Designer Alison Downey transforms a townhouse on the Upper West Side for a young couple putting down roots.
One-of-a-kind objects and decor were sourced from 1stDibs and Homenature.
A young couple passionate about travel and culture turned to Alison Downey, founder and principal of Downey Interiors, to artfully translate their distinctive taste into their 6,000-square-foot Upper West Side townhouse with a 1,000-square-foot roof deck. “The wife works in the luxury travel industry and started her own bespoke travel consulting firm, and the husband is a biotech entrepreneur,” Downey reveals. “Upon first meeting, they took many road trips—one in particular across the southern United States following their New Orleans wedding—that shaped their love for the south (a motif found throughout the home).” After much time spent traveling, the couple was ready to settle down in New York City and start a family.
An Ananbô mural commands the eye in the kitchen.
Schumacher and Pierre Frey wallpaper in the entry
Arteriors’ Yale large sconce
“Like many townhomes of the early 20th century, the space had been recently renovated and converted from a multi-family to a single-family home—yet the style of the renovation lacked the quality and character the property called for,” notes Downey, who set out to create a holistic design program across the five floors of living and outdoor space. “Immediately upon entering the sun-dappled foyer, custom details, sophistication and luxury exude from every corner of the home—Schumacher and Gregorius Pineo wallcoverings, Dedar, Pierre Frey and de Le Cuona fabrics play backdrop to custom details like an Ananbô Papier kitchen mural and a fluted walnut kitchen island.”
Hamimi Lighting lanterns illuminate the dining room
A fluted walnut island anchors the kitchen.
Vibrant Gregorius Pineo wallpaper pairs with Arteriors sconces in the bar.
Waterworks fixtures complement Pierre Frey wallpaper in the powder room.
“Throughout the home, design elements are reminiscent of historical southern design, an intentional point of view created in collaboration with the clients’ background in luxury travel and love for southern homes,” Downey says. Southern foliage like palm fronds, and natural finishes like raffia and limestone, pair with textured fabrics and wallcoverings to create cohesion throughout the home. To complete the space, Downey infused notable art, including a Wolfgang Tillman work in the primary bedroom, a large, vibrant Ingrid Calame creation in the dining room and a playful piece for the children’s playroom by Trey Speegle.
A playful porcupine lamp
Chic Phillip Jeffries wallpaper and a framed Hamsa in the primary bathroom
The girl’s room is appointed with a Patterson Flynn rug.
“Items from the couple’s travels were given new life throughout the design process and taken from their travel archives to incorporate into the design,” Downey says. “For example, the framed Hamsa in the primary bath, the Moroccan synagogue lantern and handmade glass candelabra from Mexico in the dining room, and the indigenous turquoise brushes in the powder room.” The light fixture in the dining room was made custom by Hamimi, a female-owned, Marrakech-based company that creates fixtures and other items out of handwoven materials, which the couple discovered during their travels. They carefully selected the colors of this piece to compliment the Ingrid Calame work in the dining room.
Lighting by Serena & Lily and Trey Speegle’s “Little Did They Know” artwork complete the children’s play area.
A Made Goods chandelier and two antique lamps with custom shades by Illumé in the primary bedroom
From start to finish, the process took about two years. When the client became pregnant with their second baby during this time, Downey pivoted to add a nursery to the design scope. And yet, with all of these challenges of the pandemic and mid-project surprises, the designer still gave each space its own identity while simultaneously connecting them with the overall program of the home. “Nuanced color, patterns and textured layers transformed this Upper West Side townhouse into a home for the young couple and their growing family,” the designer concludes. “Southern foliage, natural finishes and textured fabrics and wallcoverings tie each room together—resulting in thoughtfully balanced spaces that flow seamlessly throughout the multi-level home.”
Downey Interiors sourced patio furniture from Mecox Gardens and RH.
Upper West Side
Mural in kitchen
FARROW & BALL
Custom banquette, office
sofa and living room ottoman
Wallpaper in entry
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHED BY TREVOR TONDRO