This Designer's Home Pairs Classic Architecture with Modern Touches

A New York designer leans on her own advice as she creates a home for her family.

Designers are accustomed to giving clients reminders during the sometimes-arduous construction process: Home in on a style to keep aesthetics consistent. Practice patience as you search for quality pieces that aren't disposable or trendy. Understand that not every moment in a house has to be a "wow" moment.

These are just a few guidelines interior designer Anelle Gandelman regularly recites to clients to ensure a favorable design experience. And when a new project emerged 30 minutes outside of New York City, she applied an extra dose of firmness to a client with meticulous standards—Anelle herself.

family portrait on outdoor patio
Annie Schlechter

Anelle and her husband, Glenn, were leaving an old house with spaces that no longer worked for them and their two growing boys, Josh and Tyler. They began to stroll neighborhoods, seeking inspiring architecture and a property that would accommodate their family. A lot in the Westchester County community of New Rochelle boasted a large yard that the Gandelmans knew would be perfect for a new build. So, they bought it.

"When we were having initial meetings with architects, the theme of the conversations was that the house needed to be customized to us," Anelle says. "We did not want to specify any rooms that we wouldn't use."

exterior shot of gandelman home
Annie Schlechter

The architecture had to meet Anelle's rule No. 1: Implement timeless bones that can live for today. She imagined her home would merge the makings of a London townhouse and a Flatiron apartment. Updated interpretations of classic European architecture such as 12-foot ceilings, symmetrical moldings, and columns—modernized to be void of frills—would finish the house in a manner appropriate to Westchester.

"There were certain things that I wanted that could only be achieved by symmetry," Anelle says of her home. "I wanted a circular driveway and a U shape in the back. We even split the garage to create balance. Some people have his-and-her bathrooms, but we have his-and-her garages.

classic and contemporary architecture foyer
Annie Schlechter

Anelle's rule No. 2, she chose wow moments carefully to ensure impact. In addition to the foyer puts on a showstopping display. A sliced agate chandelier dangles over a modern marble-top center table.

modern velvet sofa with photograph of florence above
Annie Schlechter

Anelle's rule No. 3 addresses the virtue of patience—taking time to find decorations that are special and tell a story. Anelle was born and raised in South Africa, so having her home appear collected with inspiration from travels was important.

The stair landing features a modern velvet-covered sofa beneath an oversize photograph depicting a structure in Florence. The theme of the Gandelman home—classic architecture married with contemporary forms— makes its debut in the foyer.

elegant pale blue wallpapered dining room
Annie Schlechter

Case in point, the dining room. The Gandelmans entertain frequently, hosting casual gatherings and more formal affairs, so Anelle wanted the dining room to shine with pizzazz. She searched for the perfect wallcovering until she found a chinoiserie-inspired pattern. It became the springboard for a host of glamorous moments: an oversize round mirror that reflects the warm, moody palette and crystal lighting in the form of a pair of sconces and an arresting chandelier.

"I wanted this room to be traditional and warm, which can be a challenge if you choose the wrong gray," she says. "This wallpaper has warm undertones that prevent it from making the room appear sterile. They also balance the taupe finish on the table."

On the flip side, Anelle intentionally allowed other spaces to recede and create a pause from overpowering visual stimulation. Slabs statuary marble put on an elegant display on countertops, backsplashes, and even behind glass-front cabinets in the all-white kitchen. Simple clear-glass pendants illuminate both the cooking and gathering areas.

Antiqued mirrors on the doors of a storage cabinet reflect luxurious decoration, including a shimmery tulip table and lavender chairs that bring a gentle hint of color to the space. The breakfast room also turns heads with a fluted silver tulip table that's surrounded by chairs with gold-capped legs and curvy feminine silhouettes.

great room with abstract patterned silk rug
Annie Schlechter

In the great-room, basic columns give the living area the illusion of separation from other spaces. A mohair sofa and another with a low-profile split back accentuate the elegant atmosphere, but the room also welcomes casual TV time. Coffered ceilings enhance the traditional architecture, while a glass chandelier imbues a modern touch that's echoed by a pair of velvet-covered armchairs and faux-shagreen side tables. A silk rug with an abstract pattern anchors an arrangement of refined, solid-color furniture.

"We weren't interested in carving out space for a formal living room because we didn't think that it would be used," Anelle says. "So this great-room is it. It's comfortable without being too laid-back. And when coziness and privacy are needed, we have a small den down the hallway for that purpose."

neutral colored den with strong design pieces
Annie Schlechter

A private and cozy spot at the end of the hallway, the den is neutral from a color perspective. It boasts several strong design pieces including a pair of floor lamps with oversize shades; a modernized, cloudlike chandelier; and a tufted-velvet ottoman.

blue and silver master bedroom with floor length curtains
Annie Schlechter

"I prefer more of an intimate [primary] bedroom," Anelle says. "I wanted enough space to move around comfortably but didn't need an extra seating area."

The primary bedroom adheres to a restful palette of gray and navy blue with subtle fashion nods from a luxurious velvet tufted headboard, a sparkling crystal chandelier, and wide trim that edges glazed-linen drapery panels. Symmetry, established by windows and French doors on one wall and niches on each side of the fireplace, creates a restful experience.

A silver soaking tub serves as the centerpiece of the marble bathroom. An abstract wallpaper pattern pushes movement into the vanity area of the closet, where Anelle wanted a fashionable mood. Carrara marble keeps the all-white space from reading basic.

anelle gandelman portrait in home
Annie Schlechter

With seven years of living in this house, Anelle has proved that while breaking some rules is necessary to reach a place of interest, fundamentals are the key to design success.

"This house is grand because of its high ceilings," Anelle says. "But since the rooms aren't too large, it's intimate and warm. Neighbors comment on our home's friendliness, and that's the greatest compliment. It's worked so well for us."

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