By Caroline Biggs

Published on September 7, 2014

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Ariel Ashe honors the past while establishing a decidedly modern home in a 19th-century Greenwich Village town house.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Last December, after years of living on the 17th floor of a Greenwich Village high-rise, designer Ariel Ashe— cofounder of interiors firm Ashe + Leandro—moved two blocks south into the light-filled top floor of a turn-of-the-century town house.

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“I have pretty modern taste,” Ashe says, “but I didn’t want to disregard the building’s Greek-Italianate style.” So she opted to let the architectural elements do the talking by playing up their unique period features. “I wanted to keep things ethereal and airy,” she says, “and to let the natural light stream in.”

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Ashe created a laid-back vibe by juxtaposing her apartment’s classical lines with muted furnishings, earth-toned accents, and vintage art. After collecting inspiration images of black, white, and beige rooms, she called upon business partner Reinaldo Leandro to help arrange a gallery wall in her living room.

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The finished installation includes Native American portraits by the legendary Edward S. Curtis, as well as rare photographs of Elvis and the Beatles, which were given to her by rock-and-roll photographer Norman Bergsma, a family friend.

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Light and airy vibe in the foyer.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

“We put the wall together on the second day I was in the apartment,” Ashe recalls. “And it’s proved foundational to the space.”

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Working with architectural details. 

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

In the living room, a neutral background allows darker accent pieces, such as the ziricote side table, to shine.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Ariel Ashe at home.

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Photography by BRITTANY AMBRIDGE

Grays with pops of color.