Tour a stately Georgian home in upstate New York

Alyse Archer-Coité knows design. This is evident in her work: as an editor at several independent print and digital art and interior design titles; as the former program director of the defunct architecture and urbanism incubator A/D/O in Brooklyn; and now at Apple, where she leads research for the tech titan’s industrial design team.

What she didn’t know until recently was what it would mean to move full-time from Brooklyn to the hamlet of Poughquag, New York, two hours north of the city, aside from the obvious allure of space and fresh air. “We had a foot of snow the day after I got the keys,” says Archer-Coité, recounting her beginnings in her stately 1770’s Georgian retreat with a hipped roof and elegant red bricks. “When the snow stopped, I realized I didn’t have a shovel. It was a very quick introduction to country life,” she adds, now laughing but with an expression that suggests the story is only funny in hindsight.

A vase passed down from Archer-Coité’s grandmother sits on a vintage dining table surrounded by Louie Isaaman Jones chairs. The handwoven jute rug is from India, the pendant is from Ikea and the wall paint is Wimborne White from Farrow & Ball.

Francesco Langese

Before the storm, Archer-Coité had enlisted two friends — like-minded “city-ots,” she jokes, using a local term that’s not exactly affectionate — to help her settle in overnight. Since their car was snowed into the garage and there was no way to dig themselves out, they decided to walk. Along the route, her nearest neighbors offered to plow her driveway; They got talking about the house and a lasting friendship developed.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God… is this the start of my Gray Gardens?'”

Making real connections easily is something of a gift for Archer-Coité, a talent she seems to have inherited from her mother Gloria, who lives in Albany an hour and a half north. It was Gloria who encouraged Archer-Coité to consider the anchoring benefits of a country home away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But it was disheartening to leave the warm embrace of familiar connections in a aging house that would take a great deal of time and effort to maintain. “The buyer’s regret came pretty quickly,” says Archer-Coité. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m a single person and I’m moving to a remote place. Is this the beginning of my Gray Gardens?’”

alyse archer coité next to her mother, seated on the sofa, with a calico cat, a brick fireplace with a wood surround and objets d'art on the mantel, and a tall, slender wooden sculpture on a pedestal in the corner

Alyse Archer-Coité in Totême and her mother Gloria with Archer-Coité’s long haired calico Pip in the living room.

Francesco Langese

A friend reminded her that she had traveled to the biggest cities in the world on business and suggested that when she got home the house would be a place to spend a weekend with friends instead quick something to drink or eat typical of the city. This conversation led Archer-Coité to question her ideas about family and community in new ways. And the house complicated their answers. “I was like, ‘Who are your people really? Who is really your tribe? Who do you want to host? Who will come?’ You can just tell how much geography matters in the community,” says Archer-Coité. Interactions with close friends who are willing to make the journey and embark on a weekend together felt “more nourishing,” she adds. “The city is a sugar high.”

two single beds in green-painted wooden frames with patterned bedspreads and pillows, a table with a lamp between them, lime green paneling on the wall behind, and a brick wall with a large photograph

The guest beds are painted Duck Green by Farrow & Ball and fitted with Jeanette Farrier for John Derian duvets. Moroccan rug (under beds) is by Form Atelier and wall colors are Shaded White and Ash Gray by Farrow & Ball. Photographs are by Hiroshi Sugimoto (over bed) and Robbie Lawrence (on brickwork).

Francesco Langese

The house, with the four by four plan and central staircase typical of Georgian houses of the period, was built by the local Noxon family as a tavern a few years before the American Revolution and later became a Noxon family homestead. Over the years, it passed into the hands of Noxon descendants, eventually becoming the fixer-upper project of a couple who embraced the house’s period charms (and flaws). In 2020, when the pair sought a buyer, they felt they had found the right manager for the Archer-Coité site, who they suspected would keep the home as “strange” as they intended, rather than his to smooth rough edges.

Weekends with friends at home feel “more nutritious. The city is a sugar high.”

With “nourishing” interactions as her goal, Archer-Coité’s urban and relaxed decor is a sort of mise en place: To play against the home’s symmetry and complement its original details, she layered furniture and lighting in a mix of mid-century and Modernist sensibilities alongside contemporary antiques and decorative items. For example, you can turn a corner and find a heavy metal chair with a surreal flair on a section of wide red pine floor that originally belonged to the house; On the second level of the library, an elegant Vitsœ shelving system stands a few feet away from an economical floor lamp with a rough-hewn wooden base.

A living room has two upholstered chairs and a sofa in a similar beige fabric and a glass cocktail table with books and a vase of lilacs, a jute rug and a large framed photograph of a man standing in water

The living room’s 1980s glass cocktail table is flanked by vintage club chairs and a Pierre Paulin Ligne Roset sofa. The stool is by Alvar Aalto, the wooden table lamp is vintage and the Achille Castiglioni and Pio Manzu pendant lamp is by Flos. The photo is by Joshua Woods.

Francesco Langese

On a recent visit, two high-back Shaker-style chairs were installed like artworks in the entrance hall, mounted upside down on the pegs of a wooden wall shelf that Archer-Coité found in an upstairs cupboard during a cleaning tour. “It’s very clear that the house is old,” she says, noting that she didn’t feel the need to emphasize that in the furniture and accessories. “And if you forget, the occasional mouse will remind you.”

Archer-Coité’s collection of contemporary photography — which includes works by Joshua Woods, Shaniqwa Jarvis, and Kate Friend — also helps avoid potential treasures. Rather than collecting with a specific aesthetic goal, she says, she seeks pieces that bring her joy, even if she doesn’t always immediately know where they end up. “I moved the photo of Shaniqwa Jarvis [of a swimmer] in every room of the house,” she says wryly. It now runs her home office, where she says it feels right to have a friend’s work on her shoulder.

may 2022 cover elle decor

Styled by Bebe Howorth

This story originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE TO

This content is created and maintained by a third party and imported to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may find more information about this and similar content on


Leave a Comment