are just so many places to have people, for all different types of entertaining,” Taft-Gersten says. “We wanted to create spaces that let you feel like you can escape.”