The Dakota’s gothic sheen might be a little intimidating, but there’s nothing scary about Bendet’s living room. “I wanted a place that felt mature and retained all the elegance of the building, but was also fun for friends and family,” says Bendet. “I didn’t want a big apartment made for adults and where you can’t jump on the sofa. My children do cartwheels and somersaults here. I wanted it to feel lived in.” Indeed, a glance at the sage green velvet sofa reveals a rich blue trotting across its backrest.
Originally, these were two residences that beg to be combined: one had an ’80s disco vibe; the other had, as Bendet swears, “practically a clay soil”. She has tried as much as possible to recapture the original ambiance of the place. “The fireplaces all needed restoration 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 house’s eclecticism. “There are Venetian chandeliers, 1930s Spanish rugs 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 wooden dining table made from hand-painted tiles by Lola Schnabel .”
This bronze table is stunning, but your eye can’t help but travel to other works of art: on a corner wall is a series of 12 lithographs in colors by Claes Oldenburg; the living room houses a monumental fresco by Francesco Clemente. Bendet laughs that unsuspecting friends sometimes mistake Princess’ scratching post for another piece of art: “‘Could it be from the Haas Brothers?’ they ask me. No, I tell them it’s for the cat.”
A favorite room is said to resemble a circus tent, and its blue and white striped motif has several meanings: Eisner and his family own Portsmouth Football Club in England, and those are the colors of the football team; Bendet’s first major success as a fashion designer was a pair of striped flared trousers. This is where her daughters hang out and watch TV and it is accessed through a door leading to this sumptuous living room and another to her husband’s study. “This is his man cave,” says Bendet and enters this room. “We convinced him to have embossed leather on the walls and a leather couch, but his aesthetic is a bit more austere. It was really important that the rooms not only reflect what I like – I wanted it to feel like everything is shared between our family.”
Her daughters’ bedrooms also display her own wild individualism. Athena Belle hates pink, so her room is blue, with a loft bed and ladder — to please any six-year-old — and even a chair covered in teddy bears, a holdover from Nicky Hilton’s baby shower, which was held in the apartment a few weeks ago . “Scarlet wanted a four-poster bed,” explains Bendet. “Eloise loved her block-print wallpaper, of course, but then she told me she wanted her room to be all white — it was a teen moment — and I was like, ‘Too bad! Your bedspread matches your wallpaper!’ I cut the bed skirt to match the yellow flowers!”