By Bill Lawyer

According to their “elevator speech,” Home For Zen is a boutique green home renovation and eco-healthy interior design company, with a unique focus on the wellness of children. It’s also the passion of founders Annalise Stack and Ania Dunlop.

The company was established recently to help clients in Westchester and environs create beautiful, non-toxic, and eco-friendly homes that are an extension of their healthy lifestyle.

While Zen is associated with contemplation, there is an active side to it, too — providing tools to build a better life.

Stack asks potential clients to “Think of your house as a living body. Our goal is to make your home green, healthy, and sustainable, through careful selection of materials, thoughtful use of space, and respect for the needs of the people living in them.”

According to Dunlop and Stack, “A green home is no longer a luxury. It is a necessity to protect the health of our children and families.”

Their business also includes providing help to parents in selecting healthy choices in the foods they eat and the ways they are prepared.

Stack has been involved in Rye environmental causes and businesses for many years. She has an MBA in Sustainability & LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) projects and an expert in creating home environments that support and encourage wellness.

Dunlop has an MBA and years of experience as a certified Holistic Health Coach. She is well known as the founder of the “Rye Moms” Facebook site.

The two women met at a yoga class, and soon discovered that their daughters were in the same grade at school. “As parents of children with chronic asthma and allergies, we linked their health issues with environmental toxins. And before long we started talking about starting a business to address those issues.”

While the green homes movement has been around for over 20 years, many people planning to renovate an existing home or build a new one may still not be aware of how easy it is to buy and use safe products and construction materials, note the dynamic duo.

“People often don’t realize that their houses are making them sick or that they can take action to make their home environment healthier and greener,” proclaims their website.

Stack and Dunlop use the analogy of their products and services to be an umbrella that protects people from being rained on by seemingly harmless toxic products. That includes chemicals found in kitty litter.

A typical day for the Home For Zen partners finds them going to a client’s home to collect air quality samples, mailing them to a testing laboratory, going to a product supplier to select samples, and then meeting with clients to go over their samples. Near the end of the day, they might work on the six-page report that they present to the client, with the results of the testing and a list of recommendations.

Another service they provide is public presentations regarding the principles and practices of using wellness concepts for healthy homes. They recently presented a program to a financial corporation in New York City.

Dunlop and Stack admit that they are already working eight-hour days, thanks to the help of afterschool babysitters.

Within five years, Stack projects that they will have ten to 15 employees, an office in Greenwich or Rye, a franchise operation, and a book covering all the aspects of their company’s mission. As far as she can see, they have cornered the local market on their services.

For further information, visit

Annalise Stack and Ania Dunlop, founders of Home for Zen

Andy Bodnar, far right, and his Rock2Rebuild team produced an amazingly authentic replica of a 1973 Allman Brothers-Grateful Dead concert to raise funds for hurricane relief and Habitat for Humanity October 22 at, where else, Sheno<rock> Shore Club.

  • Photo by Tom McDermott


Longtime Westchester Country Club golf pro John Kennedy received the PGA of America’s Bill Strausbaugh Award for his contributions as a mentor to more than 100 local pros over the years and for community service.

President Paul Levy, at right, presented Kennedy with the national award at the PGA’s 101st Annual Meeting November 1 in Austin.

Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America


By Janice Llanes Fabry

Zaltas Gallery just celebrated its 22nd anniversary at 900 East Boston Post Road in Mamaroneck. The popular jewelry store may have had its genesis as owner Kathy Zaltas’ hobby, but in the last two decades it has earned a reputation as a trendsetting fine jeweler.

“Our story continues and we’ve morphed from craft jewelry in the 1980s into the custom and bridal jeweler that we are today,” remarked Kathy, who parlayed a heart pin her husband Fred gave her 40 years ago into a thriving business.

Today, the longtime Rye resident works closely at the shop with her daughter Rebecca and makes her colleagues and customers feel like family. “The biggest thing for me is the trust. Our clients trust us. From the beginning, I wanted people to feel they’re coming into my home and I like to get to know them,” she said.

As a matter of fact, Kathy is all about stories, those of her clients and her jewelry. She absolutely sparkles when relating how she recently created an engagement ring and a wedding band utilizing diamonds that belonged to a bride’s mother and grandmother. Then she went on to design a matching wedding band for the groom, complete with a hidden diamond he had inherited.

Zaltas’ bridal selections include Michael Bondanza’s exquisite platinum and gold pieces. The collection can be viewed online in a new and improved website that will be ready mid-November. Brides-to-be can sign up on a bridal registry that provides discounts as well.

“We have a beautiful bridal collection on hand,” noted Kathy. “However, if a bride sees something she likes, our goal is to totally accommodate her. I can get anyone any diamond and can meet any budget, as long as the diamond is beautiful and brilliant.”

In addition, Zaltas Gallery carries the masterfully handcrafted lines of top designers, from Kwiat diamond jewelers and John Apel’s vivid gemstones to the Italian Vergano line of heavy gold pieces. In time for the holidays, the shop will hold exclusive trunk shows, featuring the special collections of Yossi Harari and Alex Sepkus.

The store also offers the mid-range artisan lines of Anzie and Robindira. Moreover, it showcases the innovative jewelry of new and local designers, such as Sophie Ratner’s light and airy creations, ReRe Corcoran’s one-of-a-kind pieces, Evocateur’s gold and silver leaf cuffs with vintage maps, and Me & Em’s charms for charity.

Zaltas just trademarked “detox your jewelry box.” Bring in your old or broken pieces of jewelry and the gallery’s team will give them a makeover, whether it’s rhodium plating dull pieces or creating new settings for diamonds and gems.

The shop’s “spa treatments” include repair, cleaning, restringing, and refurbishing, as well as re-purposing, redesigning, and creating new pieces from those in your jewelry box. In addition, the jeweler herself is making house calls. If customers would rather not bring out their jewelry, Kathy is offering one-hour, at-home consultations.

“Jewelry has a lot of meaning. Whether it’s a diamond necklace or a charm bracelet, they tell a story and I love people’s stories,” she said.

The store also carries plenty of gift items by Michael Aram and Juliska, along with baby gift baskets. Radio Flyer wagons can be filled with sterling silver porridge cups, monogrammed sterling silver brushes, enamel baby bangles, plush stuffed animals, socks, and blocks. In the next few weeks, check off the holiday shopping list with Zaltas Gallery hand-blown glass Christmas ornaments and handmade Hanukkah decorations.

To make a private appointment, call 777-7304 or visit

Zaltas Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10-5:30 and Saturday,10–5.


Owner Kathy Zaltas wearing Yossi Harari baroque South Sea pearls with handmade 18-karat gold and diamond ornament

Vergano gold and diamond bangle and cuff bracelets made in Italy



The Jay Heritage Center is holding its annual Birthday Bash and Holiday Open House December 9 from 2-5. The festivities will feature <a capella> singing with the Yale Spizzwinks, candlelit tours, and plenty of seasonal activities and treats.

 Free for JHC members, $10 non-members.

At a board meeting last month, SPRYE officers approved an additional service for seniors. They formalized the role of the new Care Team, whose role is to help members who are temporarily confined to home or hospital. Depending on an individual’s situation, SPRYE volunteers will pay visits, deliver groceries and essentials, and regularly communicate with distant family members.

The local aging-in-place organization, serving Rye and neighboring communities, is always expanding its network of care.

For more information, call Betti Weimersheimer at 481-5706 or go to