Inside a McAlpine-Designed Greenwich Country Home

Architect Greg Tankersley of McAlpine and designer David Frazier set a tone of mindful living.

A table and chairs from Holland MacRae and a Verellen banquette create a perfect locale for morning coffee in the breakfast room. Reupholstered chairs from the homeowner’s collection sport Rose Tarlow fabric, and the rug is from Sacco. Photography by Gieves Anderson

The concept of layering comes in many forms. Architecturally, things like moldings and built-ins come to mind as ways of turning a four-walled box into something more visually enticing. And from an interior design standpoint the mindful placement of everything from rugs and upholstered pieces to coffee tables and throw pillows often sets the desired tone.

And while both those elements definitely came into play in a Greenwich country home designed by architect Greg Tankersley of McAlpine with interiors by David Frazier, the idea of layering as a means of breaking down spaces to accommodate multiple levels of activities was on equal footing. “The homeowners didn’t want a lot of wasted space, so I created an urban loft-like setting where everything you do in your life is contained in one room,” says Tankersley. “David then broke it down so it’s like a salon with different areas to dine, converse, watch TV and practice music.”


A vintage chair from Holliday and Associates Antiques and a custom walnut desk allow the homeowner to catch up on work without leaving the great room. Photography by Gieves Anderson

The paneled great room with box beams that cruise across the ceiling is organized around a stone fireplace where two commodious sofas upholstered in Belgian linen, and a pair of Rose Tarlow club chairs anchor the space. A 10-foot-long, cerused-oak dining table is the site of all meals for the family of four that includes two young sons, and an outsized bay window provides the background for a handsome desk and vintage chair—the latter allowing the husband a place to work without always having to head for his basement office. “The homeowners are no-frills people, so it was important that all the furniture was well crafted but nothing too formal or ostentatious,” explains Frazier about his selections. “The upholstered pieces are clean lined but approachable and void of any unnecessary ornamentation.”

With a backdrop that embraces Shaker doors in the kitchen, divided light windows, and paneled walls in the primary bedroom, classic interjections like the handcrafted drop-leaf table in the entry fit right in. “There, we paired traditional craftsmanship with contemporary lighting to keep things fresh,” says Frazier, noting the unexpected scale of the chandelier fabricated by a blacksmith adds a bit of whimsy. “The playfulness comes from the detailing and the size.”

Kitchen Islands

Counter stools from Holland MacRae combine contemporary design with English workroom detailing; the front and back fabric is by Elizabeth Eakins. Photography by Gieves Anderson

In the kitchen, the Shaker doors are offset by a modern-leaning symmetrical layout that includes two marble-topped islands, and counter stools made in an English workshop. “They are contemporary in design but with English workroom details,” says Frazier.

Just off the kitchen, a small glass-enclosed space—dubbed the keeping room by Frazier—is a cozy setting for morning coffee or catching up on a good book but little else. “In a traditional house, you have a kitchen with a family room tacked on where everyone congregates, but I wanted something like a conservatory with seating but not so much furniture that you won’t go sit in the great room,” shares Tankersley. For his part, Frazier responded with a small round table with a soft banquette covered in a heavy woven linen, and two upholstered chairs. Even in the small space, the notion of layering a space for different activities continued.


In the guest room, the Bungalow Classic bed and bench are both upholstered in Rose Tarlow fabric. The side lamps are from Saladino, and the light fixture is from Urban Electric Co. Photography by Gieves Anderson

Throughout, the predominantly warm white palette is punctuated with dark moody moments most notably in the library and pantry, where the walls are coated with a deep brown, and in the guest room where the surfaces are saturated in a rich blue green inspired by the wooded surroundings. “The guest suite is located in a separate wing, and we wanted it to feel distinctive and special,” Frazier says.

In lieu of a series of forgotten rooms, the home features just the right number of spaces, and they all get used. “This house has no pretense,” says Tankersley. “From the beginning there was an attitude around paring down, and we helped them edit so they got exactly what they needed and nothing more.”

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Essentials Only.