With pieces from France, Israel, Italy, and beyond, pastry chef Tzurit Or builds a home that feels every bit as true to her spirit as her Boston-based bakery empire.

By Oset Babür
Updated February 19, 2020
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Even if Tzurit Or hadn't spent her 20s as a film producer sourcing props from antique markets in Jaffa, Israel, she still wouldn’t have been the type to furnish her home from a catalog. “Ever since I was 14, I’ve been buying things with stories,” she says, nodding to a wooden Pinocchio model from Italy that now sits perched on her windowsill. “I come from an antique-loving family; my mom once took me to the Bermondsey antique market in London when I was young, and we woke up at 5 a.m. just for that.”

Michael Piazza

An underlying respect for character is a core aspect of Or’s design sensibility. “If walls and floors come with an interesting raw texture or story, I leave them as is. I won’t touch them,” she says. “I use [them] as a base to let life shine through by keeping [the design] fairly simple and clean, with the leading color tone of white and its variations. I love eggshell white—it’s warm.”

Michael Piazza

Every corner of her home in Brookline, Massachusetts, contains treasures from more than three decades of collecting and curation. In the kitchen alone, there’s an antique wooden workbench sourced from Israel; on the ceiling, a copper pot holder suspends 18 pots that were used in a now-shuttered Michelin-starred restaurant in Lyon. On one wall, there’s a 1930s sink Or discovered in Maine, for which she had to get a special variance from the state to hook up with modern-day plumbing. Pieces that don’t fit in one of 16 Tatte (pronounced like "latte") bakeries across the greater Boston area, like a rolling brass staircase that now serves as a bookcase or a 30-quart Hobart stand mixer, find homes here.

Or took on a five-month gut renovation using a construction team that specializes in restoring old houses, and her design sensibility made it possible to create a space that bears an unmistakable resemblance to the bakery’s elegant yet cozy aesthetic. She installed Tatte’s iconic orb-like light fixtures and checkered cement tiles in her own kitchen and describes the process of sourcing items for both the bakeries and her home as a labor of love. “I carried all of the light fixtures in our Charles Street bakery in my suitcase from a trip home to Tel Aviv,” she recalls. “I have close relationships with five antique dealers in the U.S., and when they get something interesting, they just text me.”

Michael Piazza

La Marzocco Linea home espresso machine ($4,900, la
marzoccousa.com); Wolf gas range ($6,980, ajmadison.com) and Zephyr hood ($999, ajmadison.com)

Amidst these precious found pieces, Or has scattered a few new purchases. The minimalist Sub-Zero fridge serves as a piece of furniture as much as a way to keep food cold, and she chose a six-burner Wolf gas range because it’s “consistent, strong, and easy to work with.” At Tatte, the coffee bar is the heart of the café, and Or brings that spirit home with the same coffee grinder and La Marzocco espresso machine used at the bakeries.

Michael Piazza

Or shares the 2,300 square feet with her daughter and their chocolate Lab, and she looks for opportunities to share it. “I host a staff party for Tatte every year, and this space is perfect to enjoy beautiful food and company.” Smiling, she says: “This is the first house where I’ve lived in the United States that actually feels like home.”

Recipes:

Gluten-Free Triple-Chocolate Coconut Krembos

Michael Piazza

Wild Mushroom Galette

Michael Piazza

Cinnamon Roses

To learn more about how to make Or's iconic take on cinnamon rolls, click here.

Michael Piazza