Deconstructing Offices

Inside Geri Pell’s Gathering Room

When Geri Pell’s company, Geri Pell & Associates (, changed offices within the former General Foods building at 800 Westchester Avenue in Rye Brook a year ago, the Ameriprise private wealth advisor had a very specific vision for the design of her new digs. She gutted the sterile, corporate-looking space of a former bank office and transformed it into a calming, serene workplace with what she dubbed a Gathering Room.

    “What we do for a living is help people de-stress about their finances,” Pell says. “Therefore, I wanted a spa, zen-like feeling, so we used sea foam, blue, and tan—very muted colors.”

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    This time, she gathers with us—to point out all the details of her favorite space.

Photo by Ken Stabile

Photo by Ken Stabile


1.  “These are pictures from my television appearances. Among them are ones from NBC Nightly News and CNBC, after the 2001 crash.”

2. This door leads to an expansive rooftop deck, where Pell has a table and a pair of chaise lounges. “I love to sit out here and think.”

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3. “This is a Belgian roof tile that was made into a candle holder. I don’t think most people put candles in their offices. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to light them.”

4. “This is my inspiration piece for this room and the office. At an art show in the Hamptons, I met this artist, and fell in love with her work. She came to the office, looked at the colors, and made this piece specifically for the room.”

5. “This table lamp with a bamboo shade gives soft lighting—again, trying for a peaceful ambience. It’s lighted with a CFL bulb; we do a lot of investing in sustainability.”

6. “In keeping with our water theme, the pillow on the chair is made of a beach-and-pebbles pattern. And for the sofa pillows, we selected our ‘brand’ fabric, used throughout the office. It displays Chinese characters—I don’t know exactly what they say, but, to me, they say tranquility, peace, and inspiration.”

7. “I wanted to have a water feature, but I didn’t want to have to maintain it, so we went with this, which looks like a wave. We tried hanging it the other way, but it made everyone dizzy.”

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8. “When I met my husband, he lived in the city, and the tables that today flank our sofa were his end tables. He picked up scraps from a granite place and made the tables himself. We used to have them in our bedroom. I knew I had to use them in here, because they’re just so much more funky than regular end tables.”

9. Inside the bowl is Pell’s “magic wand,” which lights up and makes whimsical sound effects. “I use this to make my clients’ wishes come true.” And sitting behind the bowl is her magic eight ball. “Occasionally we need to consult that!”

10. “This is my downward frog. I have a stress ball and yoga mats, and we’ve held yoga sessions and classes here for anyone on our staff who’s interested.”

11. “The books I have include Hideaways in Italy, Classic Album Covers of the ’60s, and a book on Bruce Springsteen, who you’ll see is a recurring theme throughout the entire office. We have a lot of Bruce here.”

12. “I had to have some kind of real water in here, thus this small tabletop tranquility fountain. I plan on getting a bigger one eventually.”

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