space of the week

My Sister’s Refuge

Tonne Goodman and I shared a room growing up, and today, by sheer coincidence, we live around the corner from one another.

Tonne’s favorite place: the corner of the living room. Painting by David Hacker. Photo: Tonne Goodman
Tonne’s favorite place: the corner of the living room. Painting by David Hacker. Photo: Tonne Goodman

Twenty years ago, when my sister, Tonne Goodman, asked me if I thought she (and her then-husband) should buy a dingy duplex whose rooms were connected by a sad spindly circular staircase, I said, “No!” Thankfully, she didn’t listen to me — she sensed from the first time she saw it that she could make the space into the ravishing home it is today. She worked with the architect Michael Watson, who honored the architectural details and opened up the majestic proportions of the rooms — including a working fireplace in each one. The living room is one of my favorite rooms anywhere, with its elegant French doors facing a huge tree that creates a green vale of light in the summer months. The fire goes for any and all gatherings. The room has a black and white palette — Tonne was schooled in her mentor Diana Vreeland’s aesthetic of “Elegance is refusal.”

The living room. Photo: Tonne Goodman
Her living-room coffee table is always groaning with books and usually features her favorite red tulips (a sign that she does allow some color to seep in here and there). Photo: Tonne Goodman
The dining room is centered by a table that can expand with the addition of two leaves. Tonne bought it at a church fair. The windows have their original folding shutters. Tiger, Tonne’s cat, can be seen on patrol here. Photo: Tonne Goodman
Over the years, whenever Tonne has gone to Paris to cover the fashion collections, she has ferried back table settings from Café de Flore, where you can buy linens and glasses. She also carts back dishes from Astier de Villate and treasures from the Paris flea market. The knives seen here are from Perceval. Photo: Tonne Goodman
In one corner of the dining room, there is a Mariano Fortuny lamp, a framed drawing Tonne made of our brother Ed, and a portrait of Tonne by Bruce Weber that he did when they were on location in Paris many years ago. The line drawing of a battleship is by Tonne’s son Cole — and Evie did the abstract gradation. Tiger’s cat scratch can be seen in the foreground. Photo: Tonne Goodman
Evie also made the Giacometti-inspired sculpture, which has pride of place in the kitchen. Photo: Tonne Goodman
The entrance hall has a working fireplace and above, a poster of a photograph by Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein Tonne styled when she worked as the vice president of advertising for the designer. The dictionary on the stand has been in our family for as long as I can remember. Photo: Tonne Goodman
We all have hoarded our mother’s watercolors, and Tonne has some of her best painted screens from the Central Park series. We each also have a pair of our father’s shoe trees. Over the years, just as when we were little building fantasy houses on the beach, or in the forest, I have taken delight in going over to Tonne’s house. I am counting the days until I can again. Stay safe, check in on your neighbors, and do what you can to support those who need it most. Photo: Tonne Goodman

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