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Step Inside LoveShackFancy Founder Rebecca Hessel Cohen’s NYC Home

Step inside the West Village townhouse that is home to LoveShackFancy Founder Rebecca Hessel Cohen.

This year marks 10 years since Rebecca Hessel Cohen started her elaborate maximalist clothing and lifestyle business called LoveShackFancy. The brand is known for its frilly and floral designs, celebrating romance at a time when many designs are simple and minimal. Rebecca and her husband Todd Cohen, who is also her business partner, worked on renovating a townhouse in West Village more than five years ago. The renovation was a grand and passionate project, with their home now filled with 154 old decorative light fixtures.

Rebecca and Todd, both born and raised in New York City’s Upper East Side, had been living in a rented townhouse in the same neighbourhood for a few years after becoming parents. When they found their dream home, it was basically an empty shell. The couple were unsure of what needed to be done, but they knew they wanted to purchase the house!

Soon after closing the deal, they started renovations. “I had built new buildings before,” he says, noting that he develops real estate in addition to working alongside his wife. “But I’d never done anything of this scale—for my loved ones. I didn’t realize how intense it all would be.” On Todd’s immediate to-do list: Connect the carriage house to the main structure, install a new staircase, and create a new basement. “The house dates from the late 1800s,” he says, “so you just had to have the nerve to go through with all those changes.”

The couple kicked off plans with the Paris-based design firm Gilles & Boissier, whose architectural designs for the renovation were a chic blend of modern and traditional. “We worked with them to bring in the Parisian aesthetic. We both love all those Haussmannian homes. And through our travels, we knew we always wanted to have a European influence in our home in New York City.”

Another goal was to reimagine the conventions of town house living. “When we lived in our apartment, Rebecca would always complain about doors everywhere,” says Todd. “I made sure things were more open, more flowing spaces. We wanted a staircase that connected the entire house, as opposed to having each floor feel like its own kind of apartment.”

To help realize their vision, the couple enlisted interior designer Benjamin Vandiver, who excitedly dove in. “I told Rebecca that I’d been dying to work with someone who loved flowers and chintz, because no one seems to want to do that anymore,” he says.

Vandiver quickly and deeply invested himself in every detail, whether that meant spending hours and hours with Cohen resolving a quarter inch of molding or meticulously studying the various appliqués on the walls of Le Meurice hotel in Paris on a trip with Hessel Cohen.

Since the couple is also eternally shopping for their fantastical and immersive boutiques—today, there are 17 worldwide—they had a deep repository of furniture and fabrics that could provide inspiration, if not actual furnishings. Still, says Vandiver, they were on the hunt to acquire new pieces—mainly antiques—for this home.

“We just started buying and collecting furniture and mirrors and lighting,” he says. “I was on a mission to buy anything Rebecca would like because we would be able to just get it in, take it into the house during construction, and I’d be like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s perfect,’ or we’d be like, ‘That’s not right for the house; it’s going to a store.’ We truly took a collection of a lifetime and fit it into a house versus picking furniture to suit a room. Infinite options, but that’s who they are.”

The home, therefore, takes on a personality of its own. It is bold and inviting with details that draw you in. There are vintage touches and fanciful elements throughout and we love how everything works together.

 

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