The Dakota’s gothic glory may be a little unsettling, but there’s nothing intimidating about Bendet’s living room. “I wanted a place that looked grown-up and maintained all the elegance of the building, but was also fun for friends and family,” Bendet says. “I didn’t want a big apartment that was made for adults and where you couldn’t jump on the sofa. My kids do cartwheels and flips here. I wanted to feel alive in it.” Indeed, one look at the garden green velvet sofa reveals a bold blue sliding down its back.
Originally, it was two residences that wanted to be combined: One had an 80s disco vibe; the other had what Bendet swears was “practically a dirt floor.” As much as possible, she has tried to restore the original atmosphere of the place. “All the fireplaces had to be restored and I wanted to recreate the beautiful mahogany woodwork.”
Bendet worked with her friend, interior designer Louise Kugelberg, to bring the space back to life. “I guess it’s my own version of an international style,” says Kugelberg, explaining the home’s eclecticism. “There are Venetian chandeliers, Spanish rugs from the 1930s that came from the Ritz Hotel in Madrid, contemporary paintings by Francesco Clemente and Jorge Galindo – and some by my husband Julian Schnabel – and a 12-foot dining table made of hand-painted tiles by Lola Schnabel.
This bronze table is stunning, but your eye can’t help but wander to other artworks: On a corner wall is a series of 12 color lithographs by Claes Oldenburg; the living room hosts a monumental fresco by Francesco Clemente. Bendet laughs that unsuspecting friends sometimes mistake the Princess comb for another piece of art: “‘Could it be by the Haas brothers?'” they ask. No, I tell them, it’s for the cat.
The favorite room is designed to resemble a circus tent, and its blue and white striped motif has multiple meanings: Eisner and his family own Portsmouth Football Club in England, and these are the colors of the football team; Bendet’s first big hit as a fashion designer was the striped bell bottom pants. It’s where her daughters hang out and watch TV, and it’s accessible through one door that leads to that opulent living room, another to her husband’s study. “It’s his man cave,” says Bendet, entering the space. “We convinced him to have embossed leather on the walls and a leather sofa, but his aesthetic is a bit more austere. It was really important that the rooms didn’t just reflect what I liked – I wanted it to feel like it was all shared by our family.”
Her daughters’ bedrooms similarly display their own fierce individualism. Athena Bell hates pink, so her room is blue, with a loft bed and ladder – to the delight of any six-year-old – and even a chair covered in teddy bears, left over from Nicky Hilton’s baby shower that took place in an apartment a few weeks ago . “Scarlett wanted a four-poster bed,” Bendet explains. “Eloise, of course, loved her printed wallpaper, but then she told me she wanted her room to be all white – it was a teenage moment – and I was like, ‘Too bad! Your quilt matches your wallpaper!” I trimmed the bed skirt to match the yellow flowers!”