Apartment tour: Babe in Toyland
A fashion designer uses a blank canvas to showcase her brightly colored knickknacks.
Thu Jan 29 2009
The impeccably clean living room
Stacey Bendet, designer and owner of the trendy women's clothing line Alice + Olivia (80 W 40th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 212-840-1155), understands the value of simplicity: The bones of her Midtown West apartment (in the ultraluxe Atlas New York building) are stark white. "I've painted with bright colors but always end up painting back to white," Bendet sighs.
Stacey Bendet, designer and owner of the trendy women's clothing line Alice + Olivia (80 W 40th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 212-840-1155), understands the value of simplicity: The bones of her Midtown West apartment (in the ultraluxe Atlas New York building) are stark white. "I've painted with bright colors but always end up painting back to white," Bendet sighs. "I like my apartment the same as my showroom and collection: basic and clean with fun pops of color and design."
And so, with the exception of a few wildly printed wallpapers, Bendet's two-bedroom rental depends on its decorative contents to show her punky personality. One of her favorite pieces is her living room table because of its authentic vintage kitchen feel. "It was a gift from Moby," she says. "He thought it was a cross between The Partridge Family and tripping on acid in Denmark." Other prize items include a Mattia Biagi bear sculpture made out of tar—a recent birthday gift from her husband—and her coffee table, which was found in a flea market and is topped with Kidrobot trinkets and some of her favorite books. Bendet waxes at length about her love for all things from the Kidrobot store—especially neon-colored toys. "I just love how they look together. I constantly move them around the apartment," she gushes before adding that she also likes the look of colorful candy (but, really, who doesn't?).
Toys aside (did we mention there's also a PlayStation in her husband's office?), perhaps the item with the most meaning and history is an oversize photo of a man jumping off a 20-foot-tall Barbara Hepworth statue. "That was my dad in the late '60s," explains Bendet. "The statue was in a family friend's backyard, and my dad's girlfriend at the time took the photo. I found it at my parents' house five years ago and blew it up for the apartment." But we had one last burning question for Bendet: With so many crazy-hued knickknacks and dust-collecting tchotchkes, how does she keep her place so darn clean? "I have a great maid," she confesses.
Why Midtown West?
While it seems most people associate this busy 'hood with tall office buildings and the fashion-obsessives who throng Bryant Park during Fashion Week, Bendet doesn't seem to mind. "I like the autonomy, the amazing views and the fact that I have a two-block commute to work." Plus her building frequently offers rooftop concerts, sushi and sake parties, free spa days and more.
* Sushi Sen-nin "It's a hidden gem!" (30 E 33rd St between Madison and Park Aves; 212-889-5888, sushisennin.com)
* Zeytinz "They have fresh salads and tons of sandwich options." (24 W 40th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-575-8080, zeytinz.com)
* Bryant Park Grill "It's great for lunch!" (25 W 40th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; 212-840-6500, bryantpark.org)
* M&J Trimming "This place rocks for last-minute accessories and is right under my building." (1008 Sixth Ave between 37th and 38th Sts; 212-204-9595, mjtrim.com)
* Health King "Instead of bars and clubs, I'm more into healthy places, given that I just had a baby." (526 Seventh Ave at 38th St, 212-764-6699)