Hoveys' Baby (Staging in the Dakota)

The fact that Porter and I got the opportunity to even step inside the Dakota (the entrance is easily New York's most intimidating. Fire! Gates! Multiple doormen!) makes us giddy; getting to stage an apartment inside it still seems completely unreal. 

This unit, 28AB, used to be two, and now includes three massive rooms - one living and dining area and two others, which we made into bedrooms. Two rooms (the living/dining room and former master bedroom) had floral and leafy wallpaper that had to stay, so we embraced it: This, in our minds, had been the pied-à-terre of a world renown Scandinavian naturalist who adored the building for its history and stone's-throw proximity to the American Museum of Natural History. Yes! (In reality, it belongs to the estate of a very notable television star from the '70s, '80s and '90s).

  We wanted the third room you see here (previously a large office painted a pinky red) to feel completely refreshing and allow the potential owner to walk through the apartment in a progression of light to dark. 

We covered the red walls in Benjamin Moore's lovely peachy white, Onyx White (OC-73), which provided an instant breath of fresh air. With 14-foot ceilings there was ample room for Room and Board's Architecture Bed (this was originally royal blue, but I repainted it with Rustoleum enamel in Almond). We recovered the Eliel Saarinen White Bench with Black and Beige Columns of Leaves Brocade from Mood Home. The pillows are vintage D. Porthault and the linen duvet cover is Ikea's Linblomma (we love these and they're just $80 for the full/queen).

The great geometric side tables are the Tyreso from France & Søn. The flowers are faux from our go-to floral haven CFD in the flower district. 

We took our mom's framed Hermes scarf from our living room and placed it over the working fireplace and flanked it with each of our porcelain cockatiels, Christmas gifts from our Aunt Rita a couple years back.

We used an expensive (it kills me how expensive good shades are) oval mint shade from Just Shades and added a jade leaf finial to an Ikea lamp.

Our dad's oval leather-topped desk also made it in, to sit below an abstract expressionist oil painting that I found in Williamsburg. The chair is from Organic Modernism.

Here you can see the progression into the cozy darkness (and the incredible floors).

The living/dining area was our biggest challenge. Beyond all the wallpaper, the room is dominated by the most massive, heavy fireplace and mantelpiece in the history of fireplaces and mantelpieces. So, we had to choose incredibly simple furniture that wouldn't compete or clash. In a miracle of ebay, we found a meticulous collector of fine, original Danish mid-century furniture in Brooklyn who was selling off a good portion of his collection. We started off with the coffee table and ended up buying the dining room table, the dining chairs, the arm chairs, the JL Moller side chairs and the brass lamp that sits in the other bedroom. 

I've fallen in love with the work of the incredible Aboriginal artist, Tatali Nangala. We were desperate for a large piece of art to fill the main wall, so I painted a version of "Kaarkurutinytja, Lake MacDonald" that belongs to the Museum Victoria.

We found the leather rhino at Erie Basin in Red Hook. The sleek couch is the Cleveland-B from Organic Modernism.

Good omens in the fireplace, it seems.

The former master bedroom needed a major spiff. There was aged wall-to-wall carpet and the back wall was off white, which didn't quite match the leaf wallpaper. To give it some weight and balance, we opted to expose those beautiful floors and go dark with Benjamin Moore's Artichoke. I copied (and tweaked) Sonia Delaunay's Color Rhythm from 1946 to add a "modern" and feminine touch.  

I love these little quartz finials, too; a another feminine detail. 

How fun is Organic Modernism's Flamingo table here in this otherwise very traditional vignette? The little Swedish portrait of a mom and her son from the 1920s is one of my prized possessions and quite lovely in here, I think. 

The kitchen is pretty teeny, but full of mirrors and chrome. We opted to paint it all dark so the objects inside would pop, much like a Dutch still life. 

Below are the official fish eye real estate pics to give you an idea of the full rooms...and some actual historical info: 

Extraordinary opportunity to own a two bedroom, two bath home at the historic Dakota on Central Park West; one of New York City’s finest residential addresses. In addition, this offering presents a very large basement studio with high ceilings and full marble bathroom that could be used as an art or work studio, home office, storage or more. This splendid home is ideally positioned in one of the Avenue’s premier white glove buildings across the street from Central Park and all the best the area has to offer. 

Every residence in this historic building is special and unlike anything else in the city. Apartment 28AB boasts remarkable scale and detail that is truly unique to the Dakota. 

Grand proportions are showcased by over 14-foot ceilings and huge arched windows in every room while keeping the home bright and airy throughout. An expansive formal room creates enough room for both living and entertaining. Elaborate details include blended patterned hardwood floors, two hand-carved wood-burning fireplace mantels with marble hearths, extra tall solid wood doors with original fixtures and etched glass, stunning moldings, original sunburst copper grills, marble window sills, built-in window shutters and contoured window frames. 

Abundant storage has been created by the combination and each bedroom features a full en-suite bathroom; both bathrooms in excellent condition. This remarkable apartment offers an extraordinary opportunity to create a home of your dreams in a superb Upper West Side location in a landmark building. 

The Dakota, is a premier prewar cooperative building located within the Central Park West Historic Area. Truly a unique New York architectural gem and perhaps the most well-known apartment building in Manhattan, its air of elegance and luxury has not changed since its opening in 1884.

For more details, see the full listing for 1 West 72nd Street, Apartment 28AB here.

And here's a peek at what it looked like before: 


  1. Abby says:

    Oh, how lovely! You guys did a marvelous job. It's such an improvement! Is the little white bench in the first bedroom really a Saarinen? I googled like mad, but couldn't find any details on it.

  2. Abby - Thank you so much!! I'm so happy you asked about the little bench. It has a little plaque on it that says it was designed by Eliel (Eero's dad) for the Hvitträsk house. Hvitträsk was originally the studio for his architecture firm Gesellius, Lindgren, and Saarinen - and he later made it his home and raised Eero there. This version of the bench was manufactured by Adelta in Finland under license. Pretty cool!

    Here's some more details on the house: http://www.nba.fi/en/museums/hvittrask

  3. Karena says:

    Great job on staging this very unique and of course amazing property.
    I was very interested to read about the additional studio space!!

    The Arts by Karena
    Gallery Opening!

  4. Abby says:

    Thanks for the response and the info on the house - what a great story on the bench!

  5. You've done a wonderful job, but could I suggest that copying an Indigenous Australian artwork is not really understanding the cultural and spiritual significance that these paintings have to their creators. They represent complex kinship ties as well as a deep relationship to the land. It's not really fair to paint a knock off because it looks good. With all respect to you.


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