photographs by Brittany Ambridgetext by Brittany S. Chevalierinterior design by Ali Cayne
For this Manhattan restaurateur, a move downtown meant having the chance to create a space all her own—without the help of an interior designer. Trusting her instincts, while keeping the needs of her children front and center, Ali Cayne embarks on a journey of renovation and self-exploration.
A soothing palette of neutrals and gold tempers the old-world grandeur of Ali Cayne’s Greenwich Village townhouse.
Miramar Sofa - Upholstered
Serena & Lily
Versailles Small 6L Iron/Smoke Glass Chandelier
Hartwell Vintage Brass Floor Lamp
X-Mirror Elegance Custom/Gold/Silver/White
Gold Leafed Sabre Leg Coffee Table Only
Woven Leather Pillow
Waverly Gold Mirror
Ali Cayne—founder of New York City’s Haven’s Kitchen, a restaurant, event space, and cooking school specializing in seasonal, sustainable food—never does anything by halves. Not when it comes to running her restaurant or raising her five children, and not when it came to renovating her new West Village townhouse. Last year, to close the gap between her family and professional lives, and to lessen her carbon footprint, Cayne decided to move downtown. “Commuting back and forth from the Upper East Side, I realized I was missing important things at home or at work, and I wanted to integrate those two pieces of my life,” she says. “Plus, I really love the West Village.” Although it had “amazing bones,” her new house required considerable efforts to transform it into the warm, inviting Manhattan home it is today. Working alongside her architect, Cayne selected everything—each finish, paint color, and piece of furniture—without the help of an interior decorator. “I don’t have a background in design,” she says, “but I do know what I like.”
Cayne immediately fell in love with her new house’s northern and southern exposures. “Every floor has front-to-back light,” she says, “so you never feel like you’re in this random dark space.”
An Ellsworth Kelly canvas adds graphic definition to a quiet corner of the living room.
“I always love black and white with a splash of color,” says Cayne, “whether it’s green herbs on a table or a vase filled with pink peonies.”
When Cayne began this project last fall, she knew exactly what she wanted, from the low George Smith sofas and the open kitchen shelving to the finish of the flooring. “I had a leg of a stool from my old house that I literally walked around with for days because it was exactly the floor color I wanted,” she says. The one missing piece that she sought out for months—until a snowy day at a Paris flea market—was a chandelier for the living room. After hours of searching the stalls, she finally spotted a fixture hidden around a corner. “For a while, I’d felt so close to finding the right one,” she says. “But when I found this chandelier, I realized I’d never even been close. This one is perfect.”
Black grout gives white subway tiles graphic punch!
The focal point of the home’s first floor, Cayne’s kitchen opens onto a spacious back garden. “The whole idea behind this house is to feed and nourish people,” she says of the gathering place.
Hydrangea White In Glass Pedestal
Wheeler 3L Natural Iron/Brass/Glass Pendant
Serving Bowl Large 10” - Vera Wang Naturals Chalk
Harpoon Bar Stool
“I like to pretend I’m a line cook when my kids are sitting on the stools and I’m cooking,” says Cayne.
Silver Leaf Queen Anne Mirror
Mirror Image Home
Coffee Foliage In Glass Odd Bubble
Holt High Back Office Chair White PU
Mark Gold Leaf Console
An oversize inspiration board serves as a homemade installation.
Cayne’s inspiration board showcases cherished family photos, letters and drawings from her children, and a collection of favorite quotations.
Cayne’s work space blends styles (a Louis XVI mirror, a Moroccan rug, a pair of sleek black chairs) to create an atmosphere of eclectic comfort.
Shelves house vignettes composed of Cayne’s favorite books and artworks.
Waverly Gold Mirror
3D Centerpiece Ivory Belgian Chintz Linen Pillow
Brices Sterling Etched Glass/Vintage Brass Lamp
Maya Boucle Throw
Jill Rosenwald Fallon FAL-1009 Ivory Flat Weave Area Rug
Ornate French Side Table
When it came time to choose a color for her bedroom, Cayne surprised herself. “I never thought I’d cover my walls in black Venetian plaster, but with my big white bed, it’s not severe at all.”
Navy/Ivory Zig Cotton Dhurrie Rug
Serena & Lily
“I love block prints and vivid Indian and Moroccan interiors,” says Cayne, who used a woven Moroccan rug to give pared-down personality to her dressing room.
Natural wood and terra-cotta accents warm up the bathroom’s cool palette.
Cayne refers to her Goldendoodle, Ivy, as her sixth child.
Navy Border Frame Bath Towels
Serena & Lily
Cayne’s West Village townhouse.
Cayne grows lettuce, berries, and sunflowers in her rooftop garden.