Alex Papachristidis Creates Old-Fashioned Elegance in a Greenwich Village Townhouse
“Since childhood, I have lived in Alex’s creations, which means that I have grown up enjoying his incredible talent,” says Rudin Earls, noting that her husband’s family also lives in the environments of Papachristidis. “It’s an old-world style that operates at the highest aesthetic level.” So instead of shunning the past, like so many of the modern-minded gilded youth, they embraced it with an enthusiasm that could easily bewilder their contemporaries. Thus, the beautiful Venetian-inspired chairs of the British decorator of the 1930s Syria Maugham, the gilded bronze tables of the French arbiter of the 1950s elegantiarum Georges Geffroy, the dining table with a Versailles parquet top made by the legendary Parisian design firm Jansen, and the criss-cross of 18th-century Venetian landscapes of irresistible romanticism by the mysterious Master of the Langmatt Foundation Views. Impressive, yes, but layers of first-rate history and provenance are lifted by refreshing bursts of mirrored glass and grassy hues like pale green and bright blue.
“The theme was a garden,” says Rudin Earls, noting that the townhouse has a lush private garden and several terraces, and that she and her husband – he calls their tastes “wonderfully complementary” – wanted their rooms to have the atmosphere of perpetual spring. The tone is set by a Gracie wallpaper that rises five stories from the lobby to the top-floor landing, its silver floor covered with flowering trees in classic Chinese export style. Earls calls it “an incredibly powerful decision, but you can’t deny the impact.”
Other botanical flourishes include the dining room’s reflective flower pilasters which were painted by decorating artist Delphine Nény – she also extravagantly painted the living room walls – and the rose and tulip splattered fabric of the kitchen. The textile lavishes side chairs that replicate a suave mid-20th-century Frances Elkins design, counter stools that Papachristidis adapted from an 18th-century Swedish chair, and the wall-sized window that s opens onto the breakfast terrace. Trellises, a feature found in historic European gardens, line the entry vestibule and lovely porcelain flowers, custom-made by artisan Vladimir Kanevsky, bloom on table tops throughout the house.