And in the end, the trick was keeping the fantasy alive. Which will include keeping the slogan enter here to be and find a friend over the front doorway. And inviting the Village People to play at the opening (they did it for a couple of free memberships).
Bonetti and Kozerski did go and look at that sink. “We don’t like it very much,” says Bonetti. “It looks like it was deeply studied to be fancy.” Trying too hard.
The question is what mind-melding leaves behind. “That’s the issue,” says moma’s Antonelli. “Who knows what they really have inside themselves—yet. One day they might be doing rococo.” They do specialize in a quality, though—what Antonelli calls the sense of being in “your own fantastic bubble,” which is certainly the case with Karan’s apartment, a vast, fussed-over black-and-ivory space over the park.
Walking around that place, Bonetti lifts the toilet seat to show it was hand-carved. They had her sit in a mock-up of the bathtub, adjusting it to fit her just so. The couches are teak and took five weeks to finish in Bali. The cushions are the length of her extended legs. He points out the fact that the sink in the toilet most guests would use is strong enough to hold up someone’s body weight (“In case, at a party . . . ”). A mirror in another bathroom is positioned in front of a window on an armature to let in the light but block the unattractive view. The little touch-screen control panels around the house were designed with her lighting settings built in.
The nearly block-long space is clean and, in fact, serene. When we’re in Karan’s bedroom he says, “She had problems sleeping, and she really thanked us for the way it works now. Where the light comes from, how it feels in the morning, the right mix of things.”
The nightstand has a compartment for Karan’s dream book, Kleenex, pills, and glasses. The lighting trough that runs along the baseboard in her yoga studio has a different type of bulb from those in the rest of the apartment, so that it isn’t hot if she steps on it.
“These are all things that we give to her without her asking us,” Bonetti says. “She doesn’t know.”
Some things she might not want to know. There’s a backlit linen panel out of place, a light out behind the shelving, a sticky door on one of the pieces of custom teak furniture. “I am a maintenance man also,” he jokes, banging things back into place. He and Kozerski are writing a user’s manual for the apartment.
Karan isn’t home, but one of her assistants follows us into the kitchen as he continues the tour. “The only thing missing, you guys, in this kitchen is a place to put the garbage, and to put paper towels,” she says. “I was in a house in Idaho, they had an insane kitchen, the most perfect kitchen I’ve ever been in. They did not waste one inch of space.”
She goes on, critiquing the location of the chef’s desk, the lack of a juice fridge, and the lack of a window seat.