I don’t like boring; she doesn’t like boring,” says designer Ghislaine Viñas of her longtime client and friend Paige West, owner of this “modern, graphic, and wacky” Tribeca house. West was Viñas’s first client when she started her practice, and she designed West’s office space in the Starrett-Lehigh Building in 1999, followed by her Federal townhouse in Greenwich Village. Then West moved down to this house, which Viñas has now decorated twice.
West originally bought the 15,000-square-foot, six-story former warehouse 14 years ago with her then-husband, John Keeler. Viñas had teamed up with architecture firm Joe McMillan’s DDG on remaking it. Originally, there were two units, which later came in handy when the couple split up. Keeler and his second wife lived on the first three floors, and West lived upstairs with Christopher Cooper, to whom she is now married. Their children moved back and forth.
“Everybody knew our situation,” West says of the happy, if unconventional, arrangement. “We were even approached about a television show.”
When her ex “finally moved out, that was an opportunity for Coop and I to redo the house so that it was ours.”
West, an art collector and curator, went to college intending to be an artist but ended up working in business. Later, she decided to combine her interests by studying the business of art at Christie’s and in NYU’s arts-administration program.
Her father, Alfred West, founded the investment firm SEI. In 1996, she started a program to decorate the company’s offices with works drawn from the family’s 3,100-piece art collection, some items from which are used in this house. In 1999, she founded the online art-sales platform Mixed Greens (which later opened a space in Chelsea).
“I closed Mixed Greens for what I am developing now,” West says, describing the massive museum project she has been working on with the architecture firm LO-TEK, which will house part of the West Collection in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. West bought the Otis Elevator warehouse there as well as an adjacent vacant lot that she is planning to transform into public green space and a sculpture garden.
Back in New York, her house is now united. “I think I have pushed her comfort zone. We can definitely hang art on the wallpaper,” West says of her synergy with Viñas. “But one thing I want to stress is that Ghislaine and I very much design the space we love and then I put the art in. Ghislaine says it’s like the icing on the cake.”
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