“B

Ecause I grew up in the coun­try, I like things that look a bit wild and raw.”

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Junior Bazaar -

Tucked away on a quiet, tree-lined street in New York’s West Vil­lage stands a brick house with white paned win­dows. The ex­te­rior is so tran­quil that for a hushed mo­ment, it seems as if no one is home. Then the front door, painted a glossy blue, is thrown open by Gabriela Perezutti Hearst, and the gig­gles of her seven-year-old twins, Mia and Olivia, can be heard. A for­mer model, Gabi and her hus­band, Austin Hearst (a busi­ness­man who, among other pur­suits, serves as an ex­ec­u­tive at Hearst Cor­po­ra­tion and a trustee for Save the Chil­dren), pur­chased the six-storey town house in De­cem­ber 2012 and moved in Fe­bru­ary 2014. The build­ing dates from 1870, mod­ernised by its for­mer owner. How­ever, the cou­ple wanted a more fam­ily-friendly vibe and en­listed ar­chi­tect Daniel Ro­mualdez. “Gabi has dis­tinct taste; we took cues from her bo­hemian, out­doorsy style,” shares Ro­mualdez.

“I have very strong in­stincts about what I like,” Gabi says. “Space is sa­cred, and in New York it is the ul­ti­mate luxury. If an ob­ject is go­ing to oc­cupy that space, it has to mean some­thing to me.”

The plan was to make a home suit­able for the girls and Austin’s two teenagers, Andie and Sam. “We de­signed this place with the kids in mind,” Gabi says. “Think­ing about how we would all in­ter­act was a main fo­cal point.” In­ti­macy was para­mount, but not at the ex­pense of pri­vacy. For Sam this meant con­struct­ing a wood­pan­elled hide­away with a flat-screen TV that rises from the bed’s foot­board. The twins’ room is ev­ery lit­tle girl’s dream: pink canopied beds, a gi­ant doll­house, a minia­ture Ch­ester­field sofa up­hol­stered in rose cot­ton, and a plush cream car­pet per­fect for tum­bling. “Iron­i­cally, this room used to be a gym,” re­veals Gabi.

Ro­mualdez’s firm also helped trans­form the gar­den, now a backyard with an in-ground pool and flower beds burst­ing with un­ruly blos­soms along the teak deck. While the roof pa­tio is out­fit­ted with a hot tub and a bar­be­cue, boxes of fra­grant laven­der lend a serene, pas­toral feel­ing. “Be­cause I grew up in the coun­try, I like things to look a bit wild and raw,” Gabi says, cit­ing the High Line and its wind­blown grasses as in­spi­ra­tion.

Other changes in­cluded re­plac­ing the black mar­ble fire­places with white mantle­pieces from Eng­land and cre­at­ing a li­brary. Lined with white oak mill­work, the shelves are crammed with an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion of lit­er­a­ture. On top of South Amer­i­can au­thors, they own first-edi­tion books by Mark Twain (a friend of Austin’s great-grand­mother Phoebe Ap­per­son Hearst) and James Joyce (a favourite of Austin’s). Be­sides be­ing avid read­ers, they are cinephiles, as ev­i­denced by the base­ment’s screen­ing room, in­stalled in a stone-walled space. The sub­ter­ranean theatre fea­tures a film pro­jec­tor, re­clin­ing so­fas, and a pop­corn ma­chine. Mean­while, she had the mas­ter bath­room fit­ted with a mir­ror that con­verts to a TV. “I had this fan­tasy of watch­ing the news in the bath.”

In ad­di­tion to her boho-luxe cloth­ing la­bel Can­dela (which she started in 2004), Gabi took over her fam­ily’s ranch af­ter her fa­ther died in 2011 and trav­els to Uruguay’s Paysandú re­gion a few times a year. Th­ese trips dou­ble as art-shop­ping ex­cur­sions. “I be­gan col­lect­ing South Amer­i­can art a cou­ple of years ago,” she says. “It started with my aunt, who was a dealer at a small gallery; I in­her­ited her col­lec­tion.”

Re­lax­ing in the sit­ting room with Mia and Olivia. Dress; and boots, both from Can­dela. Neck­lace; and ring, both from Aurélie Bi­der­mann

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