An Upper East Side Townhouse with Impeccable Taste

Haven’s Kitchen, a recreational cooking school, café and event space in the heart of Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, is a destination for home cooks. Founded in 2012 by Alison Cayne—an adjunct food studies professor at NYU and mother of five—the school offers courses on fundamentals (from flavor balancing to knife skills), as well as more specialized topics, including Mexican street food (think avocado and charred-pineapple salad with lime vinaigrette) and vegan and gluten free baking.

“Our students leave here with some new cooking knowledge under their belts,” but also, hopefully, a deeper understanding about their roles in a larger food system,” says Cayne, who recently released her first cookbook, The Haven’s Kitchen Cooking School.

Photo by Bethany Michaela.

Haven’s Kitchen is also a destination for good design. The three-story former carriage house looks more like a dream home than a place of education or business. Natural light pours in through glass entry doors. Fresh-cut flowers top communal dining tables, and marble stairs wind past contemporary art and French film posters. Even the café’s shelves, stocked with packages of Haven’s much-loved granola and honey from a Hudson Valley cooperative, feel more akin to an elegantly arranged pantry than a shop.

The design of Haven’s Kitchen reflects Cayne’s former home, a stately seven-floor townhouse at 10 East 75th Street on the Upper East Side. The 10,000-square-foot house, which was renovated in 2002 by award-winning architect and preservationist Peter Pennoyer and the interior designer Victoria Hagan, is impeccable. A grand spiral staircase (or elevator) leads to seven bedrooms and 11-and-a-half baths, as well as an English basement and a rooftop garden with city views.

The kitchen—which Cayne calls her “happy lab”—features glass-front cabinets, Calacatta white marble countertops, a large island with Pietra Cardosa stone, Viking range and Sub-Zero refrigerator, among other top-of-the-line amenities. “I was pregnant with my fifth child when we moved into the house and needed a kitchen with plenty of counter space, light and a lot of room,” Cayne explains.”It’s one of the best parts of townhouse living.”

Cayne shares top home renovation tips here:

Keep scale and balance in mind.

“Victoria Hagan is the Queen of Scale,” Cayne says. “She knew the ceiling height was super high in the house and helped me choose lighting and furniture to match and keep the rooms balanced. Peter Pennoyer made sure every bathroom has a small vestibule—it threw the balance off of the rooms to have bathrooms right off them. I often asked him if the proportions were like da Vinci’s golden ratio. The rooms feel like you can breathe in them. It’s not a coincidence — it’s great architecture.”

Timelessness is key.

“Peter and Victoria built something to last, that would never be dated. I remember on the upper stairway I wanted to do something concrete and super mod I had seen in an art gallery—they both smiled and said I’d regret it in a few years. It would date the house. And they were so right.”

Let in the light.

“It was very important to all of us that the townhouse never feel cavernous or labyrinthine. Every opportunity to create light and airiness was captured. I think the room on the top floor is the only townhouse room I’ve seen with an unobstructed view.

Let your home reflect who you are. #LiveWhoYouAre

“As much as Victoria and I loved working together, we always kept in both of our minds that this was my family’s home, not a project. Every decision was made with my family’s needs in mind. We were a young, bouncing family—we needed a home that reflected that.”.

For more information about this property, contact Heather Sargent and Caitlin Williams.