Every day is a party in this downtown New York loft

Photo credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

From ELLE Decor

Shortly after graduating from college, Tatyana Miron Ahlers moved from Boston to Brooklyn and settled with four men in her early twenties. “We could hardly bother throwing the junk mail out the door,” says one of these roommates, Kelefa Sanneh, who now works for the New Yorker. But Ahlers “started bold projects to upgrade the place,” says Sanneh, recalling the arrival of a “beautiful pair of slipper chairs from the 1940s that lived unhappily in our post-collegial crap like exotic animals in a shabby zoo”.

In her next apartment, a wondrous place in Manhattan where a hidden deck was accessed through a kitchen window, she taught all of her coworkers how to easily entertain. Freshly arrived in town, I remember climbing through that window and marveling at their world. While the rest of us drank Popov from red solo mugs that might have been clad with a lemon wedge, Ahlers served wine in crystal mugs that were likely from the Triple Pier Antiques Show. And she had enough of it to go around.

Photo credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

Ahlers has always known how to hold space, mix drinks and people and make everyone feel both fascinated and at home. Her sense of style was sharpened from a young age. She grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, where she and her best friend Zandra Pappas – now her partner in ELLE Decor A-List’s Pappas Miron interior design firm – took their mothers on excursions to designer show homes and property sales. It was then that she refined what she liked and who she is. With her flowing dark hair and her collection of floor-grazing dresses from the 1970s, Ahlers has always been a stylistic anomaly – and evidence of the power to create lasting personal style even in a rapidly changing world.

Photo credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

“I don’t care about origin and preciousness,” she says. “Besides art, I don’t collect valuable things – I put something from a junkyard on my coffee table. And I never try to bring it all together. I like the juxtaposition of the modern and the old, because if each of the things is something I love, they are somehow united. “

The story goes on

It takes skill and trust to decorate in this way. An enduring belief that the way a room resonates has as much to do with its contents as it does with the type of life it allows for. “Customers never get the full expression of Tatyana’s vision because they’re never that daring,” notes Pappas. “You choose the safer choice. And Tatyana never chooses the safer choice. “

Photo credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

Just one example: when Ahlers needed a piece of art large enough to hold a large wall in their living room, she commissioned outsider artist Earl Swanigan to paint a family portrait and just sent a snapshot for inspiration. The resulting canvas, depicting her family as a group of cats, pulls the space together. “It was risky,” she admits, “but I didn’t mean to tell him what to do. And he gave me a great price. I love it.”

Photo credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

According to Pappas, Ahlers has “X-ray vision” when it comes to redefining space. “She sees through poor fixtures and hideous paintwork,” says Pappas. This talent came in handy when Ahlers and her husband, as lawyers, rented a loft in a cast-iron building from the 1880s across from New York City Hall. If you had seen walls in primary colors and Formica cabinets, some would have gone away. But Ahlers noticed the high ceilings and large windows and reached for them.

Photo credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

When the owners decided not to return from Europe, the couple bought the room and started raising their family there. But then Ahlers learned that she was pregnant with their third child, and she and her husband realized that they would need more than two bedrooms to accommodate their growing brood. “It was either trying to make enough noise to get the neighbors out,” she jokes, “or trying to find another place to live.”

Photo credit: Stephen Kent Johnson

Of course, she chose the earlier strategy. A few parties later, she learned the adjoining apartment was for sale and bought it, despite discovering that the building’s 24-inch brick walls meant the two rooms could only be bridged by a hallway at the entrance. Ahlers’ solution was to move the family’s private quarters into one apartment and use the second room for entertainment purposes. “I turned the kitchen into a wet bar in this one,” she says.

While space may be sacred in Manhattan, it only seems appropriate that Ahlers has practically an entire apartment devoted to hosting. For them, a home is not a home unless it is full of people. Although COVID has limited her passion for entertainment, she doesn’t let that put her off: “I still set the table, buy lots of flowers and order to take away to make a party with my family. Maybe that’s why I had three children? “

Image Credit: Hearst Owned

This story originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of ELLE Decor. SUBSCRIBE TO

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