A West Village Townhouse Wields Whimsy
Vibrant color and playful wallpapers enliven a classic Greek Revival.
Little did Adele Yedid know that one day she would own the townhouse across the street from the West Village apartment where she grew up. “My family moved to Brooklyn when I was 12,” she recounts, “but I always thought it would be cool to live in the neighborhood again someday.” As luck would have it—after a couple of decades and a few different apartments in the greater Greenwich Village area—her husband, Eli, heard about a townhouse listing on her old block and pounced on it. “We had always dreamed of having a townhouse of our own,” he recalls. “Even before we were married, we would get ice cream and walk around the area at night, peeking inside the homes and soaking up all that eye candy.”
The five-story, 4,200-square-foot Greek Revival townhouse couldn’t have come on the market at a more ideal time, given that the couple and their children were itching for private outdoor space and more room to spread out. There was only one hiccup: The 1899 building had been divided into three units and would require a gut renovation to return it to its former glory as a single-family residence.
The homeowners had no sooner settled on an all-white, museum-like contemporary vision with their architect when they realized that they might actually want the complete opposite. So they called on designer Coco Kanakis, who had decorated their previous residence—a modern loft—to help. “My design tastes changed quite a bit while we were living in our last apartment,” Adele says. “I liked the idea of having that classic West Village feel, but wanted something more livable and personal.” Eli adds, “Coco can do everything, from old world to modern. We were all on the same page in terms of wanting to achieve a balance of the two.” However, by the time Kanakis came on the job, the house had already been gutted and largely stripped of whatever original elements still remained. “We sourced period architectural details to reclaim its original grandeur,” recounts Kanakis. Among these are different moldings for each level, mantels for six fireplaces, wood flooring, and replicas of two ornate pilasters between the living and dining rooms that couldn’t be salvaged.
The designer also worked with architect Adam Kushner on spatial planning—of particular importance to the couple because Adele, a nutritionist and chef, and Eli, a fashion entrepreneur, are both very social and, pre-COVID-19, would entertain on a weekly basis. “Adele does at-home cooking demonstrations as part of her job, so a big island with a cooktop takes center stage in the kitchen,” explains Kanakis, adding that the space “can also be closed off from the dining room, which is critical for catered events.” And adjacent to the garden, a sunroom complete with a malachite-green kitchenette is the family’s go-to spot for informal gatherings.
The bold decor is a result of several showroom visits by Kanakis and her clients. “Adele is fashionable, current, and modern, and I wanted this house to be a reflection of her personality and whimsical taste,” says the designer. Accordingly, the home is chock-full of fun touches and surprises: The living room alone features a peacock-base side table, a feathered light fixture, red velvet sofas with striped back panels, a gem-faceted cocktail table, and a custom rug with hand-woven graffiti spelling out “peace” in multiple languages. “We mixed materials and periods to achieve a Bloomsbury-inspired look, and wallpaper served as artwork in many spaces,” Kanakis adds. “Each room is meant to be its own jewel box.”
The print version of this article appears with the headline: Village Vanguard.
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