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