How a Gatsby-Era Mansion Lured a Top Designer Out of New York City (2024)

Long before Alfredo Paredes had set foot in the Long Island, New York, residence he would come to call home, he knew it was the one—and he was prepared. “I had a Saint Joseph in my back pocket,” Paredes says, referring to the Catholic figure who is said to look after homebuyers. “I swear it works.”

How a Gatsby-Era Mansion Lured a Top Designer Out of New York City (1)

In the great room of Alfredo Paredes and Brad Goldfarb’s home in Locust Valley, New York, the ceiling is original. The sofa is by George Sherlock, the armchairs (in foreground) are custom, and the pendants are by Jamb.

To coax Paredes, an ELLE DECOR A-List designer, and his husband, writer Brad Goldfarb, and their two children, Carolina and Sebastian, away from the sun-drenched East Village duplex they called home, the property would have to be special. Built in 1929, the mansion is the work of one of Paredes’s favorite architects, Harrie T. Lindeberg, known for crafting graceful country estates for wealthy New Yorkers in the early 20th century. (The address, in Locust Valley, is where F. Scott Fitzgerald found inspiration for The Great Gatsby’s East Egg.) Clad in stately brick, topped with ceramic roof tiles, and set back on a prime five-acre lot that abuts a nature preserve, the home retains a cottagey feel, despite clocking in at 11,000 square feet. “I hate to say I was born to live here,” Paredes says. “But I was born to renovate her. She called to me.”

“I was born to renovate this house. She called to me.” —Alfredo Paredes

Paredes made his name at Ralph Lauren, where he worked for more than three decades, rising to executive vice president and chief creative officer. He was instrumental in developing the cinematic atmospheres at the brand’s stores and hospitality projects, notably the regal Madison Avenue mansion and the beloved equestrian fantasy of the Polo Bar, in Manhattan, and the soigné eatery Ralph’s. In 2019 he opened his eponymous studio, working across residential and commercial projects, including homes for celebrity clients and, recently, the buzzy Brooklyn restaurant Sailor.

Tour This 1929 Stately Brick Mansion with a Cottagey Vibe

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Paredes closed on the home in the spring of 2021 and worked on renovations over the course of the next year or so. “The bones were perfect, but she had seen better days,” he says. “You got the impression the home had had a more glamorous period in its life.” To that end, Paredes and Goldfarb focused their energy on restoring it to its former glory—repainting rooms, resurfacing floors, touching up elegant moldings—and less on drastically reconfiguring what had captivated them in the first place.

The floor plan stayed intact, save for a reimagining of the central great room, which is now the heart of the house. Thought to have once been an art studio for the original owner, Arm & Hammer heir Frederic Edwin Church (no relation to the artist of the same name, of the famous Hudson River School painters), the vast room, with its soaring vaulted ceiling, now serves as an open kitchen, casual dining room, and family den.

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The dining room table and chairs are custom, the pendant is by Isamu Noguchi, and the sconce by Paul Ferrante. The wallcovering is by Fine & Dandy Co., the rug by Sacco Carpet, and the curtains are in a Cowtan & Tout fabric.

The history and architecture of the house—a pastiche of American and English styles, or, as Goldfarb says, “You can tell he just had fun with it!”—provided Paredes with decorative guardrails as he set about imbuing it with a formal yet modern air. It’s a break from the more offhanded charm of the Shelter Island Victorian where the family spends its summers, and the curated flea-market finds that lined their former penthouse in New York City’s East Village. An aesthetic through line is a grounded, masculine energy; the grand rooms are filled with oversize and sophisticated furniture pieces, many from Paredes’s namesake collection, like the creamy tasseled sofas and armchairs in his living room that evoke Old Hollywood opulence and remind him of the Chateau Marmont. “I never sat down with a mood board,” he explains. “We just assembled it over time.”

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The coverlet in the primary bedroom is by Hollywood at Home, the custom headboard is in a Rogers & Goffigon mohair velvet, and the throw pillow is by RH, Restoration Hardware. The photograph is by Richard Phibbs.

Drama and gravitas come from the use of elemental materials: Sumptuous wood tones, expressively veined marbles, iron railings, rustic leathers, and weathered brick tiles abound. But there are moments of restrained whimsy, too, such as the tapestry-like wallpaper from Fine & Dandy Co. in the dining room, crowned by an Isamu Noguchi lantern; and the trompe l’oeil paintings left behind by the home’s original owner in the three-season sunroom. Alluringly executed tableaux provide cozy counterpoints to the architecture’s more grandiose scale. “I wanted a winter place because I hate the cold,” Paredes says. “I hate winter. But when it gets dark at four o’clock you come in here and light a fire. The vibes of the house just feel good.”

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This story originally appeared in the April 2024 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE

How a Gatsby-Era Mansion Lured a Top Designer Out of New York City (2024)


Where was Gatsby's house? ›

West Egg and East Egg

The location of Gatsby's home in West Egg is symbolic in itself. Fitzgerald created two fictional neighborhoods on Long Island for The Great Gatsby - West Egg and East Egg- based on the real locations known as Cow Neck and Great Neck.

Who is the husband of Alfredo Paredes? ›

Brad Ian Goldfarb and Alfredo Victor Paredes were married Thursday at the couple's apartment in New York. The Rev. Cynthia Burke, a minister ordained by All Faiths Seminary International in New York, officiated.

What is the significance of Gatsby's mansion? ›

Gatsby's mansion symbolizes two broader themes of the novel. First, it represents the grandness and emptiness of the 1920s boom: Gatsby justifies living in it all alone by filling the house weekly with "celebrated people." Second, the house is the physical symbol of Gatsby's love for Daisy.

What mansion inspired The Great Gatsby? ›

Beacon Towers at Sands Point, New York

The Great Gatsby Mansion of Jay Gatsby. Demolished late 1940s. This house that is often thought of to be the model for the mansion of Jay Gatsby was a house built by Alva Vanderbilt Belmont.

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