By Brittany Chevalier

Published on June 12, 2015

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge

"My intention was to make our home cheerful and urbane."—Elana Nathan

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serenity now

In her professional life, Elana Nathan—co-owner and CEO of exclusive fashion line Peter Som—is accustomed to overscheduled days of conference calls and strategy meetings. So when it came time to decorate her town house in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, she sought to create a centering oasis. “Although I thrive on the thrumming pace of New York City,” she says, “it was really important that my home be a tonic to that tempo.”

STOOL

Pippa in natural pearwood and cowhide hermes.com

ARTWORK

(in mirror’s reflection) by Wayne Gonzales, paulacoopergallery.com

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The home’s decor is centered on the couple’s extraordinary art collection. “I think my husband has learned not to fight my urge to collect,” says Nathan. “At first he just lived with it for my sake, but now he’s actually starting to enjoy it.”

SOFA

Sunapee, kravet.com

COFFEE TABLES

Or and Bleue by Yves Klein, artwareeditions.com

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new beginnings

Having previously resided in high-rises in Hong Kong and lower Manhattan, Nathan craved a private (aka doorman-free) lifestyle for her family. So she was thrilled to find a house on a quiet street to share with her husband, Lloyd, and their two sons, Euan and Pierce. “I really liked that I’d never lived in this part of town before,” she says. “The Highline had just opened when we moved in, and being in such close proximity is amazing. It’s a fresh start for all of us.”

ARTWORK (above mantel) by Richard Serra, artnet.com

TABLE

Black Knight base, hudsonfurnitureinc.com

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A piece by Nathan’s stepfather-in-law, renowned artist Patrick Caulfield, hangs above the dining room’s bar.

ARTWORK

(above sideboard) by Patrick Caulfield, waddingtoncustot.com

BOWL

ebonized cherry in large calvinklein.com

SIDEBOARD

Stockholm in beige ikea.com

TRAY

augousti.com

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achieving equilibrium

After tearing down a couple of walls and adding a few coats of paint, the town house was soon family-ready. Elements of its original architectural details, such as exposed brick walls, towering ceilings, and gracious stairways, are now complemented by modern furnishings and artworks. “I felt it was important that the home retain an understated character,” says Nathan. “I think that’s what makes it so eclectic and balanced.”

The master bedroom is flooded with natural light.

BED

Charles by Antonio Citterio, bebitalia.com

ARTWORK

“Paris” by Nan Goldin, artnet.com

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fine-tuning

Designing a space is necessarily a growth process, and Nathan has been pleased to witness the home’s constant evolution. When she first moved in, her inclination was to make the decor as cozy as possible, but today she finds herself editing out everything that’s not absolutely essential. “Fundamentally, I’m a perfectionist about my environment,” she says. “But when you’re living with two young boys in an old house that’s a work in progress, you just have to let go. It’s not easy, but I’m learning.”

“We love reading with our children,” says Nathan, “so there are always piles of books around.”

CRAFT TABLE

Carolina in simply white potterybarnkids.com

WHITE CHAIR

Kritter ikea.com

BLUE CHAIR

Child Chaise by Keith Haring artwareeditions.com

POUF

Moroccan leather in sky blue bazaarmorocco.com

ORGANIZERS

six-case LEGO workstation and storage unit by IRIS, amazon.com

ARTWORK

(above mantel) by Alexander Calder, artnet.com 

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The boys chart their father’s work travels on this wall-size map.

DUVET

Fouta yarn-dyed stripe by Serena & Lily 

THROW PILLOWS

for kids designersguild.com

BABY BLANKET

Avalon in wool and cashmere hermes.com 

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Pierce’s bedroom reflects his passions for drawing and music.

LINENS

Alcott leontinelinens.com

PIANO

(similar to shown) baby grand in red by Schoenhut Piano Company fao.com

ARTWORK

(above mantel) “Forms in Space” by Roy Lichtenstein, poparteditions.com

ARTWORK

(far left) by Alexander Calder, artnet.com

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Photography by Brittany Ambridge