Actress Alysia Reiner may play a tough character on the Netflix hit series Orange is the New Black, but her real-life style is quite the opposite of her TV alter ego's. Inhabitat has been following Alysia and her husband David Alan Basche's eco-conscious Harlem townhouse transformation since 2007, and on our first visit to the home, it was nothing but brick walls and a blank slate. Now, thanks to Dwell on Design NY, we were able to tour the completed residence designed by sustainable architectural firm MontesBuild. The finished product is a bright and airy, loving and peaceful retreat, far from the hustle and bustle of 125th Street. Click through for a tour of the early 20th century restoration.
The historic, three-story Harlem townhouse was a rugged brick-walled structure originally built in 1909. From the very beginning, Alysia and David were in love with the space and hands-on with a green vision for the construction. They aimed to employ ecologically-conscious methods throughout the process, retaining as much of the original structure as possible, including the brick walls. Working within a strict budget and collaborating with MontesBuild Green Street Construction, they were able to design their dream home utilizing bamboo and natural slate flooring, natural light, reclaimed wood from the Hudson Company, and contemporary furnishings.
Architect Nicholas Moons of MontesBuild noted that the design was completely inspired by Alysia and David themselves. “All of what you see here is from Alysia and David,” he says. “One of their requests and their mission was to have an earth-friendly, healthy solution.”
Alysia and David’s style comes with all the essentials of a loving, yet playful home. The master bedroom features a romantic built-in eco fireplace, while fully functioning playful chalkboard paint lines the backs of the staircase for fun family notes. Spiritual details are peppered throughout the space, including serene Buddhist artifacts and statues. The design’s innate peaceful message is uplifting and inspiring at every angle.
Images by Jill Fehrenbacher and Laura Mordas-Schenkein