Often referred to as “uptown” by the locals who live there, Harlem is heralded for its landmarks, rich history and distinct character. It’s why many people, like actress Tamara Tunie, currently starring in the Sundance original series “The Red Road,” and her husband, jazz singer Gregory Generet, decided it was where they were going to make their home.
Widely known for such shows as “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue” and the long-running soap opera “As the World Turns,” Tunie has lived in the city since the mid-80s. For both her and Generet, it’s the “place to be.”
“I have always loved living uptown,” Tunie explains. Being there for such a long time she’s seen many changes – some good, some not so good and gets upset when she sees the rich history and character of a community disregarded.
Committed to living in New York despite having many friends and colleagues venture out to Los Angeles, Tunie saw their current home and wanted to buy it while she and Generet were dating. Generet took a look at the house and all of its potential, fell in love with it and said yes. Marriage for the two came a few years later
After purchasing the brownstone 20 years ago, the couple knew a lot of work lay ahead.
“Built in 1893, the footprint had not changed in over 100 years,” explains Tunie. Major renovations included gutting out and putting in all new infrastructure, electrical, plumbing … “the works,” she recalls. Despite the intensive job they faced, the fact that they were only the third owners of a home with such history was something she describes as “magical.”
“The wonderful thing about buying this house with Gregory is that we had the same vision. We knew we wanted to bring it back to its original glory and stick with the period in which the house was built,” the actress says. The couple’s love of antiques led them to agree that they wanted to create a grand, “traditional comfort” style home that would be perfect for both entertaining and casual comfort.
It’s not surprising to hear that the couple’s favorite room in the house is where so many people gravitate – the kitchen. They lived in the house for 10 years before deciding on a renovation project for the room, which gave them plenty of time to carefully consider all of its planning, right down to every last detail.
Tunie describes her husband as a “fantastic self-taught chef who can do anything,” and so they built a kitchen suited for his needs. The counters were even made two inches higher than most kitchens because both are tall. After the addition of the atrium and the deck, the room really became the center of their home.
Like any happily married couple, Tunie and Generet each have their own respective spaces to retreat to when looking for some quiet time to work. She made her office in the basement, and, like most men, he turned the den into what many refer to as the “man cave” (although Tunie admits to spending a good amount of time in there too).
While oftentimes celebrities showcase their beautifully decorated homes and open up their doors to magazines and cameras, this is only the third time the couple has allowed their home to be showcased. In addition to being featured in the New York Daily News, Tunie and Generet’s brownstone was also featured in a holiday episode for HGTV in December 2012. “David Tutera did a holiday party for his first television show and that was the only time we had done anything like that,” says Tunie.
Tunie describes her decorating style as traditional – and, it’s all her. “No interior designer [here], just me,” she says. “I painted every room myself.” She shares her advice for others who are looking to put their own stamp on the place they call home. “Go with what you like and what makes you feel comfortable,” she encourages. “It should reflect who you are as a couple.”
Next up for the couple is the renovation of the dressing area between the bedrooms – the home boasts five bedrooms in total – and they’re considering redoing the bathrooms to give them a more contemporary feel. When it comes to owning a home says the actress there’s always something to be done!
For Tunie and Generet, that welcoming feeling others get upon entering is what they most treasure. They’ve put their heart and soul into all they’ve done and the fact they’ve had so many friends and family there, all of whom have left much love in their wake is “what home is all about!”